The Message

Ying Da

Big Shot's Funeral
Tokyo War Trials
The White Countess
Mei Lanfang
Ying Da

Ying Da as Jin ShenghuoActor Ying Da (英达) was born in Beijing on July 7, 1960 to a distinguished Christian family of ethnic Manchu extraction. His great grandfather Ying Lianzhi (英敛之, 1867–1926; also known as Ying Hua 英华), a Manchurian bannerman of the Red Standard Army whose spouse was a princess in the ruling Aisin-Gioro family, founded the Ta Kung Pao (《大公报》, aka. L’Impartial) in addition to Fu Jen Catholic University. His grandfather Ying Qianli (英千里, 1900–1969), a polymath educated at Cambridge and the University of London, was head of the national Ministry of Education who helped establish the academic discipline of Western Philosophy in Republican era universities before relocating to Taiwan with the Nationalists in 1949. Ying’s father Ruocheng (英若诚, 1929–2003), who remained in the People’s Republic after liberation, was an acclaimed actor, director, and translator of Western drama that, for much of the 1980s, was deputy Minister of Culture for the PRC’s central government.

Despite his “reactionary” family history, Ying was admitted to Peking University in 1979 for college where he earned both his bachelors and masters in clinical psychology. During his student days his passion, however, lay in acting instead of academics. Ying spent much of his spare time outside of class performing in, directing, and producing various student projects. Upon graduating with an MS, he left China to study abroad at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) where he earned an MFA in acting in 1987. Returning home shortly afterwards, Ying carved up a career for himself as an actor, director, and producer appearing in a number of eclectic productions for stage, screen, and television starting in the early 1990s.

Although endowed with considerable talent, Ying Da does not possesses the leading man good looks of his aristocratic forbearers and is more known to audiences for his scene-stealing appearances as deceptively complex supporting characters who often hide sinister depths. He first made a name for himself in CCTV’s 1990 prime time adaptation of Qian Zhongshu’s Fortress Besieged behind rising stars Chen Daoming and Ge You. Most Western audiences will probably recognize Ying for his supporting turn in Merchant & Ivory’s The White Countess or, if not that, in Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine and Forever Enthralled, a bio-pic on traditional opera singer Mei Lanfang starring Leon Lai and Zhang Ziyi. Less serious-minded fans of Chinese cinema, however, will probably know Ying from his mordant performances in two Feng Xiaogang pictures: The Dream Factory (Jiafang Yifang or 《甲方乙方》) and Big Shot’s Funeral, both of which reunited him on screen with wry comedian Ge You. Though somewhat baby-faced, Ying’s characters are often not to be trifled with for they possess hidden reserves of cunning that are masked by a disarming mix of easy-going wit and coolly calculated charm. In The Message Ying Da plays Jin Shenghuo(金生火), a Chinese collaborator turned head of counter-intelligence for the Japanese puppet government operating out of post-massacre Nanjing.


Film Credits

The Message (Feng Sheng)

Forever Enthralled (Mei Lanfang)
The Tokyo Trial (Dongjing Shenpan)
The White Countess (Long Wei Fu Zi)
Waiting Alone (Du Zi Deng Dai) cameo
Big Shot's Funeral (Da Wan)
The Dream Factory (Jiafang Yifang)
Farewell My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji)
The Last Aristocrats (Zui Hou De Gui Zu)



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