Monday, September 15, 2008

Stephen Chow

Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, born June 22 1962, is a Hong Kong scriptwriter, film director, and actor.

Chow is a well-known, top-tier comedian and superstar of . This image is epitomized by his nickname 星爺 . However, his brand of ''mo lei tau'' comedy, which includes puns, double entendre and jokes at the expense of unique aspects of Chinese culture, meant that few of his earlier films could exercise much impact in the West until his later films, ''Shaolin Soccer'' and ''Kung Fu Hustle'' .

Professional career

Chow was a graduate at the Shaw Brothers' acting school and co-hosted a popular Hong Kong children's program, ''430 Shuttle'', as a character named "Black and White Vampire". Though this was a stepping stone for his career, it also limited it, offering no outstanding performances. At that time, Chow mainly played dramatic roles in Hong Kong TVB television series, one of which was called ''Dun Fei Final Combat'' . Chow gave an outstanding performance and started to gain popularity in Hong Kong. Also, in that television series, he started the long-term collaboration relationship with director Lee Lik-Chi and actor Ng Man Tat . In 1990, his performance in Jeff Lau's smash-hit ''All For The Winner'' launched him in a comedy film career, which is now his prime genre.

His subsequent films were built on the success of ''All For The Winner'', and he developed his distinct brand of humor known as ''mo lei tau'' which makes frequent use of euphemisms and double entendres in inoffensive slang. He regularly demonstrates his talent for improvisation, suggesting gags to directors to enhance the script, allowing him chances to make rewrites of the plot. By 1994, he was writing and directing some of his own films.

The films themselves often follow a similar template: Chow portrays either an under-achiever who beats the odds, or an arrogant overachiever, who himself receives a lesson in humility before fighting back. Stephen Chow tends to use the underdog or rags-to-riches story to portray his character. ''Fight Back to School'' , ''From Beijing With Love'' and ''The God of Cookery'' are notable examples of this style of work. His films would often utilize a historic environment, but also demonstrate the modern-period cross-cutting comedy, as in the films ''Justice, My Foot!'' and ''Flirting Scholar'' .

Occasionally, Chow would take a break from his comedies. One of his more serious films is the second part to ''A Chinese Odyssey'', ''Cinderella'' , loosely based on the classic Chinese epic ''Journey to the West''. Although essentially a comedy at heart, Chow was able to develop his character more seriously than before. It was a box-office smash in Hong Kong and even ignited a cult following in Mainland China.

Recent films by Chow have begun to focus on and special effects sequences rather than verbal humour in order to appeal to a wider international audience. The film which launched him to international fame was ''Shaolin Soccer'' , which made heavy use of and was directed by Chow himself. A later film, ''Kung Fu Hustle'' , was also directed by Chow, and in February 2005, went on to surpass ''Shaolin Soccer'' as the highest grossing domestic movie in Hong Kong.

In July 2006, Chow started filming ''CJ7'' in the eastern Chinese port of Ningbo. It has been rumored to have the biggest budget ever for a Chinese film, costing over 100 million Chinese yuan . In August 2007 the film was given the title ''CJ7'' , a play on China's successful Shenzhou manned space missions - Shenzhou 5 and Shenzhou 6. It has previously been known by a series of working titles - ''Alien'', ''Yangtze River VII'', ''Long River 7'' and most notably, ''A Hope''. This film introduced newcomer as his romantic lead - continuing Chow's tradition of introducing young actresses who eventually go on to have successful film or music careers of their own. These actresses include Karen Mok, Sharla Cheung, Athena Chu, Michelle Reis, Christy Chung, Gigi Leung, Cecilia Cheung, and Huang Shengyi.


*''Faithfully Yours''
*''Dragon Fight''
*''Tragic Heroes''
*''Thunder Cops II''
*''Lung Fung Restaurant''
*''The Unmatchable Match''
*''Curry and Pepper''
*''Sleazy Dizzy''
*''Look Out, Officer!''
*''All for the Winner''
*''When Fortune Smiles''
*''Triad Story''
*''God of Gamblers II''
*''Tricky Brains''
*''The Top Bet''
*''Fist of Fury 1991''
*''Fight Back to School''
*''God of Gamblers Part III Back to Shanghai''
*''Magnificent Scoundrels''
*''The Gods Must Be Crazy III''
*''Fist of Fury 1991 II''
*''The Thief of Time''
*''All's Well, Ends Well''
*''Fight Back to School II''
*''Justice, My Foot''
*''Royal Tramp''
*''Royal Tramp II''
*''King of Beggars''
*''Fight Back to School II''
*''My Hero 2''
*''Flirting Scholar''
*''The Mad Monk''
*''Love on Delivery''
*''Hail the Judge''
*''From Beijing with Love'' - also writer and director
*''A Chinese Odyssey Part One - Pandora's Box''
*''A Chinese Odyssey Part Two - Cinderella''
*''Out of the Dark''
*''Sixty Million Dollar Man''
*''Forbidden City Cop'' - also writer and director
*''God of Cookery''
*''All's Well, Ends Well 1997''
*''Lawyer Lawyer''
*''The Lucky Guy''
*'''' - also writer and director
*''The Tricky Master''
*''Shaolin Soccer'' - also writer and director
*''Kung Fu Hustle'' - also writer and director
*''CJ7'' - also writer and director
*''Kung Fu Hustle 2''
*''Fahrooze'' In Production)


*When he was young, Chow learned Kung Fu by watching TV because his parents couldn't afford lessons. He still enjoys watching instructional Kung Fu videos to this day. Chow learned Wing Chun as a youth, and is himself a huge fan of Chinese Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee, and his films often contain direct references to him. Chow was, for a time, the president of the Bruce Lee fan club in Hong Kong and had a statue of Lee built.
*There is often a cameo by an ugly bearded nose-picking cross-dresser in his films, and the role is almost always portrayed by Kin-yan Lee, a personal friend. This character is almost always called 如花 in these films.
*Chow often collaborated with Lee Lik-chee and Vincent Kok , both actors and directors, in the early stage of his career.
*Chow is mentioned in the Regurgitator song "My Ego".
*Despite having a comic persona onscreen, Chow is known to be the opposite in the public eye, often maintaining a quiet and serious demeanor. Chow was reported to state that he does not consider himself a comedian.
*Chow is a big fan of the popular anime and manga series, ''''. Chow will also be the producer of a Dragonball movie based on the animated cartoon. The movie has been penciled in for a worldwide release date of Aug. 15, 2008. However, this was later changed and the new release date appears to be for April 3, 2009.
*His total net worth as of 2006 is over 100 million USD, he gains most of his wealth through real estate. He is a good friend of Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau .
*Chow was denied emigration to Canada twice because of supposed links to the Triad society.
*There is a recurring "martial art" in a few of Chow's films which loosely translated means "Hitting the Cow Through the Mountain". In this unique move, Chow punches one person , but the force generated by his 'Chi' travels through this person and continues on to hit powerfully the person standing next to the one he initially punched, and often beyond. In ''God of Gamblers Part III: Back to Shanghai'', he was able to punch someone across the street with this move, after creating an effect through some fifteen people.
*Most of his characters use part of his name, Sing.
*He is Seth Rogen's current choice to portray Kato in a film adaptation of ''The Green Hornet'', but Chow's spokesman said the screenplay and style of the film has not been unveiled yet.


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