Chow Yun Fat

John Woo chats with Chow Yun Fat in Hard Boiled

Selected Filmography
Massage Girls (1976)
The Hunter, the Butterfly, and the Crocodile (1976)
Learned Bride Thrice Fools Bridegroom (1976)
Hot Blood (1976)
Their Private Lives (1978)
Miss O (1978)
The Reincarnation (1976)
See-Bar (1980)
Joy to the World (1980)
Police Sir (1980)
The Executioner (1981)
The Story of Woo Viet(1981)
Postman Strikes Back (1982)
Blood Money (1983)
Head Hunter (1983)
The Last Affair (1983)
Hong Kong 1941 (1984)
Love in a Fallen City (1984)
The Occupant (1984)
Why Me? (1985)
Women (1985)
The Story of Rose (1986)
Witch from Nepal (1986)
100 Ways to Murder Your Wife (1986)
A Better Tomorrow(1986)
Love Unto Waste (1986)
A Hearty Response (1986)
The Missed Date (1986)
The Occupant (1986)
The Seventh Curse (1986)
You Will I Will (1986)
City On Fire (1987)
Code of Honour (1987)
An Autumn's Tale (1987)
Scared Stiff (1987)
A Better Tomorrow II (1987)
Tragic Hero (1987)
Flaming Brothers (1987)
Rich and Famous (1987)
Spiritual Love (1987)
Prison On Fire (1988)
Tiger On The Beat (1988)
Diary of A Big Man (1988)
Fractured Follies (1988)
The Greatest Lover (1988)
Cherry Blossoms (1988)
Goodbye, Hero (1988)
The Romancing Star II (1988)
City War (1988)
Eighth Happiness (1988)
Dream Lovers (1988)
The Killer (1989)
All About Ah Long (1989)
A Better Tomorrow III (1989)
Wild Search (1989)
The Triad Story (1989)
God of Gamblers (1990)
The Fun, The Luck & The Tycoon (1990)
Once A Thief (1991)
Prison On Fire II (1991)
Now You See Love,Now You Don't (1992)
Hard Boiled (1992)
Full Contact (1993)
God of Gamblers Return (1994)
Treasunt Hunt (1994)
Peace Hotel (1995)
The Replacement Killers (1997)
The Corruptor (1998)
Anna and The King (1999)
Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon (2000)
Chow Yun Fat is John Woo's favorite leading man. Their work together has furthered both careers, and now when one is mentioned, the other naturally comes to mind. Through their numerous films together, Chow has become Woo's alter ego. He is the purveyor of Woo's bold, if somewhat naive brand of honor.
Chow Yun Fat was born in Lamma Island,a small island off Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on 18 May 1955. He fed his family's pigs and chickens and cooked dumplings with his mother to sell in the market on Saturday mornings.When his sailor father died,his mother moved the nine-year-old Chow and his two sisters and brother to Kowloon,Hong Kong. Chow describes their dwelling as a "birdcage"; the apartment had a kitchen and bathroom shared by five families.He started working at sixteen in a factory in the summertime, packing radios to ship overseas,for $1.40 a day. Chow moved on to work as an office boy,a bell boy and then a salesman at a hi-fi store. All the while he devoured movies;"When I first walked into a cinema and saw the pictures-a cantonese black and white movie- I thought it was amazing."He became what he still is- a 100% movie fan, prefering World War II adventures and latter epics like The Godfather. In 1973, he answered a newspaper ad for young actor and began interning at television station TVB.And for the next 14 years, he did over 1000 TV series episodes mostly soap operas and dramas. Among the TV series was the highly-successful The Bund which Chow portrayed the Shanghai mobster Hui Man Keong opposite Ray Lui's Ding Lik.Towards the end of his TVB contract, the young Chow began to ventured into the big screen however most of his big-screen films were hardly impressive.Yun Fat's first film earned him $400 per movie, he adds "Those early movies were not successful at all- not with the critics or the audiences.They were lousy,let's face it". At this point Chow seems unable to emulated his TV series success into the big screen and many film producers labeled him a "box-office poison". In 1981, Chow made his big screen breakthough by starring in the art film The Story of Woo Viet, directed by Ann Hui. The film became both a commercial and critical success and remained one of Chow's personal favorite film. The film will also helped Chow earned a Taiwan Golden Horse Award for Best Actor. In 1986, John Woo wanted Chow to star in A Better Tomorrow, the movie that Woo had been planning for years. However people in the control of the finances were not convinced that Yun Fat whom they still saw as a light-weight actor could pull off this ultra cool malevolent character. The sucesss of A Better Tomorrow launched Chow into a new level and would help kickstart the heroic bloodshed genre in Hong Kong cinema. Chow capped off the eventful year 1986 by landing on his first Hong Kong Academy Award for A Better Tomorrow. With Chow's now-unmistakable box-office appeal,the actor was finally given the chance to prove his acting range as the superstar tried his hand in almost every film genre from romantic dramas (An Autumn's Tale) to slapstick comedies (Eighth Happiness) to heartfelt drama (All About Ah Long). Every film was meet with immediate success from the box-office and from the critics. His biggest success though have been playing heroes who either break the rules or operate on the wrong side of the law. Collaborating with the best talents in the genre such as John Woo and Ringo Lam ; Chow Yun Fat starred in some of the best Hong Kong gangster films such as City On Fire and Hard Boiled. His performance in City On Fire would helped him earned his second Hong Kong Academy Award as well as helping director Ringo Lam secured one for Best Director. Completing his last film for Golden Princess (Peace Hotel), Chow Yun Fat decided to join his fellow directors John Woo and Ringo Lam in Hollywood. Success in Hollywood though would not come easy for Chow.The actor was not fluent in english and had to spend three years learning the language before he would make his Hollywood debut.With some help from John Woo, Chow Yun Fat finally made his Hollywood debut in 1997,starring in
The Replacement Killers. The film was only mediocre but it succeed in introducing Chow and his gun-slinging skills to American audiences. His subsequent films would continue to get better from the dark crime triller The Corruptor to the romantic drama Anna and The King.Anna and The King, although not a commercial success pointed out to critics that Chow Yun Fat was not merely an action icon but an established actor as well. Most recently Chow ventured into the kungfu genre by starring in Ang Lee's fantasy epic Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon. The actor has several future projects linked with Woo,including King's Ransom and the comicbook adaption Bulletproof Monk.

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