Leslie Cheung - Rotten Tomatoes

Leslie Cheung



Heartthrob, pop star, and celebrated Hong Kong actor, Leslie Cheung was one of Asia's most popular performers and intriguing personalities. Bearing an odd sensuality that both fueled the films he stared in (particularly Rouge, Viva Erotica, Days of Being Wild, and Happy Together) and the Hong Kong tabloids, Cheung was well-known for both the breadth of his work and his offscreen life. Although featured to great effect in several of John Woo's butch action outings, Cheung was notable for being one of the few Asian stars to play openly gay characters, a choice that gained particular resonance when he came out after playing one of his most famous gay roles in Wong Kar-Wai's Happy Together.



Born in Hong Kong on September 12, 1956, Cheung was the youngest of ten children. Influenced early on by both the film world, as his father was actor William Holden's tailor, and his parents' divorce, Cheung went on to study at England's Leeds University. After returning to Hong Kong, he jump-started his career by winning second prize in the 1976 ATV Asian Music Contest. His status as a pop singer led the way to work on television, film, and the stage. In 1981, Cheung became a bona fide star with the success of his album The Wind Blows On, which established him as Asia's most popular singer.



It was not until 1986 that Cheung's film career really gained momentum, thanks to his casting as a rookie cop opposite Chow Yun-Fat in John Woo's popular gangster film A Better Tomorrow. The film's success enabled Cheung to branch out in his film work, and, in 1988, the same year he starred in the sequel to A Better Tomorrow, he played the opium-smoking playboy lead in Stanley Kwan's Rouge, a romantic ghost story that oscillates between the Hong Kong of the 1930s and that of 1987. Rouge was one of the most widely acclaimed films to come out of Hong Kong during the 1980s and helped to establish Cheung as a romantic leading man as well as an action star.



The actor continued to work in a variety of films with some of the industry's most respected directors throughout the 1990s. In 1990, he starred in Woo's action film Once a Thief, again alongside fellow action star Chow Yun-Fat. Later, he got the chance to expand his acting palette in Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild (1991) by playing Yuddy, a thoroughly despicable heel who uses and abuses most of the women in his life. In 1993, Cheung starred in another action spectacular as Zhuo Yi-Hang, the sensitive swordsman and star-crossed romantic lead in The Bride With White Hair. That same year, he earned international acclaim and recognition for his performance as an opera star specializing in female roles in Chen Kaige's landmark historical drama Farewell, My Concubine. Cheung lent his character's complicated gender identity an unusual pathos and sensitivity, making the development of his on-stage love to off-stage longing all the more affecting. Three years later, he again worked with Chen, as a dissolute opium addict in Temptress Moon.



In 1994, he paired up with Wong Kar-Wai again as the ambivalent swordslinger hired to kill and protect the same person in the existential action epic Ashes of Time. In 1997, again with Wong, Cheung starred in perhaps the most daring role of his career as the bitchy Ho Po-wing, one of a pair of gay Chinese lovers stranded in Buenos Aires in Happy Together. The film's explicit sex scenes made Happy Together one of the most controversial movies of the year and one of the most acclaimed. Cheung subsequently starred as a sleazy softcore film producer in Viva Erotica.



Continuing to appear in numerous films through the millennial crossover, Cheung continued to gain accolades for his diverse and affecting roles. From his touching performance as a stockbroker who finds new meaning in life upon adopting a young orphan in The Kid (1999), to a haunting and eerily prophetic final role in the thriller Inner Senses (2002), his

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
93% A Better Tomorrow
  • Kit
2010
80% Ashes of Time Redux
  • Ouyang Feng
2008
No Score Yet Viva Erotica
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Yee do hung gaan (Inner Senses)
  • Jim
2002
No Score Yet Okinawa Rendez-vous
  • Jimmy Tong
2000
No Score Yet And I Hate You So
  • C.H. Yuen
2000
No Score Yet Double Tap
  • Rick Pang
2000
No Score Yet Time to Remember
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Lau sing yue (The Kid)
  • Wing
1999
No Score Yet Sing yuet tung wa (Moonlight Express)
  • ???,??{zh-Hant}
1999
8% Knock Off
  • Young Worker (Skinny Freight)
1998
No Score Yet Ngon na ma dak lin na (Anna Magdalena)
  • Actor
1998
No Score Yet Hong se lian ren (A Time to Remember)
  • Jin
1998
78% Happy Together (Chun gwong cha sit)
  • Ho Po-wing
1997
No Score Yet Gum gee yuk yip 2 (Who's the Woman, Who's the Man)
  • Sam Koo
1997
62% Temptress Moon
  • Yu Zhongliang
1997
No Score Yet Se qing nan nu (Viva Erotica)
  • Sing
1997
No Score Yet Tri-star (Da san yuan)
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Yang Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema (Yang & Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema)
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Ye ban ge sheng (The Phantom Lover)
  • Song Danping
1995
No Score Yet The Chinese Feast (Jin yu man tang)
  • Actor
1995
No Score Yet He's a Woman, She's a Man (Gam chi yuk sip)
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet Long and Winding Road (Jin xiu qian cheng)
  • Lam
1994
No Score Yet Daai foo ji ga (It's a Wonderful Life)
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet The Bride With White Hair 2
  • Cho Yi-Hang
1993
No Score Yet Se diu ying hung ji dung sing sai jau (The Eagle Shooting Heroes)
  • Wang Yao-shih
1993
No Score Yet All's Well, Ends Well Too
  • ???{zh-Hant}
1993
100% The Bride With White Hair
  • Cho Yi Hang
1993
No Score Yet Arrest the Restless
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Jia you xi shi (All's Well, Ends Well) (Family Happiness)
  • Shang So
1992
60% Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)
  • Jim
1991
No Score Yet A Chinese Ghost Story III
  • Actor
1991
90% Days of Being Wild (A Fei zheng chuan)
  • Luddy
1990
No Score Yet Erotic Ghost Story
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet A Chinese Ghost Story II
  • Ning Tsei-Shen
1990
No Score Yet Aces Go Places V: The Terracotta Hit
  • Actor
1989
80% A Better Tomorrow II
  • Sung Tse-Kit
1988
No Score Yet Fatal Love
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Chatter Street Killer
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Yin ji kau (Rouge)
  • Chan Chen-Pang
1988
75% Sien nui yau wan (A Chinese Ghost Story)
  • Ning Tsei-Shen
1987
No Score Yet The Intellectual Trio
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet For Your Heart Only
  • Piggy Chan
1985
No Score Yet Yuen fan (Fate) (Behind the Yellow Line)
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Xin zuijia paidang, (Aces Go Places V: The Terracotta Hit )
  • Actor

Quotes from Leslie Cheung's Characters