Chinese name: 佟大为
Born: February 3, 1979
From: Fushun, Liaoning, China
Occupation: Actor, singer
Worked with Ziyi: 4 times
Tong Dawei was born in 1979 in Fushun, Liaoning Province. His parents were both part of the police force, and as a young child, Tong also wished to join the police force. After graduating from high school, Tong joined the Shanghai Theater Academy in 1997, and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Acting. During his studies, Tong joined his first TV series Brother’s wife, playing the role Yun Dong. In 2001, with his graduation from Shanghai Theater Academy his first film, One Thousand Thieves was released.
In 2002, one year after graduation, Tong first gained mainstream popularity in the movie I Love You. He starred as Wang Yi, a character in an unhealthy marriage dealing with the struggles of love. Directed by internationally acclaimed director Zhang Yuan, the movie premiered in many international film festivals including Sundance. In China, the film was a huge success, grossing 10. 2 million Yuan at Box Office and becoming Yuan’s highest grossing film yet.
Tong’s popularity rose back to mainstream in 2007 with his most successful TV show yet; Struggle. Based on the popular novel by Shi Kang, Struggle gained unexpected acclaim due to its cast. Taking place in most 1980s modern China, the show was seen as a breakthrough in Chinese TV production as it broke from the usual Chinese TV series focusing in traditional legends and series. Tong’s character, Lu Tao, reflected the rise in a new social class in modern China. In the same year, Tong’s controversial film, Lost in Beijing, gained international fame for being banned in China for its honesty portrayals of class struggles and sexuality. Directed by awarding winning director Li Yu, the film starred a top Chinese cast including Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Kai-Fa. The film held its international premiere in Berlin film festival, where it gained strong reviews and acclaim. Like many films dealing with problems in modern Chinese society, the film was officially banned in China in 2008.
In 2008, Tong starred in John Woo’s epic Red Cliff II. At time of production, the film had the highest budget ever released for an Asian film at 80 million USD. Based on the historical battle occurring during the Han Dynasty, the movie filmed huge expansive battles unlike anything seen before in China. The movie was seen by many critics as Director John Woo’s return to form. At the end of 2008, Tong joined the large Chinese ensemble in the movie The Founding of a Republic, a movie marking the 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The film was well received with Chinese audiences and critics, earning 62.5 million USD in box office.
In 2010, Tong collaborated with award winning director Zhang Yimou for the film The Flowers of War. Dealing with the sensitive issue of the Rape of Nanjing, Tong plays Major Lee, a man on a mission to save his lost friend. The movie due be released in December 2011, and as China’s entry for the Best Foreign Film in the 84th Academy Awards.—Wiki
♦ They both starred in cameo roles in the same two movies, in Better and Better and in The Founding of a Republic