The popular TV series “Flowers” currently being aired at Jiangsu Satellite TV’s Xingfu Theater has remained extremely popular since its launch, sparking heated discussions across the entire network. Among them, the uncle played by You Benchang is praised by the audience as the “Dinghai Shenzhen” of the whole drama. You Benchang, who was born in 1933, is now 91 years old. He joked humorously: “I have also joined the ranks of those born in the 1990s!”
“Love art, but you cannot love yourself in art”
In 1985, the song “The shoes are torn, the hat is torn, the cassock is torn…” resounded throughout the country, making You Benchang, the actor of Jigong, a household name and becoming the memory of a generation of audiences. Not long ago, You Benchang pretended to be Jigong again and recorded a short video to send New Year blessings. After the short video was released, it attracted an enthusiastic response, with more than 35 million likes, making it the latest “top trend” in 2024.
The uncle in “Flowers” entered the Shanghai Stock Exchange at the age of 16 and obtained his own brokerage license at the age of 18. In reality, You Benchang was not so lucky. When he was young, he worked as a bit player for 30 years, and it was not until he was 52 years old that he had the opportunity to play the role of “Ji Gong”. But You Benchang believes that “there are no small roles, only small actors”, and he always takes every role seriously and carefully considers every detail. It is precisely this kind of accumulation that allowed You Benchang to interpret the “Living Buddha Jigong” that is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people.
Despite having contributed such a classic role, You Benchang has never been complacent, nor has he stood still. You Benchang believes: “You must love art and sacrifice your life for it, but you must not love yourself in art.” There is a plaque in You Benchang’s home that reads: “Guiding people’s hearts with literature and art.” He reads it every day and uses it to motivate himself.
Hu Ge is Hu Ge’s “life mentor” both on and off screen. With his uncle Abao, he is the boss.
The “Old Master” uncle in “Flowers” is always calm and calm, calm and unhurried. As Mr. Bao’s guide on the road to success, he taught Mr. Bao that doing business should have style, gimmicks, and signs, and contributed many classic lines: “A man should have three wallets. The first is how much money you actually have, and the second is how much money you actually have. The second is your credit, which is how much money you can mobilize in other people’s wallets, and the third is how much money people think you have.”
You Benchang entered the Acting Department of Shanghai Theater Academy in 1952 to study. After all, Hu Ge is his serious direct “junior brother”. The uncle he plays has the most opposite roles with Abao, played by Hu Ge. The uncle in the play is Mr. Bao’s master. With his support and protection, A Bao can transform into Mr. Bao. Outside the play, You Benchang is even called a “life mentor” by Hu Ge. Hu Ge revealed: On the set, You Benchang had to work nearly ten hours a day, which was a great challenge for a young actor like Hu Ge, let alone the 91-year-old You Benchang. But no matter how late it is, as soon as he turns on the phone, he is immediately energetic and never feels tired. In order to present a better work, You Benchang actively acted with Hu Ge even without his own camera, which is very admirable.
There was a eating scene that impressed Hu Ge deeply: At that time, You Benchang broke the pieces of meat into pieces before eating them. Hu Ge thought it was because of his bad teeth. Unexpectedly, You Benchang replied calmly: “I play the role of Uncle Shanghai. I can’t eat a lot of meat. If I eat a lot of meat, I will become Jigong again.”
“I will live until I grow old, learn until I grow old, and work until I grow old.”
It is this spirit that made You Benchang still choose to star in “Flowers” at the age of 87, and contributed many highlight scenes. Recalling that he chose to cooperate with director Wong Kar-Wai, Yau Ben-chang said: “I like to meet challenges. I heard that he (Wong Kar-wai) spends ten years working on one film, so I just caught up, so I will do it!”
In the opening of “Flowers”, my uncle saw Abao wearing a suit and remembered his younger self, and his eyes got wet. This scene made the audience impressed by You Benchang’s “eye skills”, and they said bluntly: “With one look from Teacher You Benchang, I saw Shanghai for a century.”
In fact, after filming this clip, You Benchang was unable to appear in the film for a long time. After the director called for a break, he still couldn’t stop crying, feeling that he was “too slow to perform.” Some attentive netizens even picked up photos of You Benchang when he was young. His eyebrows and eyes were very similar to Hu Ge’s, and he couldn’t help but sigh: “I think all Teacher You Benchang must have seen is his young self!”
The scene where her uncle instructs Miss Wang (played by Tang Yan) to write a self-reflection letter in the pork ribs and rice cake shop also left a deep memory for Tang Yan: “It was winter when we filmed and it was very cold. Our scene looked like it was indoors, but in fact it was ventilated on all sides. “Teacher You only wears a thin costume, but he shoots over and over again, just wanting to show the best effect.” Tang Yan said that Teacher You Benchang’s state after each filming starts can impress everyone present.
After “Flowers” aired, You Benchang was also following the show simultaneously. Asked what it feels like to look at himself through a screen now, he smiled and said he was “examining and appreciating.” Facing the love of the audience, You Benchang said: “Thank you very much for everyone still thinking of me, remembering me, and liking me. As long as the audience needs me, I will live until I am old, learn and work until I am old. As an actor, this is my greatest The joy and the greatest happiness!”
Jiangsu Satellite TV’s Happiness Theater every night at 19:30, “Flowers” is like a brocade, the show continues!