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Gemma Chan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (30)

Overview (2)

Born in London, England, UK
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gemma Chan (born 29 November 1982) is a British film, television, and theatre actress and former fashion model. She portrays Charlotte in season four of the Showtime and ITV2 series Secret Diary of a Call Girl; Ruth in Channel 4's Fresh Meat; Mia Bennett in the BBC's Doctor Who "The Waters of Mars" and Soo Lin in Sherlock. She also appeared in Exam and Paramount Pictures' action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. She stars in Humans, an AMC/Channel 4 science-fiction drama, which premiered in June 2015.

Chan was born at Guy's Hospital in London, England. Her father grew up in Hong Kong and was an engineer. Her mother, a pharmacist at Guy's Hospital, emigrated from pre-Cultural Revolution Communist China via Hong Kong with her parents (Chan's maternal grandparents) and younger sister, growing up in Greenock, Scotland. Chan was raised near Sevenoaks, a town in west Kent, in South East England and attended Newstead Wood School for Girls in Orpington in the London borough of Bromley. She later went on to read law at Worcester College, Oxford.

Following graduation, Chan gained a training contract offer as a graduate at the law firm Slaughter and May, but instead pursued an acting career and studied at the Drama Centre London. Spotted at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones, she signed to acting agent Nicki van Gelder.

In 2006, Chan was one of the models in series one of Project Catwalk, the UK version of Project Runway. She has been photographed by Rankin for a campaign for Nivea Visage, having previously worked as a model in order to fund her studies and drama school training, appearing in campaigns for Nokia and Selfridges and numerous magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan and The Sunday Times Style.

Chan appeared in the autumn 2009 special of the BBC's Doctor Who ("The Waters of Mars") with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan, which aired 15 November 2009 in the UK, playing geologist Mia Bennett. She was cast as a series regular in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, the fourth and final series airing on ITV2 in the UK and Showtime in the US in 2011. She has also appeared in Fresh Meat, BBC One's Sherlock, and the fourth series of The IT Crowd for Channel 4.

In 2012, Chan was a regular in series two of Sky Living's supernatural drama Bedlam and in True Love, a five-part semi-improvised television series produced by Working Title for BBC One.

In 2013, she starred in new BBC One crime drama Shetland alongside Douglas Henshall and Steven Robertson and guest starred in the BBC's Death In Paradise. She was a cast-member of Channel 4 romantic drama Dates.

Chan played the synthetic Anita/Mia in Humans, an AMC/Channel 4 eight-part science-fiction drama. Filming commenced in autumn 2014 with a June 2015 premiere. The second series premiered on 30 October. For her portrayal of Anita/Mia, Chan has been nominated for numerous awards.

In July 2016, Chan provided the voice for the character of Dewdrop in BBC One's animated television series "Watership Down".

In 2010, she appeared in the World War II drama film Shanghai, the psychological thriller Exam, and the 2011 comedy-drama Submarine. A supporter of human rights, she has also made a film for Amnesty International to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also appeared in the action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The Double, and London Fields. Chan starred in Belles families, by French director and screenwriter Jean-Paul Rappeneau, which premiered in 2015. She is scheduled to appear in film Crazy Rich Asians alongside Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh.

Chan made her professional stage debut in the British Premiere of Bertolt Brecht's last play Turandot at the Hampstead Theatre, London, directed by Anthony Clark. In November 2012, she performed in The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie, a new play by Anders Lustgarten at the Finborough Theatre. In June 2013, she performed in the UK premiere of Yellow Face by American playwright David Henry Hwang at The Park Theatre, London, directed by Alex Sims. It was revived in 2014 at the Royal National Theatre with the original London cast returning.

In November 2013, Chan performed in the world premiere of Our Ajax by Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Southwark Playhouse, London. Wertenbaker chose her to play the war goddess Athena after she saw her performance in Yellow Face.

On 6 August 2013, Chan appeared as a guest on the "Cultural Exchange" feature of the BBC Radio 4 series Front Row, where she nominated the film The Princess Bride as an art work she loves.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: ahmetkozan

Trivia (14)

Studied law at Worcester College, Oxford University prior to training as an actress.
Graduated from the Drama Centre London in 2008.
Was one of three models to reach the final of the first season of Sky One's Project Catwalk, the UK version of Miramax's Project Runway.
Worked as a fashion model to fund her drama school training, appearing in campaigns for Nokia and Selfridges & Co and numerous magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan and the Sunday Times Style.
Classically trained on the violin and piano, attaining the Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music on the violin whilst still at school.
In October 2012 she witnessed a murder of a homeless gentleman outside the Putney Bridge Tube station in West London. She stayed with the gentleman while medics and police were called, but he soon expired. In September 2013 she gave evidence in the trial of the defendant.
Appearing on stage in the British premiere of Bertolt Brecht's final play "Turandot" - Hampstead Theatre, London [October 2008]
Filming as a guest star on the Autumn 2009 special of the BBC's Doctor Who (2005), with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan. [February 2009]
Filming as a new regular on the fourth season of Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007) with Billie Piper. [August 2010]
In 2015, she starred in the inaugural season of the AMC/Channel 4 drama Humans as the main protagonist, Mia/Anita. That same year, she starred in the French drama Families, as Chen-Lin.
She studied law at Worcester College, Oxford. Following her graduation, she turned down a legal job offer, and enrolled at the Drama Centre London to pursue an acting career.
In 2014, she appeared alongside Chris Pine, Kenneth Branagh, and Keira Knightley in the thriller film Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Her father is from Hong Kong and her mother from mainland China. Gemma's mother left the country before the Cultural Revolution, passing through Hong Kong before settling in Greenock, Scotland.
Would like to learn Spanish.

Personal Quotes (30)

All of us have a lot of physical tics that we don't realize that we're doing subconsciously.
Italy - I love the late-night culture, hanging around the square at midnight with everyone, catching up and having a drink.
Growing up, I never saw any Asian faces on TV, so it didn't feel like a viable option.
I do feel a responsibility to try and raise awareness and to help tell the stories of those who may not otherwise have a voice.
Even though I don't necessarily believe in everything that's supernatural, I like being scared and I like things that are suspenseful.
I know we've had AI films, but they've been quite specific in their scope. The scope of 'Humans' is a world set up where this technology is universally accepted. I haven't seen anything that's dealt with it in that multi-layered, every-layer-of-society way.
AI - not so some kind of far-off thing. It's part of our lives now, from your phone to everything you do. It makes our lives easier in a lot of ways.
It's really rare in TV not to think, 'Well, I've seen a version of this before.'
Making a pretty picture, an image, is a completely different thing from acting to camera.
I think 'Humans' is more about provoking the idea that there is a class of beings in society that we treat as less than... as subordinates; people who we treat badly and take for granted. Often they are the same people who work hard to keep the city going. We need to think about that.
Save the Children is also working to improve accommodation for refugee families living outside settlements. I met a family which had been living in a substandard building without windows, doors or a toilet.
I hate the idea that people should listen to what actors have to say on certain issues more than anyone else. Actors have no more right to be heard than anyone.
I visited a Child Friendly Space where children take part in structured play and development activities in a safe environment. These are designed to develop their cognitive ability as well as address their psychosocial needs. As I watched them sing songs and take part in games, it struck me that these kids could be anywhere in the world.
My parents are wonderful, practical, sensible people, and the expectation was that I would study something academic.
As a means to an end, modelling was good, but I had to distance myself from it when I started working as an actress, because even though I wasn't high-profile, I found in my first write-ups that I'd be referred to as 'model Gemma Chan.'
I was given a lot of homework: I had to practice ironing as a synth, practice washing up as a synth, cooking a meal as a synth. It's definitely the most prep I've had to do for a role.
I'm quite a rational person. I'm not very superstitious, but I really do enjoy horror as a genre.
Getting stuck in a plane for four hours on the tarmac on the hottest day of summer in Italy - it was like being trapped in a boiling tin can.
I've heard about productions where it still happens: yellow face, taping up the eyes. It's hard to talk about it in a constructive way.
When you think of things like medicine, people who have lost limbs now have a chance to have a limb replaced that is connected to the brain that they can actually control with their mind. That's amazing.
My parents thought they were getting an accountant and a lawyer. Instead, they ended up with a PR and an actress.
I've been fortunate in my career, but, yes, there have been many times when I have been told my audition has been cancelled because they're only going to see white people.
I loathe exercise. And I hate gyms. I've never had a personal trainer.
I avoid flying Ryanair if I can. I know that everyone gives them a hard time, but there's a good reason for that.
I've always admired the work that Save the Children does to improve the lives of children and their families all over the world.
I found a place under a bridge in Goa where you could have fresh crab and beer. It was nothing complicated, but delicious.
From my experience, I would say no: actors of East Asian descent don't get the opportunities white actors do. I know that's inherently a problem in a country that produces a lot of period drama, but I have to fight so hard to get parts that don't have something to do with China.
I ended up doing a local AmDram musical when I was nine or so. We had to sing and dance and act. It was probably terrible, but I loved it.
As a human, you don't have to be too conscious of your movement. I think it's tougher playing a robot than a human, and even tougher playing a robot who begins showing traces of being a human.
I would have done it happily, but to be a Bond girl isn't everything I aim for as an actress.

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