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[Students Activities] From TV Host to First-time Director:Jiong He Visiting WHU with his Forever Young
Author:Duanling Fu  Date:2015-06-23  Clicks:

On June 12th, Jiong He, a celebrated TV host and former Arabic teacher at Beijing Foreign Studies University, visited Wuhan University with the leading actors of Forever Young, his directorial debut. Wuhan University was the eighth stop in He’s nationwide film promotion tour after BSFU,  his alma mater.

The crowded auditorium

The event was scheduled to start at 2 pm in the grand auditorium of the School of Economics and Management. Hours before it kicked off, enthusiastic WHU students had already lined up outside the auditorium to enter the venue. By 1:50 pm, the hall was packed with students and reporters, seated or standing, waiting anxiously for the guests’ arrival.

Loud and sudden cheers coming from outside caused restlessness and excitement among the students gathered at the venue. They began shouting at the top of their lungs, echoing the sounds outside. Xiaorui Yuan, the publicity director of Forever Young, acted as the host of the event. After some cheerful interactions, Yuan asked, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to meet the director and cast of Forever Young?’ With loud cheers coming from every corner of the auditorium, Jiong He and three of the leading actors, Huiwen Zhang, Yi Song and Youshuo Wang, entered one after another.

With the large audience cheering “He Laoshi” (Laoshi means teacher in English), one of his most well-known nicknames, the director greeted the excited crowd and started to share his thoughts and feelings about WHU. He revealed, his father is actually a former WHU student of the Philosophy Department, and WHU was one of He’s destinations in his high school graduation tour. Amazed by this fact, the audience started to wow, only to be more surprised by Huiwen Zhang’s revelation that her aunt also graduated from the Philosophy Department of WHU. Hearing this, He jokingly asked Zhang, ‘Is it possible your aunt and my father actually knew each other?’ A question that made everyone laugh.

He Laoshi and three leading actors in the film

Following He, the three protagonists made brief self-introductions. Huiwen Zhang, the leading actress of the film and a graduate from the Beijing Dancing Academy, is best known for her impressive performance in Yimou Zhang’s film, Coming Home. Having greeted the audience, Zhang spoke of her amazement at the vastness of WHU’s campus. The host, who has obviously done his research on WHU, then referred to a widely known joke about a girl from the main campus rejecting a boy from the informatics campus only because she didn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship, triggering loud laughter from the audience. Yi Song, the second leading actress, revealed that she is a Hubei local and a graduate from Longquan High School. Hearing this, a girl in the back burst: ‘Me too! Shijie I love you!’ Song, clearly delighted to find a high school alumna, replied while waving to her:’ I love you too.’ The impeccably styled Youshuo Wang, the second leading actor of the film, then said hello to everyone a bit shyly. A few girls in the front row cheered excited as soon as Wang began  talking. Yifeng Li, the leading actor of Forever Young who was unable to attend the event due to a busy his work schedule in Shanghai, made up for his absence by preparing a short videowhich was played to the public. Li greeted everyone and wished all WHU students present at the gathering, good grades in their finals.

Following the self-introductions, came the special interaction round. Each of the four drew a slip of paper from a big Dream Box, written on which was a dream from the audience and they needed to do their best to help realize the respective dream. The first lucky dreamer was indeed lucky enough to have He’s help in achieving her dream: to have her boyfriend read her hand-written Boyfriend Rules . One rule, “To grow to 170 centimeters in height with me” literally “crashed” He and made everyone laugh, as He is around 172 centimeters in height.

He Laoshi, the director of Forever Young

The second lucky girl brought with her a pair of “Happiness Insoles”, which werefirst made popular in a short sketch starring He, back the 1992 CCTV Chinese College Student Graduation Evening Gala. The girl invited He to partner with her and perform one of the classic scenes from that sketch. The third lucky dreamer was yet another  girl who invited He and the three leading actors to shoot a short good-wish video for the graduating class. They happily accepted this invitation and wished all WHU students a bright future. The last fortunate person was a boy who brought with him his favorite poem: When You Are Old by William Butler Yeats. Being in a cold war with his girlfriend, the boy hoped the two leading actresses could read this poem for his girlfriend in the hope the gesture would impress her enough to forgive him. Asked why he was in a cold war with his beloved, the boy said, half-jokingly: ‘Well, I’m young and restless, so sometimes I make mistakes.’ He videotaped the two beautiful ladies reading the beautiful poem on the boy’s phone and wished him to “pass the restlessness age” soon, in the deafening laughter of the audience.

The hour-long event gradually narrowed to an end in cheers and joy. In his closing speech, He invited everyone present to go see his directorial debut Forever Young which premieres July 10th. The movie revolves around a young group of people and follows their development, their efforts in pursuing their dreams and relationships from friendship to love .

(Photo by Jiamin Wu, edited by Diana & Sijia Hu)

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