Chinese name: 周润发
Born: May 18, 1955
From: Lamma Island, Hong Kong
Worked with Ziyi: 1 time
It did not take long for Chow to become a household name in Hong Kong following his role in the hit series The Bund in TVB in 1980. The Bund, about the rise and fall of a gangster in 1930s Shanghai, made him a star. It was one of the most popular TV series ever made in Hong Kong and was a hit throughout Asia.
Although Chow continued his TV success, his goal was to become a big screen actor. His occasional ventures onto the big screens with low-budget films, however, were disastrous. Success finally came when he teamed up with director John Woo in the 1986 gangster action-melodrama A Better Tomorrow, which swept the box offices in Asia and established Chow and Woo as megastars. A Better Tomorrow won him his first Best Actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. It was the highest grossing film in Hong Kong history at the time, and it set the standard for Hong Kong gangster films to come. Taking the opportunity, Chow quit TV entirely. With his new image from A Better Tomorrow, he made many more ‘gun fu’ or ‘heroic bloodshed’ films, such as A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987), Prison on Fire, The Killer (1989), A Better Tomorrow 3 (1990), Hard Boiled (1992) and City on Fire an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
Chow may be best known for playing honorable tough guys, whether cops or criminals, but he also starred in comedies like Diary of a Big Man (1988) and romantic blockbusters such as Love in a Fallen City (1984) and An Autumn’s Tale (1987), for which he was named best actor at the Golden Horse Awards. He brought together his disparate personae in the 1989 film God of Gamblers, directed by the prolific Wong Jing, in which he was by turns suave charmer, broad comedian and action hero. The film surprised many, became immensely popular, broke Hong Kong’s all-time box office record, and spawned a series of gambling films, as well as several comic sequels starring Andy Lau and Stephen Chow. His character’s often tough demeanor and youthful appearance has earned him the nickname “Babyface killer”.
In 2000, Chow accepted the role of Li Mu-Bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It became a winner at both the international box office and the Oscars. In 2006, he teamed up with Gong Li in the film, Curse of the Golden Flower, directed by Zhang Yimou.
In 2007, Chow was cast as the pirate captain Sao Feng in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. His character, however, was omitted when the movie was shown in mainland China. His character was criticized as demeaning as it “vilifies and humiliates the Chinese.” —Wiki