JOHN WOO (Director/Producer) began his illustrious career as a
filmmaker in Hong Kong where he spent over two decades at the center of a
thriving film industry directing nearly 30 feature films. He was known primarily
as a comedy specialist until the mid-1980s when he created a series of inspired
romantic gangster dramas that broke box-office records.
Born in Guangzhou, China in 1945, Woo moved to Hong Kong with his family when
he was four years old. He was educated at Matteo Ricci College and, at age 19,
began making experimental films. In lieu of film school, Woo sought entry-level
positions in the flourishing Hong Kong film industry.
In 1971 he began working as an assistant director at Shaw Brothers. Just two
years later he made his directorial debut with "The Young Dragons." He
was then signed to an exclusive contract at Golden Harvest. Two more successful
martial arts films followed, "The Dragon Tamers" and "The Hand of
Death," the latter featuring action superstar Jackie Chan in his first
major screen role.
Woo found equal success with a Cantonese opera film, "Princess Chang
Ping," but first became a major force in Asian filmmaking with a string of
eight hit comedies, including "Money Crazy" and "From Riches to
Woo left Golden Harvest in 1983 and joined a new company, Cinema City, where
he directed the romantic gangster film "A Better Tomorrow," starring
Chow Yun-Fat and Leslie Cheung. Woo's lush crime thrillers with Chow - which
also include the brilliantly choreographed character - driven action film
"The Killer" and Woo's last Hong Kong-produced film "Hard
Boiled" - won enthusiastic fans among audiences and filmmakers around the
world. Woo also directed the Vietnam War-set "Bullet in the Head," the
comedy action caper "Once a Thief" and "A better Tomorrow
Woo made his U.S. feature film debut with "Hard Target," starring
Jean-Claude Van Damme. In 1994 he formed WCG Entertainment with his producing
partner, Terence Chang. Under this banner, Woo directed "Broken
Arrow," starring John Travolta and Christian Slater, and
"Face/Off," starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. The latter was an
enormous box-office hit for the Hong Kong director and was praised by critic
worldwide. He then went on to direct "M:I-2," starring Tom Cruise. A
phenomenal success both domestically and internationally, the film opened to the
highest grossing weekend figures in Paramount Pictures' history. Woo kept busy
between his feature films directing pilots for television including "Once a
Thief," and adaptation of his feature film, and "Blackjack." In
1998 Woo direct his first commercial, a Nike spot featuring seven Brazilian
In 2000 Woo formed Lion Rock Productions with partner Terence Chang and
directed and produced his epic WWII drama, "Windtalkers" and produced
"Bulletproof Monk." Since This time, Woo directed a BMW short film
titles "Hostage," starring Clive Owen.
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