Reign Behind the Curtain
Beginning his show business career in 1983, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka Fai won Hong Kong Film Awards thanks to his performances in “Reign Behind the Curtain” (1983), “92 Black Rose vs. Black Rose” (1992), “Election” (2005) and “Men Suddenly in Black” ( 2003). He also acquired Golden Horse Film Festival Awards for his performances in “Farewell China” (1990) and “The Drummer” (2007) and Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards for “Everlasting Regret” (2005) and “Eye in the Sky” (2007). Other notable credits include “Huo long” (1986), “Prison on Fire” (1987), “People's Hero” (1988), “King of Chess” (1991), “The Lover” (1992), “Kong woo giu gap” (2000), “Double Vision” (2002), “A-1 Headline” (2004), “The Myth” (2005), “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” (2010) and “Bruce Lee, My Brother” (2010).
Father of Twins
Childhood and Family:
Tony Leung Ka Fai was born on February 1, 1958, in Hong Kong. The son of a movie projectionist, he became interested in film at an early age. After graduating from college, he began his formal dramatic training at the Hong Kong TVB Actor's School, but left after nine months to earn a living.
Tony married Jiang Jianian in 1987. He is the father of twin daughters.
Tony Leung Ka Fai made his professional acting debut in “Burning of the Imperial Palace” (1983), a Li Han Hsiang directed film where he was cast in the starring role of Emperor Xian Feng. He went on to reprise the role in “Chui lian ting zheng” (“Reign Behind the Curtain, 1983), for which he won the Best Actor Award and was nominated in the Best New Performer category at the 1984 Hong Kong Film Awards.
Despite a promising start, Ka Fai was blacklisted from Taiwanese distributors because of his political views. He did not appear in as many films during this period, but did appear in “The Ghost Informer” (1984), “Cherie” (1984), “Journey of the Doomed” (1985) and “Huo long” (1986), where he was nominated for a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor for his performance as Puyi. It was not until 1987 that Ka Fai made a comeback with a role in “Prison on Fire,” an action thriller directed by Ringo Lam that starred Chow Yun-Fat. The film earned many nominations at the 1988 Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The same year, he also appeared in Chung Sun's “Duo ming jia ren” and David Ho's “City Girl.”
After costarring in “My Mother's Tea House” (1988), Ka Fai was cast as Captain Chan in the popular Hong Kong thriller “People's Hero” (1988), which was directed by Tung-Shing Yee. Costars of the film included Ti Lung, Elaine Jin, Ronald Wong and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. The same year, he also starred as Joey Cheung in the Peter Wang film “The Laser Man,” opposite Marc Hayashi and Maryann Urbano. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize-Dramatic category at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival. The following year, Ka Fai could be seen in the films “Sentenced to Hang,” “Hap ga foon,” and Hark Tsui's “A Better Tomorrow III: Love and Death in Saigon,” for which he was reunited with Chow Yun-Fat.
1990 saw roles in Alfred Cheung's “Gu huo da lu shi,” Chu Yin-Ping's “Island of Fire,” where he costarred with Jackie Chan, Barry Wong, Sammo Hung and Andy Lau, “Lethal Lady,” a Hong Kong movie directed by Corey Yuen, and Kirk Wong's “Gunmen,” in which he starred as Captain Ding Chun-Bee. In the Clara Law directed award winning drama “Ai zai bie xiang de ji jie” (“Farewell China”), the actor starred with Maggie Cheung and received a Golden Horse Award for Best Actor and a Hong Kong Film nomination in the same category for his portrayal of Zhao Nansan. He again nabbed a Hong Kong Film nomination for Best Actor after playing Wang Yisheng in “Kei wong” (“King of Chess,” 1991), which Ka Fai co-scripted with the director Ho Yim. 1991 also found Ka Fai appearing in “Wo lao po wo xi ren,” “To Catch a Thief,” “Shen tan Ma Ru-Long” (“Inspector Pink Dragon”), Alfred Cheung's “Biao jie, ni hao ye” (“Her Fatal Ways”), “Gui gan bu,” “Hun yin wu yu,” “Au revoir mon amour,” “Cai shu zhi heng sao qian jun,” “Lan se pi li hou” and “Party of a Wealthy Family,” starring Eric Tsang.
Ka Fai gained further recognition with his portrayal of Keith Lui in “92: Hak Mooi Gwai dui Hak Mooi Gwai” (“92 Black Rose vs. Black Rose,” 1992), a film written and directed by Jeffrey Lau. The film was nominated for nine Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, and won the awards for Best Actor for Ka Fai and Best Supporting Actress for Bo-Bo Fung. The same year, Ka Fai starred with British actress Jane March in French director Jean-Jacques Annaud's “The Lover.” The film, which was based on the semi autobiographical 1984 novel by Marguerite Duras, won a César for Best Music Written for a Film and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. 1992 also found him in Stanley Kwan's “Yuen Ling-yuk” (“Centre Stage”), with Maggie Cheung and Carina Lau, “Huang Fei Hong xiao zhuan,” “Wu du qing chou” and “Dragon Inn,” with Brigitte Lin and Cheung.
During 1993 to 1994, Ka Fai appeared in “Da nao guang chang long,” “Feng chen san xia,” “Mei gui mei gui wo ai ni,” “Yun pei dung lung,” “The Eagle Shooting Heroes,” “Sui woo juen ji ying hung boon sik,” and “Qian wang qing ren.” He also acted in Kevin Chu Yin-Ping's “Flying Dagger,” “Zhui nan zi,” “Tian tai de yue guang,” and “Ji jun sam sap lok gai ji Tau tin wun yat,” to name a few. He next worked with Raymond Wong and Leslie Cheung in Clifton Ko's “It's a Wonderful Life,” was reunited with Chow Yun-fat in Wong Jing's “God of Gamblers Returns,” and portrayed Huang Yaoshi in Wong Kar-wai's “Ashes of Time.” Ka Fai continued to appear in such films as “The Winter of 1900” (1995), “Ci Xi mi mi sheng huo” (1995), “Kuang ye sheng si lian” (1995), to again name just a few, and the Michael Mak directed thriller “Island of Greed” (1997), where he picked up a Hong Kong Film nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Chao Chiu-Sen. After a brief absence in 1998, he starred as Jian in “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (“Tin seung yan gaan,” 1999), a Hong Kong dramatic film directed and written by Nelson Yu Lik-wai, and was reunited with the “Prison on Fire” director Ringo Lam for the movie “The Victim” (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Ka Fai was cast in Dante Lam's “Kong woo giu gap” (2000), opposite Sandra Ng Kwan Yue and Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, and was nominated for a Hong Kong Film Award in the category of Best Actor for his work. The same year, he also starred with Leslie Cheung, Faye Wong and Gigi Lai in Gordon Chan's “Okinawa Rendez-vous” (2000). After appearing in “Gua Sha Treatment” (2001), he teamed up with American actor David Morse and Taiwanese actress Rene Liu in the international horror film “Double Vision” (2002), which was directed by Chen Kuo-fu. For his portrayal of Huang Huo-tu, he was nominated for a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor. He then appeared in Sun Zhou's “Zhou Yu de huo che” (2002, with Gong Li), Samson Chiu's “Gam gai” (2002), “Good Times, Bed Times” (2003) and Jing Wong's “Spy Dad” (2003). In Pang Ho-Cheung's “Daai cheung foo” (“Men Suddenly in Black,” 2003), he played Uncle Ninth, a role that brought him his third Hong Kong Film Award, this time for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2004, Ka Fai landed roles in “20 30 40,” “Sex and the Beauties,” “PaPa Loves You,” “Fear of Intimacy,” Johnnie To's “Yau doh lung fu bong” (“Throw Down”) and “The Huadu Chronicles: Blade of the Rose” (“The Twins Effect II”), opposite Charlene Choi, Gillian Chung, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Jaycee Chan, Daniel Wu, Edison Chen and Bolin Chen. He the played Lee in the “Three... Extremes” segment “Dumplings” (2004), which was directed by Fruit Chan, and received a Hong Kong Film nomination for Best Actor for his performance. The same year, he also portrayed Chief Editor Terrence Tsang Tat-si in Gordon Chang's “A-1 Headline,” for which he netted a Golden Horse nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The next year, Ka Fai gave notable performances in Stanley Kwan's “Everlasting Regret” (2005) as Mr. Cheng, for which he received a Hong Kong Film Critics Society (HKFCS) for Best Actor and a Hong Kong Film nomination for Best Actor, and Big D in Johnnie To's “Election” (2005), where he picked up a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor and a Golden Horse nomination for Best Actor for the role. The same year, he also acted in “Tai Hang shan shang” and Stanley Tong's “The Myth,” where he starred with Jackie Chan, Kim Hee-sun and Mallika Sherawat.
Ka Fai resurfaced in 2007 when he was cast as Chan Chong Shan in the Hong Kong crime movie “Eye in the Sky,” opposite Simon Yam and Kate Tsui. Under the direction of Yau Nai-Hoi, he earned a Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor and a Golden Bauhinia nomination for his performance. He won a Golden Horse Film Festival Award for his supporting portrayal of Kwan in “ The Drummer” (2007), a Hong Kong/Taiwan film written and directed by Kenneth Bi, worked with Fan Bingbing, Tong Dawei and Elaine Jin on Li Yu's “Lost in Beijing” (2007) and costarred in “Sum seung si sing” (2007). He then appeared in “Missing” (2008), “I Corrupt All Cops” (2009), “The Founding of a Republic” (2009) and “Bodyguards and Assassins” (2009). In addition, 2009 saw him make a rare television appearance in the Canada/China TV miniseries “Iron Road” (2009), directed by David Wu.
Ki Fai next starred with Andy Lau, Carina Lau and Li Bingbing in Tsui Hark's “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” (2010), where he received a Hong Kong Film nomination for his supporting role of Shatuo, was cast in Stanley Kwan's “Showtime” (2010) and played Lee Hoi-chuen in “Bruce Lee, My Brother” (2010), for which he earned a Hong Kong Film nomination for Best Actor.
Recently appearing in “Ngo oi Heung Gong: Hoi sum man seoi” (2011), Ki Fai will play a role in the film “Kiss, His First,” by director/writer Ilkka Järvi-Laturi. The film is set to be released in Finland in October 2011.
Hong Kong Film Critics Society (HKFCS): Best Actor, “Eye in the Sky,” 2008
Golden Horse Film Festival: Golden Horse Award, Best Supporting Actor, “The Drummer,” 2007
Hong Kong Film: Best Actor, “Election,” 2006
Hong Kong Film Critics Society (HKFCS): Best Actor, “Everlasting Regret,” 2006
Hong Kong Film: Best Supporting Actor, “Daai cheung foo”/“Men Suddenly in Black,” 2004
Hong Kong Film: Best Actor, “92: Hak Mooi Gwai dui Hak Mooi Gwai”/”92 Black Rose vs. Black Rose,” 1993
Golden Horse Film Festival: Golden Horse Award, Best Actor, “Ai zai bie xiang de ji jie”/“Farewell China,” 1990
Hong Kong Film: Best Actor, “Chui lian ting zheng”/”Reign Behind the Curtain,” 1984