Wang Junkai and 'TFBoys' grab global spotlight

Updated: 2016-10-24 11:06

By Hong Xiao in New York(China Daily USA)

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He's making his film debut in the upcoming fantasy adventure film The Great Wall, but the 17-year-old Wang Junkai (Karry), lead vocalist in the Chinese boy trio "TFBoys", already has millions of fans in China and around the world.

Before making his international debut at 2016 New York Comic Con, the teenage idol astonished New Yorkers with his superstar charisma and his fans' enthusiasm.

Chinese director Zhang Yimou and the cast of his upcoming The Great Wall appeared onstage at the New York Comic Con at Madison Square Garden in New York on Oct 8 for a panel discussion.

American actor Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Chinese actress Jing Tian also star with Wang Junkai in the film.

Wang Junkai and 'TFBoys' grab global spotlight

 Wang Junkai and 'TFBoys' grab global spotlight

Wang Junkai (second from right) with fellow cast members from The Great Wall (starting second from left) Matt Damon, Jing Tian and Pedro Pascal, at Comic Con in New York on Oct 8. Photos provided to China Daily

To American moviegoers, Wang is unknown compared with other names. But before the panel discussion started, about 15 Chinese fans of Wang appeared on the stage holding banners that read: "Wang Junkai, you are popular through the world".

Teenage fans flew to New York from other places in the US, China and even Canada, to wait outside the venue in a light drizzle to support their idol.

The Chinese boy trio "TFBoys" consists of Wang, Wang Yuan and Yi Yangqianxi. The name stands for "The Fighting Boys".

Born and raised in Chongqing in Southwest China, Wang entered show business in 2010 when he was chosen as a trainee by Time Fengjun Entertainment in Beijing, an entertainment company devoted to raising the visibility of potential superstars.

In 2013, Wang made his musical debut with Wang Yuan and Yi Yangqianxi as the TFBoys and released their first album.

Wang and his partners are incredibly popular.

In June 2015, Wang made social-media history after his birthday message was reposted 42,776,438 times, earning him a Guinness World Records title for the most reposts of a Weibo post.

A series of surprise events were held on Sept 21 around the world to celebrate the idol's 17th birthday, according to Global Times.

Fans rented the billboard-sized screens on the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square in New York City to show glittering banners that read, "Happy 17th birthday to Wang Junkai", with Wang's photos in a continuous loop.

In addition to the billboard ads in Times Square, Wang's fans used billboard-sized screens and LED screens at Beijing's Olympic Water Cube and at other landmarks and high-traffic public areas in places like Taipei, Tokyo, Paris, Seoul and Reykjavik, Iceland.

"I really appreciate what my fans did for me, they even flew here to support me, which is really touching," Wang told China Daily in New York. "But what I hope is that they can take care of themselves better, since they've done so much," the shy boy added.

Wang Junkai and 'TFBoys' grab global spotlight

People who aren't familiar with Wang and the TFBoys don't understand his fans' enthusiasm, and Wang said that's probably because of the positive images that the trio has shown as youths.

"As an old Chinese saying goes, 'When the younger generation is strong, the country is strong'. I think that could somehow explain why the three of us are so welcomed," he said.

The Great Wall is expected to be a milestone in Wang's showbiz career.

The film tells of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world's most iconic structure, the Great Wall. Wang acts as a young emperor of the Song Dynasty. Facing the monster attack, he has to overcome his inner fears and pretend to be calm to stay in political power.

As the youngest actor in the film, Wang said he learned a lot from director Zhang and the all-star cast.

"It's a great honor for me to work with Zhang and so many international actors and actresses in my first film. What impressed me the most is their diligence and steadfastness," he said.

The film is scheduled to be released in 3D in China at the end of this year and in the US in February.

After working together, Zhang joked that Wang should go into making movies. "I think I still have a long way to go," Wang said modestly.

(China Daily USA 10/24/2016 page10)