|'Fatty' Qian Zhijun has sparked a burst of image-doctoring
online, as shown in the posters for the Lord of the Rings and Harry
Potter. [China Daily]|
Watch out Harry Potter, here comes Harry Fatter.
Most entertainers have to jump through
hoops to get media exposure, but this young man was
catapulted to celebrity status with just one photo.
On a spring day in 2003, Qian Zhijun, 16, was attending a
traffic-safety class. As he stood among a group of classmates, he happened
to glance sideways. The angle
proved irresistible, someone snapped
a picture, and a star was born.
This photo soon found its way online. Something about the Shanghai
youth's plump, reddish face that squint with just a hint of contempt
captivated netizens. Without knowing his name, identity or the
circumstances in which the photo was taken, people dubbed Qian "Fatty"
What followed was a burst of photo-altering creativity that exceeded
anything the country has seen. Fatty's face became a favourite for
PhotoShop practice. If there is some conspiracy afoot, Adobe, which makes
PhotoShop, must be behind it.
Fatty's face replaced such iconic visages as those of Harry Potter,
Austin Powers, Jackie Chan, Marilyn Monroe, and even the Mona Lisa.
Whenever a blockbuster makes
headlines, one can expect the Fatty edition of the poster to follow close
on its heels. For Zhang Yimou's Hero, Fatty stood in for all the
superstars who got top billing.
Fatty was unaware that his likeness had been popping up on hundreds of thousands of
websites until the day he wandered into a cyber caf and found himself sitting face to
face with himself or at least his face perched atop the shoulders of some
of the world's best-known celebrities. Embarrassed, he left with a blush.
Fatty thought of suing, but he didn't know who had taken the photo and
posted it online. And none of the later recreations was signed, either.
That's when he noticed that people were laughing out of goodwill. "They
like me! They really, really like me!" he might have gushed from behind
the podium at the Academy Awards.
He soon became a Fatty connoisseur. "I like it when they put me on the
body of heroes, such as Russell Crowe in The Gladiator. But I hate it when
they place me on the shoulder of naked women or when the touch-up job is
terrible," he said.
He said his idol is comedian Jim Carrey. As soon as this information
became public, posters of Bruce Alfatty and Fat and Fatter appeared
Fatty, who weighs some 100 kilograms, is tempted by the prospect of a
career in the entertainment industry. Yet, despite the thousands of fan
clubs dedicated to his face and tens of millions of web clicks, he has not
made a single penny from his enormous exposure.
"It would be nice to work as an entertainer, even though it'll mean
I'll have to give up some of the pleasure of being a regular guy."