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Chow's Film Career

Although he is admired by many fans and invited by some Chinese universities to become guest professor, Chow still keeps cool-headed.

"I am far from a film master. I know that I am an ordinary person," he said.

The self-made actor/director has devoted most of his time working in the Hong Kong industry and gradually carved out his name over the past decade or so.

Born in Hong Kong in June 1962, Chow said he was fascinated by Bruce Lee -- much like other children his age -- Chow was 9 years old in 1971 when kung fu film star Bruce Lee's triumphant Hong Kong film The Big Boss debuted.

After watching the film, Chow showed a strong interest in studying kung fu, or martial arts. After graduating from high school in 1982, he auditioned for Hong Kong's TVB (television station acting school) but did not make the cut.

But he was able to take night classes and the following year was chosen to be master of ceremonies of the children's program 430 Space Shuttle.

His performance went over well and he stayed on the show for five years.

For several years after that he worked on a couple of TV programs and then moved into drama, becoming even more popular with audiences.

For a few years Stephen Chow had been getting bigger and bigger roles, but for the most part the films were dramatic or action oriented.

Some of his roles had elements of comedy, but he was not given the opportunity to create a film with his own comic vision.

In 1988, Chow played one of the leads in the movie Final Justice (Pili Xianfeng), winning Best Supporting Actor at the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards.

That helped establish him in the Hong Kong film world.

The key turning point in his career came a year later, in his first starring role in the 1990 Chow Yun-Fat spoof All for the Winner, making him an overnight sensation in Hong Kong and throughout Asia.

Chow became one of the hottest Hong Kong film actors of the 1990s, making 29 films from 1990 to 1993. He also showed an interest in other aspects of film production. He challenged the first director of his James Bond spoof From Beijing with Love (Guochan 007) (1994). He became more concerned with the production side of filmmaking with the Monkey King (Dahua Xiyou).

Chow entered a new era in his film career with his first directorial effort, God of Cookery in 1996. His talents as a filmmaker began to blossom then.

After the huge success of God of Cookery, he made King of Comedy in 1999, which he also wrote, starred in and directed. In 2001, Chow directed, wrote, produced and starred in Shaolin Soccer, which brought him to yet another peak in his career.

The film was a huge success both in China and in North America. The film won seven major awards for Chow at the Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound Designer and Best Visual Effects.

(China Daily December 30, 2004)

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