Nicholas Tse Ting-fung
Born on 08/29/80
You don’t get much hotter than this young actor
is these days. Okay, he’s incurred the wrath and been blackballed by one
of the TV studios after making highly negative remarks in a CNN-Time Asia
interview about the demands of TV show producers, etc. But he has a big
music career going – is considered a fabulous musician – has become a film
star in short order – but the thing I am really envious about is that this
20 year old actor is going out with the wondrous Faye Wong! Talk about
having all the stars lined up.
He is actually one of the better new actors –
fairly impressive in his few outings so far. In his debut he replaced Ekin
in The Young and Dangerous: The Prequel, in Gen-X Cops he was the most
impressive of the young actors – and has also received praise for his roles
in Metade Fumaca, A Man Called Hero (the son), Twelve Nights (cameos at
the beginning and end of the film) and was chosen by Tsui Hark to be in
his first HK live-action film since going back to Hong Kong after the latest
disastrous Hollywood stint, Time and Tide (the third production of Columbia-Sony’s
Asian arm) and Old Master Q (which will have actors on screen with classic
He is of course the son of two famous HK film
stars from the 60s – Patrick Tse and Deborah Li – and moved to the United
States after his parents were divorced when he was fifteen. After high
school, he returned to HK and was a celebrity immediately.
Nicky Cheung Ka-fai
I keep hearing from some people that this guy
is funny. I don’t get it and I don’t see it. There was a lot of hype for
a while that he was the next Stephen Chow, but he always comes across as
a Chow wannabe trying desperately hard to be funny – and usually falling
woefully short. There are some similarities though.
In the early 90s he began making dramatic
films (Chow began in drama as well) and Danny Lee has sponsored both to
some degree. Cheung was in Red Shield in 1991 and Shoot to Kill in 1994
– both Danny Lee films. In 1998 he started working with Wong Jing and his
comic career began with Conman, He is My Enemy, Partner and Father-in-Law
(again a Danny Lee film), Prince Charming (as Andy Lau’s side-kick), Conman
in Vegas, Tricky Master (his co-star was Stephen Chow), My Name is Nobody,
The Duel and Conman in Tokyo.
Before getting into acting Nick was actually
a Royal Hong Kong policeman for five years. He then began acting with ATV
before leaving for TVB where he became a TV star.
He was a hot film actor for a couple of years
in the mid-90s, but much of that in my opinion had to do with being lucky
enough to be paired off with the extremely popular Charlie Yeung in three
good films - The Lovers, Love in the Time of Twilight and Young Policemen
Outside of these films, there isn’t much else
on his filmography to get excited about – Thunder Cop (1996), Behind the
Yellow Line, My Heart will Go On (co-starring with his lovely girlfriend
Ada Choi) and Déjà vu (1999). This Taiwanese actor is also
a popular Mandopop singer and a TV star. He used to be part of a pretty
boy band called the Little Tigers. He later went on to a solo singing
career and then into films/tv etc.
(Partial info from Caroline Chai)
Nichola Cheung Sam-yuet
Even though this actress is an avid Hello Kitty
collector – I have still liked her performances in the few films I have
seen of hers – Wedding Days, City of Glass (the daughter) and Twelve Nights
(the betrayed friend of Cecilia Cheung). She is also studying law in her
Niki Chow Lai-kei
This young actress has only had supporting
roles so far but her attractive fresh looks, large lovely eyes and easy
manner have me hoping for larger parts for her. She is the sister of model/actress
Kathy Chow Man-kei (Love on the Rocks) and was a model before getting into
the film business.
Some of her roles so far are Feel 100% II (2001),
Fighting for Love (Tony Leung's girlfriend), Horror Hotline (Francis Ng's
girlfriend) and Dummy Mommy without a Baby (Miriam Yeung's friend).
Nina Li Chi
Born in 1961
Look at that face. Look at those eyes. Nina
Li has a face and far away dreamy eyes that look as if they belong to another
time. I find it so easy to picture her making silent films in Shanghai
during the 1920’s – using her eyes and gestures to transmit so much emotion.
In the film Lover’s Tear, Nina plays a deaf and mute character and it is
an amazingly heart rendering performance and one can really see how great
she would have been in silent film.
She is a beautiful woman – absolutely stunning
at times - and perhaps to some extent that has unfairly detracted attention
from her skills as an actress. As shown in Lover’s Tears she was a wonderful
dramatic actress – but she had few opportunities to show this. Because
of her glamorous looks and heavily accented Cantonese (she is from Shanghai),
she was rarely given dramatic roles in her short career in HK.
She did get an opportunity to do comedy though
– and she is wonderful at it. It is so unusual to combine great comedic
skills and beauty – but Nina created some of the best female comic characters
in HK films and was only too happy to look silly to get a laugh. Three
of my favorites are ones she did with Chow Yun Fat – though in none of
these was their relationship romantic – usually more adversarial – as Chow
always fell in love with someone else. Crazy him. These are Fractured Follies
in which she is a very over sexed widow who has already killed off a few
husbands in bed, The Fun, The Luck and the Tycoon in which her walk – and
imitation of it is worth the price of admission and The Greatest Lover
in which she is a gold digger scheming to get Chow. Of course in the not
so funny Tiger on the Beat, Chow gives her quite a whacking that didn’t
set too well with me.
A few other comedic turns are in the sweet The
Ghost in the House (in which she plays a ghost who has waited many years
for her lover to die and join her), Twin Dragons (as the scatter brained
girl set up with the musically talented Jackie Chan), Four Loves (in which
she can’t help but attract every man around) – and then the absolutely
great film Stone Age Warriors (in which she goes into the wilds of New
Guinea dressed to the nines).
If you want sexy glamour, check her out as
the whip wielding villainess in Yuen Biao’s The Kid from Tibet or the assassin
in Dragons from Russia or the femme fatale in Perfect Girls (the famous
red swimsuit). And could anyone be more beautiful than she is in A Chinese
Ghost Story III or Profiles of Pleasure?
Though very popular in HK during her acting years,
she is often overlooked by the Western fan audience. This is partly due
to the fact that she was not an action star and secondly because many of
the films she has been in are not among the most popular in the West. They
tend to fall into that sort of secondary level of popularity that many
Western fans never get to. But I think she is clearly one of the more enjoyable
and yet under rated actresses in HK films. Not that she has ended up so
badly – as she is now married to Jet Li and they recently had their first
child. One lovely little glimpse of Nina is in the trailer of the film
The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon – in which the cast sit around and talk
about the film. One can sense the shyness and gentleness of this woman.
James Chang has been kind enough to supply
some biographical information on his favorite actress.
Nina Li was born as Li Chi ( Li Zhi) on the
31st of December, 1961, in Shanghai. Her father was a respected stage actor
(some sort of Lee Strasberg of China) and had taught in the actor studio
in Shanghai and Canton for many years. Her parents had been separated since
her childhood and this had a very negative effect on the rest of her life.
When she was 19 (1981), her father went to Hong
Kong and she later followed in his footsteps. She first worked in a furniture
store for about a year and then went to the United States to further her
studies. She studied in San Francisco for about three years, studying economics
and business. In order to pay her tuition fees, she was the tutor of some
small children and nursed a paralysed elderly lady.
She finally came back to Hong Kong in 1986 and
entered the Miss Asia Pageant. It was the longest night in her life. After
3 long hours she was elected Miss Asia by a board of adjudicators headed
by the Hon. H.M.G. Forsgate CBE., JP., the then chairman of the Urban Council
and Mr. Michael Hui Koon Man, the Chaplin of Hong Kong film.
At first the audience did not accept her at all
and almost everyone sneered at her. Whenever she started to speak Cantonese
with her Shanghai accent, they hissed at her. 'Learned gentlemen' despised
her and they regarded her beauty as ' gaudy ' and 'tasteless' while 'ladies'
screamed at her whenever they saw her (probably due to jealousy).
But all this had negligible effect on her. Most
filmmakers soon recognized her as the most hard-working actress in our
city as well as the most polite one. Two years later, with the assistance
of tycoons like Jackie Chan and Raymond Wong, as well as local reporters,
she became the fifth highest paid actress Hong Kong - after Anita Mui,
Cherie Chung, Maggie Cheung and Brigitte Lin (as Michelle Yeoh had retired
due to her marriage with Dickson Poon).
Her beauty was described by the novelist Bai H'sian
Yung as ' everlasting and enchanting' and her sex appeal was regarded by
director Yim Ho as 'second only to Marilyn Monroe', while sci-fi
writer Ngai Hong called her his 'dream girl'.
Her legendary status isn’t only on account of
her beauty, but also because of her character - steadfast, staunch and
sincere. She also upheld those traditional moralities. When Playboy magazine
invited her to pose for them in 1986, offering 2 MM dollars (Sam Hui and
CYF were offered 2 MM per film at that time) to this newcomer, she refused
She retired in 1992 and became a real estate investor
in Mainland China. Unfortunately, her business collapsed in 1996. In 1999
she married Jet Li and they currently live in San Francisco. The two had
met years previously in San Francisco during the filming of Dragon Fight.
Nora Miao Ker-hsiu
Nora has gathered quite a fan club it appears
over the years though she is primarily famous as being a co-star to two
of HK’s most famous male action stars. This lovely Eurasian actress appeared
with Bruce Lee in three of his films – The Big Boss, Way of the Dragon
and Fist of Fury – and appeared with Jackie Chan in four of his early efforts
– New Fist of Fury, Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin, The Young Dragon and
Though she was in a number of action/kung fu films
in the 1970s, I don’t believe she had much training in the martial arts
and just did her best to look as good as she could. She often had more
dramatic roles – such as in Skyhawk in which she plays the female interest
to Sammo Hung and Carter Wong. Some other films of hers – Naughty Naughty,
The Invincible Eight (co-starring with Angela Mao) and The Blade Spares
A reader has sent in the following news on
Nora is currently working as a radio host about
cooking and life from Toronto.
Norman Chu has been one of the best of the
bad guys in HK films for over twenty years and in that time he lent his
formidable martial arts skills to a number of classic movies. He began
with the Shaw Brothers in the late 70s appearing in films like Dirty Kung
Fu, 36th Chamber of Shaolin, The Challenger and The Return of the Deadly
Blade. Before he became a film star, Norman was a TV star with his very
popular role in "Metamorphasis of the Heavenly Silkworm" in the late 70's.
This success led him to getting roles with many of the New Wave directors
such as Tsui Hark, Patrick Tam and Ching Siu-tung.
Throughout the 80s this charismatic actor was
to continue appearing in some terrific roles – The Sword (as the main villain),
the classic Duel to the Death (as the honorable but deadly Samurai), Tsui
Hark’s early We’re Going to Eat You, the Kirk Wong triad film The Club,
Bastard Swordsman, City War (the villain of course) and so many more. This
guy always seems to give a rock solid performance.
His career is still going strong today as he was
in The Duel (2000). Two classic films during the 90s were Wing Chun (as
the main bandit, Flying Chimpanzee -- check out his incredible duel with
Michelle Yeoh on the spear!) and What Price Survival (yes as the villain
Olivia Cheng Man Nga
This former Miss Hong Kong made a number of
films in the 1980s – Till Death Do We Scare (1982), Blue Lightening, The
Wild Ones (the social worker), Mr. Coconut, The Missed Date. By the early
90’s she had pretty much dropped out of the film business.
She is still popular in HK and was recently voted
by the HK magazine Ming Pao as one of the Top 10 most healthy looking celebrities.
She is currently a golf instructor.
Born in Suzhou in 1924
Not too long ago I was able to watch the film
Devil Fetus on the big screen in which this elderly actress plays a grandmother
who spends much of the film praying to keep evil away from her family –
without much success I might add! Anyway, I was fascinated to come across
this article from Karyn Hsiao in the Salt Lake Tribune where she is currently
living. It turns out that the actress was fairly legendary in her younger
days. She made her debut at the age of 17 in Shanghai but didn’t hit it
big till a few years later with the film, Spy Number One.
By the early 50’s she had moved from Shanghai
to Hong Kong where she continued her long and distinguished career. By
the 1960s she had moved into character roles - often playing a mother -
and was to keep working until the beginning of the 90’s when she finally
retired. Some of her earlier films were The Open Road (1948), The Girl
with the Thousand Guises (1959), Tragic Melody (1960), Death Traps (1960),
The Wild, Wild Rose and The Love Eterne (1963).
Some of her later films spanned films such as
The Fourteen Amazons, The Fatal Flying Guillotines, Hong Kong Emmanuelle
to Taiwanese Brigitte Lin films like Cloud of Romance and Orchid in the
Rain (both 1977) to one of her final films – The Fun, the Luck and the
Tycoon (one of the aunts). Below are excerpts from the article:
“One of Hong Kong's leading actresses of the1950s,
Ouyang recalls days when she shared her crushed-pearl face cream with French
actress Brigitte Bardot and treated martial arts superstars Jackie Chan
(appeared in Dragon Fist with Jackie) and Bruce Lee to dinner when the
two were still struggling actors.
Her acting career spanned seven decades from 1937
to 1992 and was marked by the tumult of modern Chinese history. These days,
Ouyang spends her time analyzing the work of current filmmakers and looking
for remnants of Hong Kong's cinematic "golden years." "There are
very few films you could call 'great' or 'epic' these days," Ouyang says
in Mandarin, one of three Chinese dialects she speaks fluently. "There's
a lot more sex and violence, because they sell more movies, but we had
to leave a lot to the imagination in my day. Holding hands or hugging were
enough to show that characters were together, and I remember that my mother
would be scandalized if I even had to kiss somebody."
Ouyang had her share of on-screen love interests,
having performed the female lead in more than 80 films -- many of them
dramas – and playing supporting roles in about a hundred others. She was
spotted by talent scouts at age 13, while working as a chinaware salesgirl
in a Shanghai department store. "I told them 'no thank you,' but then they
found out where I lived and came calling for my mother," says Ouyang, who
is mentioned twice in the Encyclopedia of Chinese Films. "Well, Mama couldn't
believe anyone wanted me to be a movie star, but money was very tight and
acting meant more income, so she convinced me to give it a try." After
several months under the tutelage of world-class teachers of ballet, voice
and acting, Ouyang had picked her screen name and made her film debut in
By the late '30s, flowers, love letters and fruit
baskets, as well as myriad paparazzi, were pouring in from across East
Asia. But Ouyang says she was not smitten with any of her suitors -- until
she met Doo Kwanggee, the only film director who would let her pay her
portion of the bill at lunch. "He was 11 years my senior and didn't treat
me like a movie star," Ouyang says of her late husband. The pair married
in Beijing and made a dozen movies together. “