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Zhao Wei, a pop idol's journey to fight routine


10:38, June 14, 2013

(file photo)

After finally entering the plush offices on the 19th-floor in a prosperous district of Beijing ahead of an interview, actress and director Zhao Wei was standing looking around at a loss.

The large room was decorated with souvenirs and trophies, but looked to have been ignored by its owner and was in need of a good reorganization. "I don't come here often," the 37-year-old explained.

She led us into a meeting room on the other side of the floor.

Zhao, the director of the romantic drama "So Young," has been too busy to visit her offices here because of a series of overseas promotional events and interviews.

Her directorial debut, a low-budget movie, is set on a college campus in the mid-1990s and has taken more than 710 million yuan (115.8 million U.S. dollars) in ticket sales in China since its release on April 26, according to statistics from China Film News.

Zhao is the first female director, whose debut film has broken the 100 million yuan mark in China.

The film's earnings nearly matched that of "Iron Man 3," which raked in 750 million yuan after about four weeks.

On the night before "So Young" was released, Zhao was a little bit nervous. "But not that nervous," said the director, who is also known as Vicki Zhao. "The entire team had worked so hard in making the film."

Zhao attributed the movie's success at the box office to the rarity of the drama, which centered on early adulthood and was able to move audiences.

"Chinese people have long been encouraged to move forward, but the film chose to look back on the your youthful days for things that matter in life," Zhao said.

"So Young" not only resonated with the lives of young moviegoers but also struck a chord with the middle-aged and over.

On the popular microblogging service Sina Weibo, more than 9.4 million posts discussing the film and early adulthood had been written as of Saturday.

The sensation is a lot more than what Zhao could have expected.

No one would have imagined the Little Swallow, the nickname of "Princess Pearl," which she portrayed in popular TV series "Huan Zhu Ge Ge," might one day become a director.

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