|Chinese name||午馬 (traditional)|
|Chinese name||午马 (simplified)|
|Pinyin||Wǔ Mǎ (Mandarin)|
|Jyutping||Ng5 Maa5 (Cantonese)|
|Birth name||馮宏源 (Traditional)
Féng Hóngyuán (Mandarin)
Fung4 Wang4jyun4 (Cantonese)
28 May 1942 |
Wu Ma (simplified Chinese: 午马; traditional Chinese: 午馬; pinyin: Wǔ Mǎ, real name: simplified Chinese: 冯宏源; traditional Chinese: 馮宏源; pinyin: Féng Hóngyuán; born: 28 May 1942, in Tianjin, China) is a Chinese actor, director, producer and writer. Wu Ma made his screen debut in 1963, and with over 180 appearances to his name (plus 38 directorial credits within a twenty-five year period), Wu Ma is one of the most familiar faces in the history of Hong Kong Cinema. He is best known as the Taoist ghosthunter in A Chinese Ghost Story.
The early years
Wu was born Feng Hongyuan in Tianjin. At 16 he moved to Guangzhou and became a machinist before migrating to Hong Kong in 1960. In 1962, Wu enrolled in the Shaw Brothers acting course. Graduating a year later, he became a contract player for the studio and made his first appearance in Lady General Hua Mulan. He then appeared in such films as Temple Of The Red Lotus (1965), The Knight Of Knights (1966) and Trail Of The Broken Blade (1967). He took on the stage name 'Wu Ma' as it reflected the animal in the year of his birth (the horse), and believed it was short enough for audiences to remember.
During an interview, Wu explained that he stumbled upon directing when he was offered an unexpected trip to Japan for a movie. The film's original assistant director was unable to clear his visa in time, and Wu was called upon to take his place. After the experience, Wu decided to become a director, and became famed director Chang Cheh's assistant in 1968. Wu assisted Chang in movies such as Golden Swallow, and also continued to pursue acting.
Wu mainly concentrated on directing in the 1970s, directing several movies - such as Young Tiger (1973) and Wits To Wits (1974). Wits To Wits has been noted as one of the precursors of the knockabout comedy kung fu genre that was later made famous by Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. Another movie Wu directed, Manchu Boxer (1974), featured Sammo Hung, then a young choreographer and later one of the trend-setters of Hong Kong cinema. This marked the beginning of a strong working relationship between the two, which would become prominent towards the 1980s. He also co-directed with his former mentor Chang in several movies - The Water Margin (1972), The Pirate (1973), All Men Are Brothers (1975) and Naval Commandos (1976).
While most of his output during this period was as a director, Wu continued to appear as an actor and appeared both in his own movies and in several others, although his roles were generally limited to small appearances.
During the mid-1970s, Wu joined a small exodus who were leaving Shaw Brothers due to corruption within the studio and became an independent director. Despite becoming an independent director, Wu was still able to work closely with some Shaw Brothers stars such as Ti Lung (The Massive (1978)).
As the 1970s and the era of the martial arts film wound down, Wu Ma's output as a director also slowed. His acting output, however, increased as he became increasingly well known as a character actor.
While Wu had made appearances in Hung's 1970s movies (such as Iron Fisted Monk), Wu's association with Sammo Hung began in earnest in the early 1980s. Wu appeared in Hung's groundbreaking Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980), a movie widely acknowledged as the precursor of the Hong Kong vampire genre, and directed and appeared in The Dead And The Deadly (1983), a noted classic in its genre which earned Wu a Hong Kong Film Award nomination for Best Director. Throughout the 1980s, Wu and Hung had a close working relationship, often with Wu as the director and Hung as the producer (such as My Cousin The Ghost (1986)).
Wu also worked in Hung's production company Bo Ho as the production manager, and made appearances in almost every Hung-directed movie of the 1980s. Amongst the most notable movies were Millionaire's Express (1986) and Wheels on Meals (1984).
Towards the mid-1980s, Wu became one of the most prolific character actors in Hong Kong, his now-rubbery face able to shift effortlessly across a spectrum of emotions. During the 1980s, he received three Hong Kong Film Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor - for Righting Wrongs (1986), where he played a policeman having to deal with his son's death; A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) as Yin Chek-Ha; and in The Last Eunuch In China (1988), as Lord Ting.
After A Chinese Ghost Story, said by Wu to be amongst his favourite movies, Wu began to focus on the supernatural genre. Much of his directorial efforts after 1987 were within that genre, such as Portrait Of A Nymph (1988), Burning Sensation (1989) and Fox Legend (1991).
Wu continued his working relationship with Hark, and appeared in Once Upon A Time In China (1991) and Swordsman (1991). The early 1990s were an especially prolific period in Wu's career - with Wu appearing in over 14 movies during one year.
As the Hong Kong film industry began to slump, Wu's career also slowed considerably. After appearing in High Risk (1995), many of his appearances were either in low-budget movies or in television series.
Wu has become an active player in television, and has made several series mainly made for mainland Chinese audiences. Wu stated that working in television is quite a contrast to working in film, as the former takes up far more time. Wu has also appeared in the recent movie House of Fury (2005).
|This section is incomplete. (March 2012)|
|1965||Temple of The Red Lotus|
|1969||The One-Armed Swordsman
|1971||The Deaf and Mute Heroine|
|1972||The Water Margin
|1977||The Iron-Fisted Monk
|Boatman in brothel|
|1978||Showdown at the Cotton Mill||Director|
|1980||By Hook or By Crook|
|1980||Encounters of the Spooky Kind
|1983||The Dead and The Deadly
|Ma Lun Cheung||Nominated - Hong Kong Film Award for Best Director|
|1984||Hong Kong 1941
|Police station employee|
|1985||Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars
|Rice shop boss|
|1986||Peking Opera Blues
|Uncle Tsai||Nominated - Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1987||A Chinese Ghost Story
|Yin Chek Hsia||Nominated - Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1988||Mr Vampire IV|
|1988||Picture of a Nymp|
|1988||Last Eunuch in China
|Lord Ting||Nominated - Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1989||Miracles (1989 film)
|1990||A Chinese Ghost Story II
|Yin Chek Hsia|
|1990||Story of Kennedy Town
|Detective Sergeant Huang|
|1991||the gambling ghost|
|1991||The Magnificent Scoundrels
|1991||Once Upon a Time in China
|1992||The Ghost's Bride
|1993||The Sword Stained with Royal Blood
|1994||Master of Zen
|1996||Iron Monkey 2
|2005||House of Fury
|2010||Here Comes Fortune|
|2010||Jeet Kune Do|
|2011||I Love Hong Kong|
|Imperial Tutor Pang|
|2011||What's Under the Bed|
|2011||Hand in Hand|
|2012||If I Were You|
|2012||Game of Assassins|
|2012||The Immemorial Magic|
|2005||Lost City in Snow Heaven
|2007||The Legend and the Hero
|2007||Sword Stained with Royal Blood
|2008||When East Meets West
|2008||Taste of Happiness
|Mei Lan's grandfather|
|2008||The Qin Empire
|2010||Journey to the West
- A short biography and filmography
- A detailed biography - bottom of page
- Wu Ma at the Internet Movie Database
- A Chinese Ghost Story - commentary by Bey Logan
- Interview in Chinese
|Awards and achievements|
|Golden Horse Award|
for The Lunatics
|Best Supporting Actor
for A Chinese Ghost Story
for Final Justice