Joan Chen

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"Chen Chong" redirects here. For the Taiwanese politician, see Sean Chen (politician).
Joan Chen
Joan Chen 20120309.jpg
Joan Chen (2012)
Chinese name 陳冲 (traditional)
Chinese name 陈冲 (simplified)
Pinyin Chén Chōng (Mandarin)
Jyutping Can4 Cung1 (Cantonese)
Birth name Chen Chong
Ancestry Shanghai, China
Born (1961-04-26) April 26, 1961 (age 53)
Shanghai, China
Occupation actress, director, screenwriter, producer
Years active 1975–present
Spouse(s)
  • Jim Lau (m. 1985–90)
  • Peter Hui (m. 1992)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Chen.

Joan Chen or Chen Chong (born April 26, 1961) is a Chinese and American actress, film director, screenwriter, and film producer. She became famous in China for her performance in the 1979 film Little Flower and came to international attention for her performance in the 1987 Academy Award-winning film The Last Emperor. She is also known for her roles in Twin Peaks, Red Rose, White Rose, Saving Face and The Home Song Stories, and for directing the feature film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Chen Chong was born in Shanghai to a family of pharmacologists.[1] She and her older brother, Chase, were raised during the Cultural Revolution. At the age of 14, Chen was discovered on the school rifle range by Jiang Qing, the wife of leader Mao Zedong and major Chinese Communist Party figure, as she was excelling at marksmanship. This led to her being selected for the Actors' Training Program by the Shanghai Film Studio in 1975, where she was discovered by veteran director Xie Jin who chose her to star in his 1977 film Youth (Chinese: 青春; pinyin: Qīngchūn)[2] as a deaf mute whose senses are restored by an Army medical team. Chen graduated from high school a year in advance, and at the age of 17 entered the prestigious Shanghai International Studies University, where she majored in English.[3]

Acting career[edit]

Chen in fantasy makeup for the 1985 film Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart

Chen Chong first became famous in China for her performance alongside Tang Guoqiang in Zhang Zheng's (Chinese: 张铮) Little Flower (Chinese: 小花; pinyin: Xiǎo Huā) in 1979, for which she won the Hundred Flowers Award (Chinese: 百花奖; pinyin: Bǎi Huā Jiǎng). Chen portrayed a pre-Maoist revolutionary's daughter, who, reunited with her brother, a wounded Communist soldier, later learned that his doctor was her biological mother. Little Flower was her second film and she soon achieved the status of China's most loved actress; she was dubbed "the Elizabeth Taylor of China" by Time magazine for having achieved stardom while still a teenager.[2]

In addition, Chen is famous in China for her role in the 1979 film Hearts for the Motherland (Chinese: 海外赤子; pinyin: Hǎiwài Chìzǐ). The film directed by Ou Fan (Chinese: 欧凡) and Xing Jitian (Chinese: 邢吉田) depicts an overseas Chinese family that returns to China from southeast Asia out of their patriotic feelings but encounter political troubles during the Cultural Revolution. The songs, "I Love You, China" (Chinese: 我爱你中国) and "High Flies the Petrel" (Chinese: 高飞的海燕), sung by Chen's character, are perennial favorites in China. In 1981, Chen starred in Awakening (Chinese: 甦醒; pinyin: Sūxǐng), directed by Teng Wenji (Chinese: 滕文骥).

At age 20, Chen moved to the United States, where she studied filmmaking at California State University, Northridge.

Her first Hollywood movie was Tai-Pan, filmed on location in China. She went on to star in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor in 1987 and the David Lynch/Mark Frost television series Twin Peaks as Josie Packard. In 1993 she co-starred in Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth. She portrayed two different characters in Clara Law's Temptation of a Monk (Chinese: 誘僧; pinyin: Yòu Sēng): a seductive princess of Tang dynasty, and a dangerous temptress. The award-winning film was adapted from a novel by Lilian Lee.

In 1994 she co-starred with Steven Seagal in the action/adventure On Deadly Ground; she then returned to Shanghai to star in Stanley Kwan's Red Rose, White Rose (Chinese: 紅玫瑰白玫瑰; pinyin: Hóng Méigui Bái Méigui) opposite Winston Chao, and subsequently won a Golden Horse Award and a Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award for her performance. In 1996, she was a member of the jury at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

Tired of being cast as an exotic beauty in Hollywood films, Chen moved into directing in 1998 with the critically acclaimed Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (Chinese: 天浴; pinyin: Tiān Yù), adapted from the novella Heavenly Bath (Chinese: 天浴; pinyin: Tiān Yù) by her friend Yan Geling. She later directed Autumn in New York, starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder, in 2000.

In the middle of the 2000s, Chen made a comeback in acting and began to work intensely, alternating between English and Chinese-language roles.

In 2004, she starred in Hou Yong's family saga Jasmine Women (Chinese: 茉莉花开; pinyin: Mòlìhuā Kāi), alongside Zhang Ziyi, in which they played multiple roles as daughters and mothers across three generations in Shanghai. She also starred in the Asian American comedy Saving Face as a widowed mother, who is shunned by the Chinese-American community for being pregnant and unwed and therefore has come to live with her lesbian daughter.

In 2005, she appeared in Zhang Yang's family saga Sunflower (Chinese: 向日葵; pinyin: Xiàngrìkuí), as a mother whose husband and son have a troubled father-son relationship over 30 years. She then starred in the Asian American independent film Americanese and in Michael Almereyda's Tonight at Noon, the first part of a two part project, scheduled to be released in 2009[5]

In 2007, Chen was acclaimed for her performance in Tony Ayres' drama The Home Song Stories. She portrayed a glamorous and unstable Chinese nightclub singer who struggles to survive in seventies Australia with her two children. Chen. The role earned her four awards including the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress and the Golden Horse Award for Best Actress. The same year saw her co-starring in two other acclaimed films: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, opposite Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, and Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises, opposite Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, for which she received an Asian Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2008, she starred alongside Sam Chow (Chinese: 邹爽) in Shi Qi (Chinese: 十七; pinyin: Shíqī), directed by Joe Chow (Chinese: 姬诚; pinyin: Jī Chéng), as a rural mother of a 17-year-old in eastern Zhejiang province.[6][7] The same year Joan Chen portrayed in Jia Zhangke's 24 City a factory worker once fancied because she resembled Chen herself in the 1979 film Little Flower, but who missed her chance at love.

She then co-starred in Bruce Beresford's 2009 adaptation of the autobiography of dancer Li Cunxin Mao's Last Dancer, along with Wang Shungbao and Kyle MacLachlan.[8]

In 2009, Chen starred alongside Feng Yuanzheng (Chinese: 冯远征) and Liu Jinshan (Chinese: 刘金山) in the Chinese TV series Newcomers to the Middle-Aged (Chinese: 人到中年), directed by Dou Qi (Chinese: 斗琪), in which she played a female doctor facing middle-age problems.[9] She also played the part of goddess Guan Yin in the 2010 Chinese TV adaptation of Journey to the West, directed by Cheng Lidong (Chinese: 程力栋).[10]

In October 2009 Joan Chen was the curator of the first Singapore Sun Film Festival, whose theme was The Art of Living Well. She selected and curated five films for screening during the festival: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Dead Man Walking, Hannah and Her Sisters, Still Life (Chinese: 三峡好人; pinyin: Sānxiá hǎorén) and Edward Scissorhands.[11][12]

In 2010, Chen joined the cast of Leehom Wang's directorial debut Lian ai tong gao (Chinese: 恋爱通告; pinyin: Liàn ài tōng gào).,[13] Alexi Tan's Color Me Love (alongside Liu Ye),[14] Ilkka Järvilaturi's Kiss, His First (alongside Tony Leung Ka-fai and Gwei Lun-mei)[15] and veteran acting coach Larry Moss' Relative Insanity (along with Juliette Binoche). In May 2010, she was set to star and direct one of the three parts of the anthology film Seeing Red.[16][17]

As of the 2011 episode 3.13 entitled "Immortality" she plays Secretary Bishop's girlfriend on the J.J. Abrams created sci-fi television series FRINGE.

Personal life[edit]

Chen married her second husband, cardiologist Peter Hui, on January 18, 1992. She was formerly married to actor Jimmy Lau from 1985 to 1990. Joan and her current husband have 2 daughters and live in San Francisco, USA but spend part of every year in Shanghai, China with Joan's family, so their daughters can be familiar with Chinese culture.[citation needed] Chen began the process of adopting twin girls from Nan Ning in 1998, but cancelled the adoption proceedings after becoming pregnant with her daughter.[citation needed]

During her early years in California Chen attended California State University, Northridge. In 1989, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. On April 9, 2008, Chen wrote an article entitled "Let the Games Go On" for the Washington Post, objecting to the politicization of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[18]

Charitable work[edit]

In May 2008, Chen appeared alongside James Kyson Lee and Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom in a public service announcement for the Banyan Tree Project campaign to stop HIV/AIDS-related stigma in Asian & Pacific Islander communities.[19][20]

In October 2008, Chen made the cover of Trends Health magazine alongside actresses Ke Lan (Chinese: 柯蓝) and Ma Yili (Chinese: 马伊琍) to promote the Chinese Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Prevention campaign.

On January 8, 2010, Chen attended alongside Nancy Pelosi, Nicole Kidman and Joe Torre the ceremony to help Family Violence Prevention Fund break ground on a new center located in the Presidio of San Francisco intended to combat violence against women and children. During the ceremony, Chen performed an excerpt from the documentary play, "The Thumbprint of Mukhtar Mai" (presented as part of "Seven").[21][22][23]

On January 15, 2010, Chen was set to appear, along with other Asian American personalities in a series of videos supporting the Center for the Pacific Asian Family.[24]

Filmography[edit]

Actress[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1977 Youth
青春
Shen Yamei / 沈亞妹
1979 Little Flower
小花
Zhao Xiaohua / 赵小花 Hundred Flowers Award for Best Actress
Yugoslavia Film Festival Award for Best Actress
1979 Hearts for the Motherland
海外赤子
Huang Sihua / 黃思華 aka Overseas Compatriots, A Loyal Overseas Chinese Family
1981 Awakening
甦醒
Su Xiaomei / 蘇小梅
1986 Goodbye My Love
惡男
Ling Ti
1986 Tai-Pan May–May
1987 The Last Emperor Wan Jung / 婉容
1989 The Blood of Heroes Kidda
1991 Wedlock Noelle
1992 Turtle Beach Minou
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Jocelyn 'Josie' Packard
1993 Heaven & Earth Mama
1993 Temptation of a Monk
誘僧
Princess Hong'e (Scarlet) / 公主紅萼
Lady Qingshou (Violet) / 青绶夫人
1994 Golden Gate Marilyn
1994 Red Rose White Rose
紅玫瑰,白玫瑰
Wang Jiao-Rui / 王嬌蕊 Golden Horse Award for Best Actress
HKFCS Award for Best Actress
Nominated — HKFA for Best Actress
1994 On Deadly Ground Masu
1995 The Hunted Kirina
1995 Wild Side Virginia Chow
1995 Judge Dredd Ilsa Hayden
1996 Precious Find Camilla Jones
1999 Purple Storm
紫雨風暴
Shirley Kwan
2000 What's Cooking? Trinh Nguyen
2004 Avatar Madame Ong
2004 Jasmine Women
茉莉花开
Mo's Mother / 茉的母亲
Mo / 茉
2004 Saving Face Hwei-Lan Gao
2005 Sunflower
向日葵
Xiuqing / 秀清
2006 Americanese Betty Nguyen
2007 The Home Song Stories
Rose Hong / 洪玫瑰 Golden Horse Award for Best Actress
IF Award for Best Actress
TFF Award for Best Actress
AFI Award for Best Actress
FCCA Award for Best Actress
Nominated — AF Award for Best Actress
Nominated — APS Award for Best Actress
2007 The Sun Also Rises
太阳照常升起
Dr. Lin / 林大夫 AF Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007 All God's Children Can Dance Evelyn
2007 Lust, Caution
色,戒
Mrs. Yee / 易太太
2008 The Leap Years Li-Ann (age 49)
2008 Shi Qi
十七
Mother / 母亲 SIFF Press Prize for Most Attractive Actress
2008 24 City
二十四城记
Gu Minhua / 顾敏华
2009 Mao's Last Dancer Niang / 娘
2010 Love in Disguise
恋爱通告
Joan
2010 Color Me Love
爱出色
Zoe
2011 1911
辛亥革命
Empress Longyu / 隆裕
2011 Kiss, His First
初吻
2012 White Frog Irene Young
2012 Passion Island
熱愛島
Johanna / 祖安娜
2012 Let It Be
稍安勿躁
Niu Jie / 牛姐
2012 Double Xposure
二次曝光
Dr. Hao / 郝医生
2014 For Love or Money
露水红颜
2014 Yang Guifei Consort Wu
2015 Relative Insanity Pearl pre-production
2016 Unconventional Mind
放浪记
pre-production
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1985 MacGyver Lin Episode 1.2 The Golden Triangle
1985 Miami Vice May Ying Episode 1.14 Golden Triangle
1989 Wiseguy Maxine Tzu Episode All or Nothing
1990 Twin Peaks Jocelyn 'Josie' Packard TV series — Series regular (2 seasons, 1990–1991)
1992 Strangers The Girl TV movie
1992 Shadow of a Stranger Vanessa TV movie
1992 Nightmare Cafe First customer Episode 1.1 Nightmare Cafe
1993 Tales from the Crypt Connie Episode 5.4 Food for Thought
1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Elizabeth Wu Episode 5.15 Wu's on First?
1998 The Outer Limits Major Dara Talif Episode 4.24 Phobos Rising
1999 In a Class of His Own Linda Ching TV movie
2009 Newcomers to the Middle-Aged
人到中年
Tian Wenjie / 田文洁 TV series
2010 Journey to the West
西游记
Guan Yin / 观音 TV series
2011 Fringe Reiko Episode 3.13 Immortality
2012 Hemingway & Gellhorn Madame Chiang HBO TV movie
2012 Sui Tang Yingxiong
隋唐英雄
Empress Dugu / 独孤后 TV series
2013 Serangoon Road Patricia Cheng TV series
2013 Meng's Palace
海上孟府
Er Jie / 二姐 TV series

Director[edit]

Year Title Chinese title Notes
1998 Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl 天浴 (Tiān Yù) Golden Horse Award for Best Director
Mons International Love Film Festival Grand Prize
National Board of Review International Freedom Award
Paris Film Festival Special Jury Prize
FLIFF Jury Award for Best Drama
Nominated — Golden Bear Award
Nominated — Paris Film Festival Grand Prize
2000 Autumn in New York
2012 Shanghai Strangers 非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén) short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)

Writer[edit]

Year Title Chinese title Notes
1998 Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl 天浴 (Tiān Yù) Golden Horse Award for Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium shared with Geling Yan
2012 Shanghai Strangers 非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén) short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)

Producer[edit]

Year Title Chinese title Notes
1995 Wild Side Associate producer
1998 Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl 天浴 (Tiān Yù) Producer, Executive producer
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature Over $500,000 shared with Alice Chan Wai-Chung
2012 Shanghai Strangers 非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén) short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)

Other media[edit]

  • 2008: "Shanghai," narrator—an audio walking tour by Louis Vuitton and Soundwalk[25]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
1980 Hundred Flowers Awards Best Actress Little Flower Won
Yugoslavia International Film Festival Best Actress[26][27] Won
1994 Asian American International Film Festival Asian Media Award for significant contribution to Asian American media[28] Won
Golden Horse Awards Best Actress Red Rose, White Rose Won
1995 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress[29][30] Won
1998 Golden Horse Awards Best Director Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl Won
Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium shared with Geling Yan Won
Berlin International Film Festival[31] Golden Berlin Bear Nominated
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival Jury Award Won
1999 Paris Film Festival Grand Prize Nominated
Special Jury Prize Won
Mons International Love Film Festival Grand Prize Won
National Board of Review International Freedom Award[32] Won
2000 Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature Over $500,000 shared with Alice Chan Wai-Chung Nominated
2007 Golden Horse Awards Best Actress The Home Song Stories Won
Hawaii International Film Festival Achievement in Acting Won
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Performance by an Actress Nominated
Inside Film Awards Best Actress Won
Torino Film Festival Best Actress Won
Australian Film Institute Awards Best Actress Won
2008 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Best Actress Won
Asian Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actress The Sun Also Rises Won
Shanghai International Film Festival Press Prize for Most Attractive Actress Shi Qi Won

Other recognition[edit]

  • In 1992 People magazine chose her as one of the 50 most beautiful women in the world.
  • Chen inspired indie rock band Xiu Xiu, named after her film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.
  • Chen was chosen by Goldsea as Number 45 on its compilation of "The 120 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time".[33]
  • In James McKenzie's 2013 urban fantasy e-novel Janis and Saint Christopher, Chen runs for the US Senate and befriends Janis Joplin.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Corliss, Richard (April 5, 1999). "West To East". TIME 153 (13) (USA). 
  2. ^ a b Stokes, Lisa Odham (October–December 2005). "Sensuously Elegant: An Interview with Joan Chen". Asian Cult Cinema (48) (USA). pp. 51–61. 
  3. ^ Tom Kagy."Heavenly And Hearthy." Goldsea Asian American Daily. August 1992.
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1996 Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  5. ^ TCM.com
  6. ^ "Film Role Sparks Mother Hen Instinct for Joan Chen". CRI English. September 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  7. ^ HongKong Cinemagic Forum -> 17 / Shi Qi
  8. ^ "Kyle MacLachlan, Bruce Greenwood, Joan Chen & Jack Thompson to star in Mao's Last Dancer". Inside Film magazine. February 27, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  9. ^ "《新人到中年》剧照曝光 刘金山为陈冲闪婚(图)" (in Chinese). Sina.com. 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  10. ^ Xie, Tingting (2009-01-02). "Joan Chen Plays Goddess in Monkey King Drama". CRI English. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  11. ^ Lim, Cheryl (3 October 2009). "Joan Chen in Singapore for Sun Film Festival". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  12. ^ "The Sun Film Festival". Singapore Sun Festival. Retrieved 2009-11-31.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[dead link]
  13. ^ "王力宏自导自演 刘亦菲陈冲加盟《恋爱通告》" (in Chinese). Sina.com. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  14. ^ "Lion Rock on board for 'Color Me Love'". Hollywood Reporter Asia. March 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-05. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Production Support - The Finnish Film Foundation - March 2010". The Finnish Film Foundation. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  16. ^ Tsiokos, Basil (May 17, 2010). "Joan Chen Among Three Female Helmers "Seeing Red"". IndieWire. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  17. ^ Frater, Patrick (May 18, 2010). "Chen sees Red". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  18. ^ Chen, Joan (April 9, 2008). "Let the Games Go On". Washington Post (USA). 
  19. ^ "Banyan Tree Project Feature Asian & Pacific Islander Stars in Latest HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigma Public Service Announcements". Reuters. May 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  20. ^ The Banyan Tree Project Official Site
  21. ^ "Family Violence Prevention Fund Will Break Ground on a New International Conference Center and Exhibit Hall in San Francisco's Presidio on Friday, January 8". Earthtimes. January 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  22. ^ "Pelosi, Kidman, Torre Help FVPF Break Ground on New International Center". Family Violence Prevention Fund. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  23. ^ Bigelow, Catherine (January 13, 2010). "S.F. Symphony Black and White Ball details". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  24. ^ "A Community Unites to 'Silence the Violence'". US Asian Wire. January 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  25. ^ "Louis Vuitton Brings Some Style To Audio Tours of China". TechCrunch. June 28, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  26. ^ Shanghai International Film Festival - International Jury in history: 2008 - Joan Chen
  27. ^ "The Most Famous Chinese Actresses in the World". Women of China Magazine Publishing House. November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  28. ^ Asian American International Film Festival 2007
  29. ^ Hong Kong Film Critics Society
  30. ^ Red Rose, White Rose: Film Facts
  31. ^ "Berlinale: 1998 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  32. ^ National Board of Review of Motion Pictures:: Awards
  33. ^ "The 120 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time". 
  34. ^ Magnusson, Michael. "Edge of Fantasia". Gay News Network. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 

Articles and interviews[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Australian Film Institute Awards
Preceded by
Emily Barclay
for Suburban Mayhem
Best Actress
2007
for The Home Song Stories
Succeeded by
Monic Hendrickx
for Unfinished Sky
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
Preceded by
None
Best Actress
1994
for Red Rose, White Rose
Succeeded by
Siqin Gaowa
for The Day the Sun Turned Cold
Josephine Siao
for Summer Snow
Golden Horse Awards
Preceded by
Carrie Ng
for Remains of a Woman
Best Actress
1994
for Red Rose, White Rose
Succeeded by
Josephine Siao
for Summer Snow
Preceded by
Fruit Chan
for Made in Hong Kong
Best Director
1998
for Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
Succeeded by
Ann Hui
for Ordinary Heroes
Preceded by
To Kwak Wai
for Love Go Go
Best Adapted Screenplay
1998
for Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
Succeeded by
Vacant
Preceded by
Zhou Xun
for Perhaps Love
Best Actress
2007
for The Home Song Stories
Succeeded by
Prudence Liew
for True Women For Sale