Joan Chen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Joan Chen
Joan Chen 20120309.jpg
Joan Chen (2012)
Chinese name陳冲 (traditional)
Chinese name陈冲 (simplified)
PinyinChén Chōng (Mandarin)
JyutpingCan4 Cung1 (Cantonese)
Birth nameChen Chong
AncestryShanghai, China
Born(1961-04-26) April 26, 1961 (age 53)
Shanghai, China
Occupationactress, director, screenwriter, producer
Years active1975–present
  • Jim Lau (m. 1985–90)
  • Peter Hui (m. 1992)
Jump to: navigation, search
"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)
PinyinChén Chōng (Mandarin)
JyutpingCan4 Cung1 (Cantonese)
Birth nameChen Chong
AncestryShanghai, China
Born(1961-04-26) April 26, 1961 (age 53)
Shanghai, China
Occupationactress, director, screenwriter, producer
Years active1975–present
  • 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.


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]



Shen Yamei / 沈亞妹
1979Little Flower
Zhao Xiaohua / 赵小花Hundred Flowers Award for Best Actress
Yugoslavia Film Festival Award for Best Actress
1979Hearts for the Motherland
Huang Sihua / 黃思華aka Overseas Compatriots, A Loyal Overseas Chinese Family
Su Xiaomei / 蘇小梅
1986Goodbye My Love
Ling Ti
1987The Last EmperorWan Jung / 婉容
1989The Blood of HeroesKidda
1992Turtle BeachMinou
1992Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with MeJocelyn 'Josie' Packard
1993Heaven & EarthMama
1993Temptation of a Monk
Princess Hong'e (Scarlet) / 公主紅萼
Lady Qingshou (Violet) / 青绶夫人
1994Golden GateMarilyn
1994Red Rose White Rose
Wang Jiao-Rui / 王嬌蕊Golden Horse Award for Best Actress
HKFCS Award for Best Actress
Nominated — HKFA for Best Actress
1994On Deadly GroundMasu
1995The HuntedKirina
1995Wild SideVirginia Chow
1995Judge DreddIlsa Hayden
1996Precious FindCamilla Jones
1999Purple Storm
Shirley Kwan
2000What's Cooking?Trinh Nguyen
2004AvatarMadame Ong
2004Jasmine Women
Mo's Mother / 茉的母亲
Mo / 茉
2004Saving FaceHwei-Lan Gao
Xiuqing / 秀清
2006AmericaneseBetty Nguyen
2007The 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
2007The Sun Also Rises
Dr. Lin / 林大夫AF Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007All God's Children Can DanceEvelyn
2007Lust, Caution
Mrs. Yee / 易太太
2008The Leap YearsLi-Ann (age 49)
2008Shi Qi
Mother / 母亲SIFF Press Prize for Most Attractive Actress
200824 City
Gu Minhua / 顾敏华
2009Mao's Last DancerNiang / 娘
2010Love in Disguise
2010Color Me Love
Empress Longyu / 隆裕
2011Kiss, His First
2012White FrogIrene Young
2012Passion Island
Johanna / 祖安娜
2012Let It Be
Niu Jie / 牛姐
2012Double Xposure
Dr. Hao / 郝医生
2014For Love or Money
2014Dynasty WomanConsort Wu
2015Relative InsanityPearlpre-production
2016Unconventional Mind
1985MacGyverLinEpisode 1.2 The Golden Triangle
1985Miami ViceMay YingEpisode 1.14 Golden Triangle
1989WiseguyMaxine TzuEpisode All or Nothing
1990Twin PeaksJocelyn 'Josie' PackardTV series — Series regular (2 seasons, 1990–1991)
1992StrangersThe GirlTV movie
1992Shadow of a StrangerVanessaTV movie
1992Nightmare CafeFirst customerEpisode 1.1 Nightmare Cafe
1993Tales from the CryptConnieEpisode 5.4 Food for Thought
1997Homicide: Life on the StreetElizabeth WuEpisode 5.15 Wu's on First?
1998The Outer LimitsMajor Dara TalifEpisode 4.24 Phobos Rising
1999In a Class of His OwnLinda ChingTV movie
2009Newcomers to the Middle-Aged
Tian Wenjie / 田文洁TV series
2010Journey to the West
Guan Yin / 观音TV series
2011FringeReikoEpisode 3.13 Immortality
2012Hemingway & GellhornMadame ChiangHBO TV movie
2012Sui Tang Yingxiong
Empress Dugu / 独孤后TV series
2013Serangoon RoadPatricia ChengTV series
2013Meng's Palace
Er Jie / 二姐TV series


YearTitleChinese titleNotes
1998Xiu 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
2000Autumn in New York
2012Shanghai Strangers非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén)short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)


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


YearTitleChinese titleNotes
1995Wild SideAssociate producer
1998Xiu 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
2012Shanghai Strangers非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén)short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)

Other media[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1980Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActressLittle FlowerWon
Yugoslavia International Film FestivalBest Actress[26][27]Won
1994Asian American International Film FestivalAsian Media Award for significant contribution to Asian American media[28]Won
Golden Horse AwardsBest ActressRed Rose, White RoseWon
1995Hong Kong Film AwardsBest ActressNominated
Hong Kong Film Critics Society AwardsBest Actress[29][30]Won
1998Golden Horse AwardsBest DirectorXiu Xiu: The Sent Down GirlWon
Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium shared with Geling YanWon
Berlin International Film Festival[31]Golden Berlin BearNominated
Fort Lauderdale International Film FestivalJury AwardWon
1999Paris Film FestivalGrand PrizeNominated
Special Jury PrizeWon
Mons International Love Film FestivalGrand PrizeWon
National Board of ReviewInternational Freedom Award[32]Won
2000Independent Spirit AwardsBest First Feature Over $500,000 shared with Alice Chan Wai-ChungNominated
2007Golden Horse AwardsBest ActressThe Home Song StoriesWon
Hawaii International Film FestivalAchievement in ActingWon
Asia Pacific Screen AwardsBest Performance by an ActressNominated
Inside Film AwardsBest ActressWon
Torino Film FestivalBest ActressWon
Australian Film Institute AwardsBest ActressWon
2008Film Critics Circle of Australia AwardsBest ActressWon
Asian Film AwardsBest ActressNominated
Best Supporting ActressThe Sun Also RisesWon
Shanghai International Film FestivalPress Prize for Most Attractive ActressShi QiWon

Other recognition[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". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  5. ^
  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). 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). 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". 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
for The Home Song Stories
Succeeded by
Monic Hendrickx
for Unfinished Sky
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
Preceded by
Best Actress
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
for Red Rose, White Rose
Succeeded by
Josephine Siao
for Summer Snow
Preceded by
Fruit Chan
for Made in Hong Kong
Best Director
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
for Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Zhou Xun
for Perhaps Love
Best Actress
for The Home Song Stories
Succeeded by
Prudence Liew
for True Women For Sale