Friday, May 18, 2007

Sun Yat Fai Lok Chow Yun Fat!*

Happy birthday wishes to one of the most famous Chinese actors of all time. Chow Yun Fat turns 52 today. Born off the coast of Hong Kong to a farming family, he responded to a newspaper ad by a local television station TVB. He went on to star in the television series The Bund, about the rise and fall of a gangster in 1930’s Shanghai. It was a huge hit in Asia and one of Hong Kong’s greatest television series ever.

Chow’s career in Asia really took off with his work with director John Woo, including A Better Tomorrow (and sequels), The Killer, Once a Thief, and the definitive Hard Boiled. His work in Asia and Woo’s directorial success in America led Chow to make The Replacement Killers with Mira Sorvino, The Corruptor with Mark Wahlberg, and Anna and the King with Jodie Foster in attempts to achieve similar success in the United States. Unfortunately, only Anna and the King was a mild success.

It wasn’t until he returned to Asia to make Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, did Chow earn acclaim in the States. He has since made Curse of the Golden Flower with Gong Li and will co-star in Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, which opens next Friday, May 25.

* – If the Cantonese is wrong, you can blame the internet.

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