Stephen Chow was the only boy of his family, and has grown up as a Bruce Lee fan and a martial arts addict. His career started on TV, where he presented a children show ( "430 Space Shuttle" (1983)) and started becoming popular. He got some supporting roles, after that, and won the Taiwanese Golden Horse award for best supporting actor.
He had his first starring role in 1990 in a 'Chow Yun-Fat' spoof: All for the Winner (1990) - "All for the Winner" and started excelling in the comedy genre. In Hong-Kong, his particular nonsense style is called "Mo Lei Tau". It's also on the set of this movie that he encountered his fellow sidekick Man Tat Ng.
One of the last HK biggest star which have not been bought by Hollywood, even if Miramax (who'll surely release Shaolin Soccer (2001) - "Shaolin Soccer" this year in the USA - after remastering it, ouch.) has probably planned something for him...
Born Chow Sing-Chi in Hong Kong on 22nd June 1962, Stephen Chow spent his youth days with three sisters in Shanghai, China. He developed an interest in the martial arts after witnessing the talent of Bruce Lee, where he began training in the style of Wing Chun, which was one of Bruce Lee's specialties. His martial arts training served him well to a minimum and he incorporated it in many of his famous action films.
In 1982, he graduated from high school and auditioned for an acting school run by TVB, a Hong Kong television station where he was rejected. His friend 'Waise' Lee Chi-Hung (The Legend of the Swordsman, John Woo's 'A Better Tomorrow') helped him out and he was allowed to take night classes. He graduated in 1983 and was hired to host a children's television program called 'Space Shuttle 430' even though he wasn't fond of children. This didn't stop him from carrying on his duty as he developed an off-beat rapport with co-stars of the show that audiences loved, which led the program to run for five years. During the show's final run in 1988, he broke into dramatic roles in numerous television programs and went on to star in his first feature film where actor 'Danny' Lee Sau-Yin (City on Fire, John Woo's 'The Killer') cast him in 'Final Justice' which earned him an Award for Best Supporting Actor at the 25th Annual Taiwanese Film Awards.
In 1990, he introduced his incredible comedy talent in the film,'All for the Winner' which was a hilarious spin-off of the film, 'God of Gamblers' starring Chow Yun-Fat. The film became such a success that he also starred alongside Chow Yun-Fat in the successful sequel, 'God of Gamblers 2'. He excelled in the comedy genre and developed a trademark that reinvented his career in years to come as he began doing parodies of Hollywood, Japanese Hong Kong cinema films, such as 'Fist of Fury 1991', 'From Beijing with Love', and his directorial debut, 'All's Well Ends Well'. The parody film, 'Justice My Foot' earned him Best Actor of Asia at the Pacific Film Festival.
His idea of combining sports with action kung-fu & comedy came into play in 2002 with 'Shaolin Soccer' where some CGI digital effects were used to help create astonishing action sequences with the help of legendary action choreographer 'Tony' Ching Siu-Tung who provided a stylized twist to the fights. The film struck gold on release, ranking the highest grossing film in the history of Hong Kong cinema with a record of HK$60 million.
Finally, Hollywood took support of Chow's comedic skills and Miramax Films bought the distribution rights to 'Shaolin Soccer' and released it internationally in 2003. Following the success of 'Shaolin Soccer' Columbia Tristar released his next kung-fu comedy project, 'Kung Fu Hustle', on which he collaborated with another legendary action choreographer, Yuen Wo-Ping, to create some hard-hitting martial arts sequences, for which Wo-Ping has been famous since the '70s in Hong Kong.
Stephen Chow's creativity of action and comedy continues to find new audiences and his work will continue to entertain viewers around the world for years to come.
Frequently uses his Chinese name, "Sing" in movies
Frequently works alongside or casts Man Tat Ng
Frequently cast in films directed by Jing Wong
Always plays an underdog with his real-life traits
Musical numbers that serves little to no purpose to the plot
His over-the-top style of comedy, known as "Silly Talk"
A wing chun stylist, Chow began using it in combat scenes, starting with Fist of Fury 1991.
His parents couldn't afford kung fu lessons, therefore he taught himself from watching TV.
Parents divorced when he was young.
Grew up in Hong Kong.
Quentin Tarantino calls him "the best actor in Hong Kong.".
His favorite director is Steven Spielberg.
I thought martial arts were my great strength, but when I actually got involved in show-business, I realized I wasn't the only one who could do these things. And compared to a lot of others, I wasn't really that good. So I became a children's TV program host.
Right from the beginning of my work, I wanted to capture a mass audience. And I love the unusual: you never see dancing villains. For me, there's a fine line between comedy and drama; so it's not just played for laughs. There's a little romance in this story, too - something for everybody.
I'm not good at kung-fu at all. I have been learning, but obviously I am not an expert.
I used to cry when I watched Chaplin's films. It was from him that I learned about the role of the underdog. And because I'm also from a poor family, this kind of thing moved me and I found that it also worked for the audience because most of them are like me - ordinary guys.
The reason to do a remake is always because the idea is good but the quality is not up to standard. With Kung Fu Hustle the quality is already there. And it would be hard to do it in English because it is all about Chinese culture.
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