These are the Hong Kong heartthrobs that we fell head over heels for during our youth (and beyond). Who stole your heart?
The 852 is home to plenty of legendary Hong Kong icons and has played background to many Cantonese horror movies and Hong Kong movies (check out these classic Hong Kong film locations!) Here, we take a look back in time at these popular Hong Kong heartthrobs that graced the covers of magazines, made appearances on our television and movies screens, and were featured on our bedroom walls.
Hong Kong heartthrobs that you planned your imaginary wedding with…
1. Daniel Wu
Who could ever forget Daniel Wu? Sure, he’s moved onto bigger and better things like the Tomb Raider (2018) remake and was starring in his own television series, Into the Badlands (2015-19), but to us humble Hongkongers, we’ll always remember him best for his performance in One Nite in Mongkok (2004) where he played a pure and kind assassin. Despite not being able to speak Cantonese in the beginning of his career, he rose to prominence in the early 2000s for his acting roles in triad-themed films and Hong Kong action movies.
2. Chow Yun-fat
Women love him. Men love him. Teenagers love him. Children love him. Chow Yun Fat is an actor that has always been adored by the masses, and has to be included on our list of Hong Kong heartthrobs for it to have any legitimacy. The actor dominated Asian box offices with his movie A Better Tomorrow (1986) in the 80s and to this day, has remained an admirable, charismatic, and relatable figure in the 852.
3. Edison Chen Koon-hei
For those who were around in the 2000s, you’ll be well aware of who Edison Chen is and was – the young, upcoming superstar Hong Kong heartthrob that acted and sang his way into the hearts of many young female fans, and rocked the Asian entertainment industry with one of the biggest sex scandals in 2008 (oof). Since his heartthrob days, Chen has shied away from the spotlight and is now working as the CEO of his own clothing brand CLOT. He’s also settled down with his long-term partner, Victoria’s Secret model, Shu Pei, whom he shares a daughter with.
4. Stephen Fung Tak-lun
Married to Taiwanese model and actress, Shu Qi, who he met on set while filming the ill-fated gay romance movie, Bishonen (1998), Stephen Fung is a Hong Kong actor, singer, writer, and director. His good looks, charm, and charisma on screen had us watching and re-watching his movies time and time again. Good friends since their Bishonen days, Fung worked with Daniel Wu on AMC’s Into the Badlands as an executive producer and director.
5. Nicholas Tse Ting-fung
Son of prominent Hong Kong actor Patrick Tse Yin, Nicholas Tse began his career in the entertainment world as a singer, achieving mainstream success just a year in with multiple songs topping the charts. His Cantopop love songs had us imaging ourselves as the female lead in his MVs while dancing and singing in our bedrooms. Tse is also recognised for his acting roles including Young and Dangerous: The Prequel (1998) and Gen-X Cops (1999). Tse has since become a father sharing two sons with Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung, and from 2014 has been dating Hong Kong icon Faye Wong.
6. Ekin Cheng
Ekin Cheng broke onto the Hong Kong entertainment scene in the early 90s with his leading role as Ho Nam in the Young and Dangerous Series. The renowned six-sequel movie series explored the realities of young men who chose to live the triad life. He was considered the ultimate rebel in his heyday and, honestly, who could resist the allure of reforming a bad boy? Parallel to his acting, Cheng also had a successful music career, having toured China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Canada.
7. Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing
Considered one of the very first Hong Kong heartthrobs, Leslie Cheung was a renowned singer and actor in the 852. He is still celebrated as having led the charge for the popularity of Cantopop in Asia in the 80s and 90s; even after his untimely and tragic death in 2003, he was recognised by CNN as the Most Beautiful Man from Hong Kong Cinema in 2010. Cheung is also regarded as a gay icon for his portrayals of homosexual characters and for his androgynous fashion choices. Leslie, we miss you!
8. Takeshi Kaneshiro
Yes, we know Takeshi Kaneshiro’s not technically from Hong Kong… But his appearances in classic Hong Kong movies like Chungking Express (1994) and Fallen Angels (1995) are simply iconic and he was just so, so pretty…! A Taiwanese-Japanese actor who originally entered the entertainment world as a singer before moving towards more acting work, Takeshi Kaneshiro is most known to Western audiences for his lead role in House of Flying Daggers (2004).