Yao Ming courts new role
Updated: 2013-09-10 18:07
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Yao Ming at the launching ceremony for the micro film Price of Love - No Drunken Driving held in Shanghai. [Photo Provided to China Daily]
The former basketball star shoots a goal for responsible drinking in mini movie. Sun Xiaochen reports.
China's tallest entrepreneur, basketball club owner and political adviser now has put on a new hat, as designated driver.
Yao Ming, the 2.26-meter hoops icon who in various roles has maintained his influence off the court after retiring in 2011, has taken another challenge by starring in a mini movie to promote responsible drinking.
In the nine-minute clip, Yao plays the character of "Boss Yao", who voluntarily drives his drunken colleagues home but one day found himself in urgent need of a chauffeur as well after drinking at a business dinner. While he struggled to find a competent driver, his wife Ye Li appeared and drove him home.
"What we acted is actually what happened in our real life," Yao said at a press conference to release the movie last week.
Yao, who has shown his witty humor and acting skills in a 2004 documentary The Year of the Yao and countless TV commercials, says working in the studio is much tougher than training on the court but expected his amateurish performance could raise social consensus on responsible drinking in a light-hearted way.
"We don't want to preach," says Yao, who was inspired and invited to shoot the film by world-famous brewer Anheuser-Busch InBevh. "We just wanted to tell a story that true love needs a designated driver and hope it could influence people in a warm way.
"Driving safe is not only responsible to your families but also to every passerby on the street, so if everybody stands up we will have a safer environment."
Ye echoes her husband's sentiment, saying being a designated driver is a happy burden for every wife.
"This is a real-life subject and making it into a movie works well to educate people," Ye says.
However, what amazed Yao wasn't Ye's acting but her look in makeup, which the former women's national team member rarely applies in daily life.
"She looks gorgeous," Yao says.
Although extending careers to the big screen seems a popular choice for retired sports celebrities, Yao says he has no intention to make it in the entertainment scene.
"I just simply don't have the talent," says the former Houston Rockets' center, who also appeared in China's national image promo shown at Times Square in New York in early 2011.