Playinging the lead role in gay movie Spring Fever is a challenge for Qin Hao.
Before starring in Spring Fever, which won the Best Screenplay award at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Qin Hao was best known for playing supporting roles in several independent films.
Qin is now better known to more cinephiles thanks to director Lou Ye, who participated in the festival despite a five-year ban on filmmaking imposed by the Chinese authorities, and the film alone picking up an award among the four works by Chinese directors.
"For the first time I experienced how it felt to look at the audience from the stage!" says Qin, 31, of the moment when the cast took the award together with Lou at Cannes a month ago.
Spring Fever tells a bizarre love story between three men and a woman and features homosexuality, extramarital affairs, suicide and nude scenes.
Understandably, Qin's decision to play the lead character was not an easy one.
Two years ago, when Lou gave Qin the script of Spring Fever, he hesitated because of its sensitive subject and the nude scenes.
"First of all, I am not gay. I did not know how to act gay," he says. "Also, my parents are very traditional people who work in government departments. I had to take into account their feelings."
But his intense desire to work with Lou eventually made him agree.
"I have watched Lou's Suzhou River and Purple Butterfly. His characters are so charming and special," he says. "And I appreciate his devotion to filmmaking."
Lou was banned from making any film for five years by the State Administration of Radio, TV and Film in 2006, for entering the uncensored Summer Palace in that year's Cannes festival.
Qin realized that Spring Fever would probably not be screened in China but still believes he made the right choice.
"As an actor, I did nothing that violates my professional ethics. I just wanted to work with this director," he says.
He persuaded his parents by telling them Lou was a professional and talented director.