JOHN WOO (Director/Producer) most recently
directed Mission Impossible 2 starring Tom Cruise, a phenomenal success
both domestically and internationally. The film opened to some of the highest
grossing weekend figures in history.
Woo 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
Born in Guangzhou, China, in 1946, 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
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 Rags.
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. 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 II.
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 critics worldwide.
Woo kept busy between his feature films directing pilots for television,
including Once a Thief, an adaptation of his feature film, and Blackjack
starring Dolph Lundgren. In 1998 Woo directed his first commercial, a Nike spot
featuring seven Brazilian soccer stars which won a silver lion at Cannes. Windtalkers
is being produced by Lion Rock Productions, Woo's new company with longtime
partner Terence Chang.
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