Want China Times
By: Wu Kuan-chin and Staff Reporter
Some 9.42 million students registered to take China’s National Higher Education
Entrance Examinations (or Gaokao), which started June 7. For most of them, it is considered a make-or-break exam for which they have been preparing their whole lives. But the world of entertainment offers some examples of stars who had to take several attempts to get on the bottom rung of the ladder of success, like movie stars Gong Li and Tang Wei.
Gong took the national exams a total of four times. The first time was in 1983 when she hoped to get into one of two arts universities in Shandong, but her test scores were too low. After failing to do well in the Gaokao in each of the following two years, Gong launched her entertainment career to make a living while preparing for the tests at the same time. But in a chance encounter, film director Yin Dawei saw her potential as an actor and he proposed to teach her the craft.
Trained by Yin, Gong again registered for the Gaokao but she did not score enough for admission to the Central Academy of Drama, even though the examiners were satisfied with her performance in an interview. The university eventually made an exception to give her a place in its performing arts department. In 1987 she got her first film role in rookie director Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum, the start of what would become a defining partnership in modern Chinese cinema. [FULL STORY]