Katie Leung

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Katie Leung
Katie leung 2020 1.jpg
Leung at the 2020
German Comic Con Home Edition
Katie Liu Leung

(1987-08-08) 8 August 1987 (age 34)
Dundee, Scotland
EducationEdinburgh College of Art (BA)
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (BA)
Years active2004–present
Katie Leung
Traditional Chinese梁佩詩
Simplified Chinese梁佩诗

Katie Liu Leung (born 8 August 1987) is a Scottish actress. She played Cho Chang, the first love interest for lead character Harry Potter in the Harry Potter film series. In 2012, Leung made her stage debut in the play Wild Swans, and has since appeared in many other stage productions. She is also known for providing the voice of Caitlyn in the animated series Arcane.

Leung has an interest in the arts, having studied painting and design at the University of the Arts London, and has degrees in photography from Edinburgh College of Art and theatre from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Early life[edit]

Leung was born in Dundee, Scotland, although Motherwell, North Lanarkshire is often misidentified as her birthplace due to most of her childhood having been spent there.[1] She attended secondary school at Hamilton College, South Lanarkshire.[2][3] She is of Chinese descent; her father, Peter Leung, was a Hong Kong businessman and restaurateur who opened a company in Glasgow, and her mother, Kar Wai Li, was a Hong Kong banker. Leung's parents divorced when she was three, and she lived in Scotland with her father, stepmother, and siblings after her mother moved back to Hong Kong.[1][4]


2005–2007: Harry Potter[edit]

Leung at the Tokyo premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005

Leung's father saw an advertisement for a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire casting call, and suggested she should try out. She waited four hours in line for a five-minute audition, despite feeling she had little likelihood of obtaining the role.[5] Two weeks later, she was called back for a workshop and was cast as Cho Chang, beating out over 3,000 other girls for the part.[6] In retrospect, she stated in an interview with the Daily Record that her Scottish accent probably gave her an advantage in the casting,[7] as the casting director asked the girls who attended the audition, "Is there anyone here from Scotland?", to which only Leung raised her hand.[8] In a 2011 interview, Leung said her fondest memory of the Harry Potter experience was the first audition, because both her parents, who were separated at the time, went with her. "It was a really nice moment because my parents hadn't seen each other for a long, long time," Leung said.[9] In an effort to heavily promote Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Warner Bros. sent Leung to China in the film's second week of release, which was unusual for a market not used to frequent celebrity visits.[10]

She appeared in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in which she and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) shared an on-screen kiss that received much media coverage. Her role was significant in the series at this point as Harry Potter's first romance. While Leung was greeted warmly by most fans of the series, some fans, jealous of Leung's relationship with Harry in the film, created an "I Hate Katie" website and racist messages posted on fan websites were upsetting to Leung at the time.[11][12]

Leung's voice was used in the video games Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


In July 2007, Leung was cast by Gold Label Records, a subsidiary of EMI in Hong Kong, to be the female lead in the music video Love Coming Home (愛回家) by Leo Ku. Leung filmed the video in London while promoting the new Harry Potter film. Ku described Leung's acting as "professional" and "mature".[13]

Leung played Hsui Tai in the episode "Cat Among the Pigeons" of ITV1's Agatha Christie's Poirot,[14] which premiered on ITV on 21 September 2008.

Leung has been named as Scotland's most stylish female and as the hottest Scotswoman in 2007 by The Scotsman.[15] She has also been featured in Teen Vogue and in Evening Standard.[16][17]

Following the end of the Harry Potter films, Leung said she was uncertain if she wanted to continue a career in acting. However, after attending a drama course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she was inspired.[18] In December 2011, she was awarded the role of Jung Chang as her debut stage role in Chang's autobiographical play Wild Swans.[19] In comparing film to live performances, Leung said, "The obvious challenge is of course getting it right the first time, which is weirdly exciting for me."[20] The play made its world premiere in Cambridge, Massachusetts in February 2012, before returning to Motherwell.[21]

In June 2012, it was confirmed that Leung would be starring in the Channel 4 four-part drama series Run as leading character Ying, an illegal Chinese immigrant who sells pirate DVDs and stolen phones on the streets of Brixton in hope of making a life for herself in the UK, but first must pay her debts to the Snakehead gang who smuggled her into Britain.[22]

Leung starred in The World of Extreme Happiness (The Shed at the National Theatre, 2013), in which she played Sunny, along with Vera Chok as Xiao Li, a female migrant worker, in a production about the world of migrant workers in rapidly emerging modern China.[23] Leung has also appeared in the BBC's production Father Brown crime drama series.

In April 2014, it was announced that Leung was to play the role of Mei, a first-born Chinese girl adopted by an American mother and British father, in the TV miniseries One Child. In the story, her character is asked to return to her birthplace, Guangzhou, when her birth mother desperately seeks her assistance in saving her son. The series is produced by BBC Drama production for BBC Two and is co-produced with Sundance TV. It was scheduled to begin production in May 2014 in London and Hong Kong and aired in February 2016.[24] Leung received praise by Catherine Gee of The Daily Telegraph, who called her performance "beautifully understated".[25]

In late 2016, Leung appeared in the Tony Kushner play The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (iHo) at the Hampstead Theatre, London.[26] In 2017, Leung co-starred with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner, playing Fan, Chan's character's daughter.

In June 2021, Leung narrated the short audio story Off Course for Bibliophone. The story was the winner of a charity writing competition which raised money for the Scottish Refugee Council. Leung subsequently appeared as DC Blair Ferguson in the TV series Annika, voiced Caitlyn in the Netflix series Arcane, and will appear as Ash in the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series The Peripheral.[27][28][29]

Personal life[edit]

Leung delayed plans to go to art college and university to film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. During this period, Leung had said she was undecided about pursuing an acting career after Harry Potter and wished to attend university to study art and design.[6] In 2007, she helped The Prince's Trust charity raise £100,000 by launching a children's art competition and also donated one of her own paintings which was auctioned for £960.[30] Leung has expressed a passion for photography.[31] In 2009, she was one of two celebrities who donated a photo to Sightsavers International's I:Click 2009 competition. Sightsavers International is a charitable organisation to combat blindness in poor countries.[32][33]

While appearing in Wild Swans, Leung worked to complete her photography degree at Edinburgh College of Art.[9] Afterwards, she attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, where she completed the BA in Acting course.[34]

In March 2021, Leung opened up about the racist abuse she had received from fans while filming Harry Potter. Appearing on an episode of the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast, Leung said she was told by her publicists to deny what was happening if asked.[35]

She speaks fluent Cantonese and some Mandarin.[36] On 19 August 2018, Leung participated in the wedding of another former Harry Potter cast member, Afshan Azad.[37]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Cho Chang
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
2017 T2 Trainspotting Nurse
2017 The Foreigner Fan Quan
2018 Leading Lady Parts Assistant Short film
2021 Locked Down Natasha


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Agatha Christie's Poirot Hsui Tai Episode: "Cat Among the Pigeons"
2013 Run Ying Miniseries (4 episodes)
2014 Father Brown Jia-Li Gerard Episode: "The Prize of Colonel Gerard"
One Child Mei Ashley Miniseries (3 episodes)
2018 Strangers Lau Chen Miniseries (8 episodes)
2019 Chimerica Liuli Miniseries (4 episodes)
Moominvalley Too-Ticky (voice)
2020 The Nest Eleanor Miniseries (5 episodes)
Roadkill Margaret Moore Miniseries (3 episodes)
2021 Annika Blair Ferguson Miniseries (6 episodes)
2021–present Arcane Caitlyn Kiramman (voice)
TBA The Peripheral Ash Post-production

Theatre credits[edit]

Year Title Role Venue
2012 Wild Swans Jung Chang The Young Vic Theatre, London
2013 The World of Extreme Happiness Sunny National Theatre, London
2015 You For Me For You Junhee Royal Court Theatre, London: Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
2016 The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (iHo) Sooze Hampstead Theatre, London
2017 Snow in Midsummer Dou Yi Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
2019 White Pearl Sunny Royal Court Theatre, London: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs



  • Outstanding Newcomer Award, Asian Excellence Awards (Top 4)
  • Young Scots Award (nominee)


  • Scotland's Most Stylish Female[38]
  • No. 80 on the Cosmogirl's Hot 100 List[39]



  • BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2014[41]


  1. ^ a b Swarbrick, Susan (12 February 2016). "Katie Leung on life after Harry Potter and battling racist stereotypes". The Herald (Glasgow).
  2. ^ LAU KIT WAI. Katie casts a spell. South China Morning Post. YOUNGPOST; Pg. 1. 11 December 2005.
  3. ^ Dougan, Andy (4 November 2005). "'Motherwell girl Katie steals Harry Potter 's heart; MOVIE SPECIAL Katie Leung on her dream role . . . and the big secret she had to keep for two months". Evening Times (Glasgow). NEWS. p. 14.
  4. ^ Sturgis, India (15 February 2016). "Harry Potter actress Katie Leung: I regularly experience racism". The Telegraph.
  5. ^ Synnot, Siobhan (21 June 2007). "KISS ME KATIE". Daily Record. Retrieved 29 November 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Katie Leung 5/2007 Interview BBC.com". BBC. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  7. ^ "Exclusive: My Broad Accent Scot Me A Job As Harry Girl". The Daily Record. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 19 March 2011.[dead link]
  8. ^ "What Katie did next". The Scotsman. 26 June 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  9. ^ a b Herald Scotland. "Lights, camera ... magic". Herald and Times Group. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  10. ^ Pride, William M.; Hughes, Robert J.; Kapoor, Jack R. (2008). Business. Houghton Miffin. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-618-75314-7.
  11. ^ "KATIE: I CRIED FOR HARRY'S ILL FANS". Scotland: Daily Record. 16 November 2005. Archived from the original on 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  12. ^ United Press International (11 April 2005). "Racists slam 'Harry Potter' actress". UPI. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  13. ^ 基仔張秋親熱大汗疊細汗 (in Chinese). Sina.com. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007.[dead link]
  14. ^ Hendry, Steve (2 December 2007). "What Katie Leung Did Again". Sunday Mail. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  15. ^ Watson, Jeremy (18 November 2007). "Harry Potter actress flies from Hogwarts to top of eligibles list". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 21 November 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  16. ^ "DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Katie Leung Evening Standard photoshoot, June 2007". SnitchSeeker.com. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  18. ^ "LEUNG NEARLY QUIT ACTING AFTER POTTER". Scotland: The Express. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  19. ^ "Harry Potter actress Katie Leung lands debut stage role". BBC News. 7 December 2011.
  20. ^ Amy Adler (8 February 2012). "Katie Leung Goes Wild". TheaterMania.com, Inc. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  21. ^ Wei-Huan Chen. "'Wild Swans' tries to fit China on stage". Dedham, Massachusetts: Dedham Transcript. Retrieved 12 February 2012.[dead link]
  22. ^ Channel 4 Run Cast Announcement
  23. ^ "The World of Extreme Happiness: A Story of China's Urban Migrants". The Culture Trip - China. 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  24. ^ Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (30 November 2014). "Opaque Justice in China: Katie Leung Stars in 'One Child' by Guy Hibbert". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Gee, Catherine (17 February 2016). "Gripping drama One Child exposes how fragile China is - review". The Daily Telegraph.
  26. ^ "Tamsin Greig stars in The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures". London Theatre 1. 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  27. ^ Turner, Kayt (16 March 2021). "In Pictures: New series of popular drama, Annika, filming in Glasgow". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  28. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (21 September 2021). "'Arcane': Hailee Steinfeld, Ella Purnell & Kevin Alejandro Among Voice Cast For Netflix 'League Of Legends' Animated Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  29. ^ Petski, Denise (2 June 2021). "'The Peripheral': Louis Herthum, Chris Coy, Melinda Page Hamilton Among 5 Cast In Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy's Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  30. ^ Edinburgh Evening News (4 December 2007). "Potter star Katie helps raise £100,000". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 December 2009.[dead link]
  31. ^ Cheesman, Chris (26 November 2009). "HARRY POTTER STAR REVEALS PHOTOGRAPHY 'PASSION'". Amateur Photographer. Archived from the original on 30 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  32. ^ "i:click". Sightsavers International. Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  33. ^ Carswell, Andy (3 December 2009). "Amersham teen's photo to appear alongside work of Harry Potter actress". Bucks Free Press & Times Group. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  34. ^ Louise Jury (20 April 2012). "Harry Potter star Katie Leung makes stage debut... before a spell at drama school". London Evening Standard. UK. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  35. ^ Moreau, Jordan (11 March 2021). "'Harry Potter' Actor Katie Leung Says She Was Told to Deny Receiving Racist Attacks From Fans". Variety. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  36. ^ "Katie Leung: I almost quit acting after Harry Potter". UK: Metro. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  37. ^ Merrett, Robyn. "Harry Potter Stars Reunite for Hogwarts' 'Very Own Royal Wedding'". People. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  38. ^ "Awards ceremony celebrates Glasgow's style". Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. Archived from the original on 20 December 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  39. ^ "Katie Leung in Cosmo Girl magazine". snitch seeker.com. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  40. ^ "2008 Movie Awards Winners". MTV Networks. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  41. ^ [1] Katie Leung, BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2014 Archived 1 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]