|Stephen Chow 大话周星驰(图)|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2005/04/04 18:10 长喜欢乐英语|
Having appeared in more than 50 films and won numerous Hong Kong Film Awards, Stephen Chow (Zhou Xingchi) has been regarded as Hong Kong’s King of Comedy. He was born in Hong Kong in June 1962. In his childhood, he was fascinated by Bruce Lee, much like other children his age.
Stephen Chow was nine years old in 1971 when Bruce Lee’s triumphant Hong Kong film, The Big Boss debuted.
It was a huge hit and he began to study martial arts. It is said that his friends sometimes had to call him “small dragon”.
In 1982, after graduating from high school, Chow auditioned for Hong Kong’s TVB (television station) acting school, but didn’t make the cut.
However, through an acquaintance, he was able to take night classes and, the next year, was chosen to be master of ceremonies of the children’s program “430”.
He was not fond of children, which made it difficult for him, but his performance went over well and he stayed on the show for five years.
For several years after that, he worked on a variety of programs, and moved into drama, becoming even more popular.
In 1988, Chow played one of the leads in the movie Final Justice (Pili Xianfeng), winning Best Supporting Actor at the Taiwan Academy Awards. It was his first film.
He had his first starring role in 1990 in a Chow Yun-Fat spoof: All for the Winner (Du Sheng) and started excelling in the comedy genre.
Chow became the number one Hong Kong film actor of the 1990s, earning more than Jackie Chan by as much as two times. He made 29 films from 1990 to 1993.
Chow’s style at the time of All for the Winner was called “Makes No Sense (wulitou)”. This style established his popularity in the 90s as a comic actor.
Chow has also shown an interest in 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 movie-making with the Journey to the West (Dahua Xiyou). And, he directed and starred in Shaolin Soccer (Shaolin Zuqiu), which was successful both in China and in the US.
Stephen Chow, who has been practicing martial arts as an amateur since he was a boy, growing up in a poor family in Hong Kong, hopes to make a really Kongfu movie.
“I had to think about how to make a breakthrough. After all, people have seen so many Kongfu movies. It’s a lot of pressure, but it was also a challenge.”
The result is Kung Fu Hustle, a martial arts comedy extravaganza that has been three years in the making. “I combine traditional martial arts with modern special effects in a way that’s never been done before,” he says with a hint of pride. “To me, special effects are a tool I can use to realise my imagination. The story and the characters are still the most important elements.”
The various kongfu experts in the cast also show a reverence for authentic martial arts, despite the many whizz-bang-pop special effects that populate the movie. “To me, the spirit of Kongfu represents everything that is positive about being human,” he pronounces thoughtfully in somewhat halting Mandarin.
Indeed, from being disparaged for his so-called mo lei tau (Cantonese for “nonsense”) humour in the 1990s to being revered as a cultural icon today, you might say Stephen chow could do without Hollywood’s blessings.
Academics from prestigious Chinese universities have even written books about his movie’s postmodern sensibilities. But as him whether he feels he has progressed at all as a filmmaker and comedian, and he is nonchalant. “I’m the sort of person who likes to look forward. I very rarely look back at my old movies, so I can’t really say how I’ve changed,” he says. “I’m very grateful and happy that different kinds of people, including academics, enjoy my work. But frankly, I think they are giving me too much credit. Actually my aim is very simple: I just want to entertain.”
So while some call Kung Fu Hustle, Wong Kar Wai’s 2046, which appeals only to arthouse moviegoers, and Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers, which gets labelled as lacking substance, the three blockbusters to watch in Chinese cinema this year, he declines to predict if his film will capture the hearts and minds of a larger audience. “I don’t categorise movies as arthouse and commercial. There are only good and bad movies. Filmmaking is a difficult business and the only way to do it is to do the best job you possibly can.”
|Stephen Chow 大话周星驰(图)|