Over the past two decades, Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming has starred in around 80 movies and television dramas.
While some of his performances have won him best actor awards, others have sometimes sparked controversies.
However, his performance in Nirvana in Fire: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin, a TV drama released on Dec 18, has won him accolades. And he has also received good reviews for the character he portrayed in the film Forever Young, which has rebuilt his reputation on the big screen.
The movie, originally planned for the 100th anniversary of Tsinghua University, was held back for around six years and finally hit screens on Jan 12.
The film, which covers nearly a century starting from the 1920s, tells stories of four generations of students from Tsinghua University－about how they pursue their love, interests and dreams.
"It's a story about how traditional virtues were passed down, not only among students of Tsinghua, but also among the Chinese people," says Huang.
The character Huang plays is that of a student Chen Peng in the middle of the last century.
Chen's story showcases the suffering people endured during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).
In the film, the bashful boy rescues the girl of his dreams from misfortune and later commits himself to the nuclear industry of China.
"I was touched by Chen's story and I found similarities between Chen and me when I read the script," says Huang, explaining why he chose to portray the character.
Besides Huang, the cast features A-list actress Zhang Ziyi, actor Chang Chen, US-born Chinese singer-actor Leehom Wang and other stars.
As for preparing for the movie, Huang says that he had to run repeatedly with Zhang on the Tsinghua University campus over 10 days for a running scene. He says his heels hurt during the filming.
Speaking about director Li Fangfang, Huang praises her for being meticulous.
He says that Li had gone through a great number of historical photos and documents and prepared thousands of costumes over 14 months to prepare for the film.
"I wanted to reproduce historic scenes and details," Li says.
Some episodes in the film are based on anecdotes from those at the National Southwest Associated University (1937-46) in Kunming, Yunnan province.
The episodes are reminiscent of the arduous conditions generally faced by students during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).
Among the characters in the film are historical figures like Liang Sicheng, Lin Huiyin, Xu Zhimo and Qian Zhongshu.
The film has so far received 7.4 points out of 10 on Douban.com, the country's major TV and film review platform.
"The way the director links the multiple storylines is little far-fetched, but the images of the young people in the movie really did stir my heart," one netizen says.