Exclusive interview丨Niu Chao, director of "Long Time Love": "Understanding" is the first step in creation

    "Love Forever", which concluded recently, has a somewhat "sweet pet" title, but it tells the story of a painful youth past that spanned 12 years. Yang Zi, Fan Chengcheng and other young actors among them all gave a wonderful performance. Among the youth-type dramas with low initial ratings, the Douban rating of the show stabilized at 7.2 after the show ended, which can be regarded as relying on quality.

    "Long Time Love" Poster

    "Long Time Love" Douban score 7.2

    Although in terms of genre, "Long Time Love" is a youth theme, Niu Chao, one of the directors of the play, and his team did not limit the genre in their creation. Most of the time during creation, he is more inclined to be flexible. A director who uses his own aesthetic intuition. "When I choose locations and shoots, I rely on intuition, such as which angle looks good and which composition is good." Niu Chao said in the interview that it was "love at first sight" for the script of "Long Time Love".

    Appreciate Fan Chengcheng’s sincerity, Yang Zi brings more surprises

    In "Long Time Love", five childhood sweethearts go their separate ways as adults because of a painful memory, but they guard a common secret together because of their friendship. "I think I can understand and understand several of the characters in it," Niu Chao said. For Niu Chao, "understanding" is the first step for him to choose a project and enter the work. "If I 'don't understand', I will not take this project."

    In "Long Time Love", Yang Zi's performance is remarkable. The 18-year-old Huang Yingzi is warm-hearted and cute; the 30-year-old Huang Yingzi is trapped in unconscious trauma and tries hard to win back friends who are drifting away. This is the first time that Niu Chao has cooperated with Yang Zi. Before that, the two were considered "friends of friends" and had dinner together. "My first impression of her was that she was very energetic, she spoke very funny, and she was very nice to people." When it came to work. Cooperation, Yang Zi brought more surprises to Niu Chao, "She can often give me something new in her performance that goes beyond the script. She is good at improvising and capturing some of the real and lovely things between characters in her performance."

    Played by Yang Zi Huang Yingzi

    In the play, Huang Yingzi's years of mental illness also brought great challenges to Yang Zi's performance. "If the setting of her illness cannot convince the audience, the dramatic logic of the entire drama may not be sufficient." Niu Chao said, "We must try our best to make the audience fully believe in this matter." Especially in the series. In the second half, the tragic history finally comes to light, and Huang Yingzi's painful memories are constantly being evoked. However, each time due to different circumstances, time and space, the handling methods and emotional levels are also very different for the actors.

    "For example, the first time she discovered Lan Yifei's death with the audience in the play was when she saw the portrait in real time and space. This is also the first time in the play that the audience is fully presented with her illness process: every time she is reminded of this memory Eventually she would collapse and lose her memory again." Niu Chao recalled, "But this is not the first time she has had an illness according to the plot logic."

    Huang Yingzi saw Lan Yifei’s portrait

    Later, in the episode, the narrative timeline returned to 12 years ago. Huang Yingzi couldn't bear the death of Lan Yifei and became ill for the first time. He asked in front of his friends "Where is Yifei?" "In this scene, For Yang Zi, the difficulty of this scene is that she cannot assume that she is a patient, and all her reactions must be very real and tangible."

    "The scenes where she was told the truth were actually repeated several times. But in some scenes, we wanted to reveal to the audience that she was a patient, but in other scenes, we couldn't let the audience see that she was sick. So specifically When it comes to performance, Yang Zi needs to make detailed and accurate distinctions in the performance." In order to help Yang Zi perform Huang Yingzi's disease state, Niu Chao will look up some information and explain to Yang Zi the symptoms of this type of sick group at the onset of the disease. Some symptoms, such as an elevated heart rate and some physical stress reactions, helped her understand Huang Yingzi's state. Moreover, the two will repeatedly discuss where to present the emotions and doubts of a normal person, and where to interpret these emotions and doubts closer to the state of a disease. "We will discuss the 'degree' of the performance so that the audience does not feel that we are showing off our skills. We still hope that the audience will feel that all the reactions of the characters are natural and real."

    Fan Chengcheng as Jiang Yi​​​​​​

    In addition to Yang Zi, Fan Chengcheng, who plays the male protagonist Jiang Yi, can also see the improvement in his acting skills in "Long Time Love". Before the play, Niu Chao and Fan Chengcheng collaborated on "With You on My Left Shoulder". "I have always thought that he is a very sincere, sincere and lovely person." Therefore, after "With You on My Left Shoulder", he received the "Love for a Long Time" ", Niu Chao immediately felt that Fan Chengcheng was suitable for the role of Jiang Yi. "The first time I worked with him, I admired his sincerity. He is the kind of actor who can perform very vividly as long as he understands the text and the role. So I don't need to give him too much guidance. We just need to discuss some character motivations with him."

    Give the role to the actor instead of "holding it in your arms"

    So how do you make actors "understand" the role? As a director, Niu Chao feels that he has "no special skills" in this regard. "I feel that as long as I understand it, I can definitely make the actors understand it, because I am quite contagious."

    Wang Qianyue as Zhuang Yuan Zhuyan Manzi as Fang Mingyu

    In his opinion, there are high similarities between the actors and characters in the play. For example, what Zhu Yan Manzi and Fang Mingyu have in common is that they "are not particularly exposed personalities. They have a lot of things in their hearts, and then they compare themselves and are more stubborn." "; actor Wang Qianyue, like the character Zhuang Yuan, has a "cute and deep side"; Zhao Rui is also more similar to Guan Chao in the play, "more one-minded, so he doesn't think too much"; actor Fang Yueqiao and Like Lan Yifei, "very simple and innocent". These observations of actors can help Niu Chao guide them to release the parts that are more consistent with the characters themselves.

    Fang Yueqiao plays Lan Yifei and Zhaorui plays Guan Chao

    "Since what I was interested in at the beginning was the fit between the actor and the character, I should hand over the role to the actor instead of 'holding the character in my arms.'" At the scene, Niu Chao admitted that he was more interested in the actor. The more assistance is to think about "tricks" and more interesting ideas, "Can there be such an action here, and can there be more designs there?" to allow the actors to perform better, rather than to frame their performance.

    In addition, the dual time and space narrative that runs throughout the play requires actors to switch between the ages of 18 and 30 at any time. "Often they have to act 30 and 18 in one day." Niu Chao will give the actors help and reminders in terms of scene setting and character status.

    18 year old protagonist

    30 year old protagonist

    Taking the scene setting as an example, the home of 30-year-old Jiang Yi in the play “still has a lot of comic figures, because they are the imprints of his childhood preferences, but the overall tone of his home is black, white and gray, and the color temperature is cold. Because the girl he loved in these ten years was actually in an abnormal state, so to a certain extent, he was also broken."

    Another example is clothing. The 30-year-old Jiang Yi mostly wears high-collar windbreakers and sweaters, trying not to expose too much skin. “I want him to be in a state of wrapping himself up, because he has worn a lot of clothes in the past ten years. Everything is hidden in his heart, so his current state is much calmer and more reserved than when he was 18 years old."

    "I hope that from the scene to the styling, I can provide the actors with a better sense of immersion, so that they can believe in the scene and the current state of the character."

    Restore the feeling of the times

    Dual time and space narrative also brings difficulties in narrative rhythm and time and space switching. During the creative reading before the start of filming, Niu Chao and the art, photography, and modeling teams, once they read the scene in the script that requires time and space to be transformed, they will first jointly set up how to make the transition, "such as using sound, or using a Doors, or using a basketball to turn the court, these are all thought out in advance with the team during the readout stage."

    He also spent a lot of effort on editing. Niu Chao said that he had been watching the editing for half a year, "Every scene is an important scene for me. In editing, I pay more attention to the overall presentation, such as whether this scene should be longer." Or should we try changing the music here to another type, from strings to piano, and adjust the special effects, coloring, and all aspects of the details repeatedly."

    The scene props of "Long Time Love" have a sense of age

    "Love Forever" also vividly restores the symbols of the times in the youthful memories of the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s. For all scene props, as small as a mobile phone or an album, as large as the structure of a family's courtyard and the tone of art, the team found a lot of information and references. "My job is to restore the feeling of the times." Niu Chao was born in the late 1980s. In this creation, he also included many memories of his youth, "such as 'stealing food', QQ shows, including the bangs and non-mainstream makeup that were popular among the post-90s generation. That’s what I wanted to add to it.”

    Including the use of Stefanie Sun in the play as a cultural symbol of youthful memories of a generation, which was something Niu Chao wanted to include in the script from the beginning. At first, I just hoped to get the copyright of Stefanie Sun's "Good Youth" to use as BGM. Unexpectedly, I later agreed to sing the theme song and even invited myself to make a special appearance. This was completely beyond Niu Chao's initial expectations. , became an unexpected surprise.

    Stefanie Sun represents the youthful memories of a generation in the play

    Stefanie Sun not only sang the theme song of "Long Time Love" but also participated in part of the plot

    Previously, Niu Chao has well portrayed distinct and real female characters such as Li Xiaonan and Yu Hong in the TV series "Jiang Zhao Liming". This time in "Love for a Long Time", in addition to the novelty brought by the dual-line narrative and youth suspense What is particularly outstanding is the delicate portrayal of the three female protagonists, and the writing of their various difficulties in the workplace, life, and adolescence, which also resonated with many female audiences.

    As a male director who has an accurate sense of shaping female characters, Niu Chao feels that he does not have any special skills. "I just shape the characters according to my understanding. I don't think there is anything special about female or male characters to me." Big difference.”


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