Zhang Jinlai, better known by his stage name “Liu Xiao Ling Tong,” is a Chinese actor best known for his performance as the Monkey King in the 1986 Chinese TV series Journey to the West.

His compelling performance, which was greatly praised by critics in China, helped him win the Best Actor award at the 6th Golden Eagle Awards in China in 1988.

With the Year of the Monkey here, CCTV spoke with Zhang about his experiences while playing the legendary character.