Gemma Chan at the British Independent Film Awards 2014
29 November 1982 |
London, England, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||University of Oxford|
Gemma Chan (born 29 November 1982) is a British film, television and theatre actress and former fashion model. She portrays Charlotte in season four of the Showtime and ITV2 series Secret Diary of a Call Girl; Ruth in Channel 4's award-winning series Fresh Meat; Mia Bennett in the BBC's Doctor Who "The Waters of Mars" and Soo Lin in Sherlock, She also appeared in the BAFTA-nominated film Exam and Paramount Pictures' action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. She stars in Humans, an AMC/Channel 4 eight-part science-fiction drama, which premiered in June 2015.
Early life and education
Chan was born at Guy's Hospital in London, England. Her father grew up in Hong Kong and was an engineer. Her mainland Chinese mother, a pharmacist at Guy's Hospital, emigrated from pre-Cultural Revolution Communist China via Hong Kong with her parents (Chan's maternal grandparents) and younger sister, growing up in Greenock, Scotland. Chan was raised near Sevenoaks, a town in west Kent, in South East England and attended Newstead Wood School for Girls in Orpington, in the London Borough of Bromley. She later went on to read law at Worcester College, Oxford.
Following graduation, she gained a training contract offer as a graduate at the law firm Slaughter and May; but instead pursued an acting career and studied at the Drama Centre London. Spotted at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones, she then signed to acting agent Nicki van Gelder.
In 2006, Chan was one of the models in season one of Project Catwalk, the UK version of Project Runway. She was one of the top three models who made it to the final, although her designer did not win the final challenge. She has also been photographed by Rankin for a campaign for Nivea Visage, having previously worked as a model in order to fund her studies and drama school training, appearing in campaigns for Nokia and Selfridges and numerous magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan and The Sunday Times Style.
Chan appeared in the autumn 2009 special of the BBC's Doctor Who ("The Waters of Mars") with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan, which aired 15 November 2009 in the UK, playing geologist Mia Bennett. She was cast as a series regular in Secret Diary of a Call Girl alongside Billie Piper, the fourth and final series airing on ITV2 in the UK and Showtime in the US in 2011. Her other recent television projects include Fresh Meat, Channel 4's BAFTA nominated and British Comedy Award winning sitcom; Sherlock, BBC One's contemporary adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson which began airing on 25 July 2010 to positive reviews and went on to win the BAFTA for Best Drama Series in 2011; and the fourth series of the BAFTA and Emmy award winning British sitcom The IT Crowd for Channel 4.
In 2012, Chan was seen as a regular in season two of Sky Living's supernatural drama Bedlam and in True Love, a five-part semi-improvised television series produced by Working Title for BBC One, with David Tennant, Billie Piper, Ashley Walters, Jane Horrocks, David Morrissey, Lacey Turner, Kaya Scodelario and Vicky McClure.
In 2013, she starred in new BBC One crime drama Shetland alongside Douglas Henshall and Steven Robertson and guest starred in the BBC's Death In Paradise. In February 2013, it was announced that she would star in new Channel 4 drama Dates from Skins creator Bryan Elsley alongside Ben Chaplin, Sheridan Smith, Oona Chaplin, Andrew Scott, and Katie McGrath.
Chan played the role of Anita in Humans, the AMC/Channel 4 eight part sci-fi drama, alongside William Hurt, Colin Morgan and Katherine Parkinson. The series is an adaptation of the Swedish drama Real Humans. Filming commenced in autumn 2014 with a June 2015 premiere.
In 2010, she appeared in the World War II drama film Shanghai directed by Mikael Hafstrom, alongside John Cusack, Chow Yun-fat, and Gong Li and in the BAFTA nominated psychological thriller Exam directed by Stuart Hazeldine, alongside Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon, and Luke Mably. Exam was also nominated for the Raindance Award at the 2009 British Independent Film Awards and was released in UK cinemas on 8 January 2010. She was also seen in the critically acclaimed  2011 comedy drama Submarine directed by Richard Ayoade, alongside Paddy Considine and Sally Hawkins. A passionate supporter of human rights, she has also made a film for Amnesty International to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 2014, she appeared in Paramount Pictures' action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, directed by Kenneth Branagh, alongside Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, and Keira Knightley. She will appear in The Double directed by Richard Ayoade and starring Jesse Eisenberg and London Fields directed by Mathew Cullen alongside Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp.
Chan starred in the film Belles familles, by French director and screenwriter Jean-Paul Rappeneau, which premiered in 2015. She spent Summer 2014 shooting in Paris alongside Mathieu Amalric, Marine Vacth, Gilles Lellouche, Karin Viard and Nicole Garcia.
Chan made her professional stage debut in the British Premiere of Bertolt Brecht's last play Turandot at the Hampstead Theatre, London, directed by Anthony Clark. In November 2012, she performed in The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie, a new play by Anders Lustgarten at the Finborough Theatre. In June 2013, she performed in the UK premiere of Yellow Face by Tony Award-winning American playwright David Henry Hwang at The Park Theatre, London, directed by Alex Sims.
In November 2013, Chan performed in the world premiere of Our Ajax by Olivier and Tony Award-winning playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Southwark Playhouse, London. Wertenbaker chose her to play the war goddess Athena after she saw her performance in Yellow Face. Michael Billington, writing in The Guardian, noted that she played Athena "with beautifully svelte omniscience".
On 6 August 2013, Chan was asked to appear as a guest on the "Cultural Exchange" feature of the BBC Radio 4 series Front Row, where she nominated the film The Princess Bride as an art work which she loves.
Chan lives and works in England. She is classically trained on the violin and piano. As of 2013, she and comedian/actor Jack Whitehall have been dating since 2011 and lived together in Notting Hill.
|2006||When Evil Calls||Molly Nelson|
|2013||The Double||Glamourous Judge|
|2014||Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit||Amy Chang|
|2016||Stratton: First Into Action||Aggy||Post-production|
|2016||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||TBA||Filming|
|2006||Project Catwalk||Herself||10 episodes (was finalist)|
|2009||Doctor Who||Mia Bennett||Episode: Autumn 2009 Special "The Waters of Mars"|
|2010||The IT Crowd||Ivana / Female Sulu||Episodes: "The Final Countdown", "Reynholm vs. Reynholm"|
|2010||Sherlock||Soo Lin Yao||Episode: "The Blind Banker"|
|2011||Secret Diary of a Call Girl||Charlotte||Regular (Season 4)|
|2012||Bedlam||Kiera||Regular (Season 2)|
|2012||True Love||Kathy||Television miniseries|
|2013||Shetland||Hattie James||Television series|
|2013||Death in Paradise||Jennifer Cheung||Series two, episode 7|
|2013||Dates||Erica||Episodes: "Erica and Kate", "Erica and Callum"|
|2014||The Game||Chen Mei||Television miniseries|
|2015||Brotherhood||Miss Pemberton||Recurring role|
|2012||The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie||Finborough Theatre|
|2013||Yellow Face (UK premiere)||The Park Theatre|
|2013||Our Ajax (World premiere)||Athena||Southwark Playhouse|
|2014||Yellow Face||Royal National Theatre|
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