The Immortal Movie King—Ou Wei

Journey to the star



“Be patient. A man like you will perform better with the experiences of life and the passing of time.”

~Director Pan Lei



Long before starting his career, Ou Wei had improved his acting skills by repeatedly analyzing the facial expression and posture he saw from the movies, and trying to emulate them in front of the mirror. The western cowboys and James Dean were his learning subjects.

Initially, he refined acting skills at Hwa Sin Studio, but in 1958 he left because of the military . However, he still continued his self-training whenever he got the chance to read scripts, even though it was not the scrip of his own.



Ou Wei's photos for audition

Training at the studio

Taiwanese movies in the early years were operated by the folk, not by the government. Under the circumstances of limited resources and fund, each crew in the studio had to be responsible for several tasks at the same time, including lighting, scene business, playing trivial roles, or even editing to make the scenes coherent. Therefore, Ou Wei had accepted a whole training of movie making during the Taiwanese movie era.

Zealous effort he made to become an actor

In Lush Mountain & Royal Blood --The Wushe Events , Ou Wei didn't play an important role, but his performance stunned the director, which won him the second leading role in Jin Shan Law Case . Perhaps because he felt the responsibility, earlier than others, he read the scrip, trying to emulate the role and consulted the director and other actors about the inner feelings between the roles.


Director Li Quan Xi

Director Li Quan Xi also recollected that Ou Wei paid much attention to even the details of each movement, such as how the cowboys drew the pistol, how they walked and expressed themselves, including the manner when people felt depressed--to what extent the shoulders should be bent to look frustrated … . He tried to find the best ways to interpret different roles in each movie. During the filming, he also offered some ideas he had learned from the western movies; for example, some specific techniques from the western movies could be applied to certain scenes….etc. Director Li even dubbed him “the Walking Movie Dictionary.”


Ou Wei regarded these western movie characters as his role models.

An actor with strong will power

Ou Wei didn't receive education at any acting school; he had only one method to perfect his acting skill—to learn by doing. But, compared with other actors, he de dicated himself to his career even more because he expected so much of himself—he wanted to be perfect.

In most occasions, an actor would stop and take a rest when the director said the shot was all right, but Ou Wei was different. He demanded to watch the scene just recorded with the director, hoping to examine his acting in a more objective way to adjust himse lf. Then, he would ask for another chance to act again, with a resolution to perfect the movie.


The man whose acting skill Ou Wei admired--the most distinguished bad guy Sun Yue in The Big Raid.

That was why he was willing to spend lots of time waiting for the chance to star in Execution in Autumn . To obtain the role, he had refused other studios; before the shot began, he had already rehearsed in advance i n his mind, just to show he was the one. Before this, h e had been economically shortage and then the life without contract for over one year led him in debt.

On the stage where he received the Golden Horse Film Award, he spoke the reality “I have struggled for many years to get the role ; the way to success is really a long way to go.”

Risk for the movie

He reached the acme of his career in the movie Execution in Autumn . After that, he couldn't find the character he wanted to represent, so he transferred to direct films. His passion for movies was originally well-rounded. Earlier in Hwa Sin Studio, he had had the experience of writing film scripts, like The Loyal Dog and Hu Jian Ming the Chivalry . The experiences at the movie studio helped him to be familiar with the procedure of making a movie—editing, directing, and acting, all of which he committed him self to and felt confident of.

He was active but he insisted on his requirement; such insistence led to his strenuous efforts when shooting The Big Raid .When people congratulated him on the fact that he eventually had a film he joined in all aspects--editing, directing and acting, he answered jokingly that doing all of these also brought about his declining health, just like chronically committing suicide. People thought he was just kidding then, but how could they know that his mental as well as physical exhaustion indeed deteriorated his illness, so maybe it was not totally wrong when he said he was killing himself.


Owe's first experience as a director in The Big Raid