Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Michael Fitzgerald Wong or Wong Man-Tak 王敏德, (pinyin: Wáng Mǐndé) born in New York on April 16, 1965, is a Hong Kong based actor, director, singer and producer. Like many Chinese Americans, he is fluent in English language dialog but weak in Chinese, which is reflected in many of the characters he has portrayed. His most notable film is the 1998 film Beast Cops which won a Hong Kong Film Award with Wong in the lead role. As at 2004, he has appeared in over fifty films in twenty-one years, often in lead roles.
Michael Wong grew up in New York, the son of restauranteur William Wong and Dutch American artist Connie Van Yserloo. Afer finishing high school, he left for Hong Kong to try his luck at acting. His brothers Russell Wong and Declan Wong would also become actors in the Hong Kong film industry.
There were a number of significant factors working against Wong's eventual success in the Hong Kong film industry including an inability to speak Cantonese, no formal training in acting and no background in martial arts. He also lacked an entree into the tightly knit Hong Kong film indutry.
His debut was in 1983's Invincible Obsessed Fighters which was a kung fu film. His next significant film was Royal Warriors aka In the Line of Duty which established his dominant image for the first part of his career as a naive but tough outsider, In 1986, he would also star in Legacy of Rage alongside Brandon Lee in his only Hong Kong movie.
Final Option released in 1994 would make Wong a major star in the Chinese film industry. Playing the role of a police officer, he established a tougher image and the character reappeared in a prequel First Option in 1996. He would reprise the role of Stone Wong in the 2002 movie New Option
Wong starred in a 1996 Canadian TV production Once A Thief directed by John Woo. He would make his English language movie debut in Tsui Hark's Knock Off during 1998. His starring role in Beast Cops which won a 1998 Best Film prize at the Hong Kong film awards further consolidated his position.
Wong made his debut as a director in Miles Apart made in 2000 which he also produced and starred in. He continues to enjoy steady film work even though he has to learn his Chinese lines phonetically.
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