Michael Hui

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Michael Hui
Michael Hui Koon Man 2005.JPG
Hui in 2005
Born (1942-09-03) 3 September 1942 (age 78)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • playwright
  • director
  • producer
Years active1968–present
Spouse(s)
Cheng Kit-ying
(m. 1972)
ChildrenHui See-wai (son)
Hui See-hang (daughter)
Parent(s)Hui Sai-cheung (father)
Lee Sin-wan (mother)
AwardsHong Kong Film AwardsBest Actor
1981 Security Unlimited

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese許冠文
Simplified Chinese许冠文
Musical career
Also known asCool-faced comedian, Mr. Boo! (in Japan)
OriginHong Kong
Associated actsHui Brothers: Ricky Hui, Samuel Hui

Michael Hui Koon-man (born Chinese: 許冠文; 3 September 1942) (also known as Mr Boo!) is a Hong Kong actor, comedian, scriptwriter and director. He is the eldest of the four Hui brothers (together with Ricky, Sam, and Stanley) who remain three of the most prominent figures in the Hong Kong entertainment circle during the 1970s and the 1980s. Michael Hui is considered by many critics to be one of the foremost comedians in the Hong Kong film industry.

Early life[edit]

Michael Hui studied in La Salle College, and then earned a degree in sociology from the United College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Career[edit]

After a spell hosting quiz shows on TVB, Hui gained popularity in the Hong Kong entertainment industry with his variety show stints in the Hui Brothers Show. He then moved from television to film. Hui's first work was in a film by Taiwanese director Li Han-hsiang called The Warlord (大軍閥 or "The Great Regime", 1972), where he played a farcical warlord in post-revolutionary China.

In 1974, he set up his own film company, the Hui Film Company, with Golden Harvest, with his brothers Ricky and Sam. Between 1974 and 2000 he created more than 20 comedy films, 5 of them were Hong Kong's No. 1 box-office hit of the year.

The earliest Hui comedies combined episodic gags with the comedic appeal of Michael and his brothers. This usually involved the trio of actors—Michael, Sam and Ricky—pitting their wits against the odds to earn quick bucks and their livelihood. Set in modern-day Hong Kong, with upbeat soundtracks performed by Sam himself, these works became wildly popular amongst the working classes in the 1970s and early 1980s. Games Gamblers Play (1974), The Private Eyes (1976), The Contract (1978) and Security Unlimited (1981) – the last of which won him the first Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor – are often seen as the quintessential comedies made by the company. Games Gamblers Play was a huge success when first released and paved the way for Cantonese movies to hold their own against the colonial trend of Mandarin production.

After a breakup with his brothers in the early 1980s, Hui developed a new brand of satirical comedy, one which capitalized on his deadpan comic timing, using a more character-driven storyline. Some of his more renowned works came during this period in the 1980s. Hui frequently acted out the archetypal "ne'er-do-well" driven on by a cash-mad Hong Kong society. Equally caustic and funny, they are set against the backdrop of present-day Hong Kong consumerism. He would make a rare North American film appearance as the Subaru mechanic/engineer with Jackie Chan in the Burt Reynolds comedy The Cannonball Run. In Chocolate Inspector (1986), he plays a chocolate-eating inspector who must solve a kidnap case while his subordinate is involved in a Miss Hong-Kong pageant. In Chicken and Duck Talk (1988), opposing restaurateurs come to blows to secure profits. Front Page (1990), which reunited the three brothers, lampoons the Hong Kong press, while The Magic Touch (1992) satirizes the Chinese obsession with fortune-telling and wealth. Always on my Mind (1993) continues in this vein of self-deprecating humour: Hui plays the head of a family, a news anchor, who will stop at nothing to grab money.

Hui continued acting and producing his own comedies, at a less prolific rate, in the 1990s and 2000s. He wrote a dozen screenplays, but none were produced because he felt dissatisfied.[1] Chinese Box (1997), directed by Wayne Wang, remains Hui's only starring film in the West. He played a talented safe-cracker, who kidnaped a baby for money from triads but was kind-hearted and dignified, in the action-comedy Rob-B-Hood (2006), starring alongside Jackie Chan and Louis Koo. In 2006, he became the host of the quiz show Deal or No Deal. In 2016, he starred in the Taiwanese black comedy film, Godspeed, for which he is nominated the Golden Horse Award for Best Leading Actor.

Filmography[edit]

Acting roles[edit]

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Year Film Role Notes
1972 The Warlord
1974 Games Gamblers Play Man
1975 The Last Message Tim
1976 The Private Eyes
1978 The Contract
1981 The Cannonball Run
1981 Security Unlimited
1984 Teppanyaki
1985 Mr. Boo Meets Pom Pom
1986 Happy Din Don
1986 Chocolate Inspector
1988 Chicken and Duck Talk
1989 Mr. Coconut
1990 Front Page
1991 The Banquet
1992 Hero of the Beggars
1992 The Magic Touch
1993 Always on My Mind
1995 Wealthy Human Realm
1997 Chinese Box
2000 Funny Business
2004 Fantasia
2004 Three of a Kind
2006 Rob-B-Hood
2012 The Bounty
2014 Delete My Love
2016 Godspeed
2018 Agent Mr Chan
2019 Theory of Ambitions

Films directed, written or produced[edit]

Year Film Director Writer Producer Notes
1974 Games Gamblers Play Yes Yes
1975 The Last Message Yes Yes
1976 The Private Eyes Yes Yes
1978 The Contract Yes Yes
1981 Security Unlimited Yes
1984 Teppanyaki Yes Yes
1986 Happy Din Don Yes Yes
1986 Chocolate Inspector Yes Yes
1988 Chicken and Duck Talk Yes
1989 Mr. Coconut Yes
1990 Front Page Yes Yes
1992 The Magic Touch Yes Yes Yes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 【專訪】許冠文--創作歷程一路逆風 (in Cantonese). am730. 11 April 2018.

External links[edit]