Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (Chinese: 張曼玉) (born 20 September 1964) is a Hong Kong former actress. Raised in Hong Kong and Britain, she started her career after placing second in 1983's Miss Hong Kong Pageant. She achieved critical success in the late 1980s and into the early 2000s, before taking a break from acting following her last starring role in 2004. She rarely makes public appearances except for fashion events and award ceremonies.
- If a film does well, other people want to work with you.
- Many people have the misconception that a pretty girl can only be a ‘vase’ in a film. I want people to consider me not just to be a film star, but someone who knows about acting.
- I have done all kinds of scripts, but I prefer working on dramas. They give me room to really act. Comedies are fun to work on, but I don’t get much satisfaction from them.
- Comedies are written for men, and the women just stand around. But I do like the audience reaction to comedies. When they laugh, I feel good. You don’t get that sort of pleasure from making dramas.
- I have nothing against commercial films, but if you’re in a movie, [and] you feel the script and everything else about it has no meaning – it’s just another production that the boss can add to his list – I don’t think you should do it.
- My first dream was to be a hairdresser, then a model.
- I’m very honest to my work, to myself and my audience. I never pretend I am something I am not. And when I play a part, I always give it as much as I can. That’s honesty too. I’m proud of being me.
- Well I don't think any two different people can be compared, because for me as you see on my list I've worked with so many different kinds of directors, that I never try to compare two people. I think they are individuals, and because of their upbringing and background they become the way they are and it also affects what they want to say in a movie, I think that's the interesting part, to see the differences in them.
- I mean for me, sometimes I can just picture things that I can't explain, and I think a snake just sort of wriggles along the way.
- No matter where I'm going, I feel like I'm leaving something behind. Every time I get on a plane, I cry. The flight attendants on Cathay Pacific must think I'm mad.
- You experience a lot more pain than normal people -- your mom dies, your dad dies, your boyfriend chucks you, you live in the street, and you're really going through these emotions. You're trying to know what it feels like to watch a man die in front of you, as if you've really lived it. Once that division is gone, it gets blurry -- you look back at a shoot and think, was I really that sad because in the film my boyfriend didn't like me -- or was it something else, something real?
- We were in Los Angeles. And we could go anywhere. No one had any idea who I was.
- I think I started to have thoughts to really want to be serious about my work when I was about twenty five and I just kind of started to look into that direction and moved into it. But it didn't seem as though it was going anywhere because, you know, films without action or comedy are rare to find in Hong Kong, especially if the main character is a woman. But along the way, I've had a few good breaks.
- Well first of all, in Hong Kong, I think they're still interested in the action films and I think in some ways in action films we still do it better than the Americans. I think that's the first interest that people have still on Hong Kong movies and, you know, the world is smaller now and it's time to open your eyes to other things.
- I have no regrets as an actress, even though I have been one for 15 years and don't think that all the films I've done are that good.
- I like the idea of writing and directing something. That would be my goal in life. But that would not be in the near future. I would have to write and direct at the same time because I don't think anyone could give me a script that I would want to direct.
- To be honest, I really think a lot of Hong Kong actors/actresses aren't interested in European movies.
- I used to be an actress. After being away from film sets for 12 years, I no longer deserve to be called an actress!
About Maggie Cheung
- Yet “Maggie” (as her fans affectionately call her) stands out against western clichés about Chinese actresses. No Orientalist fantasy, she is a modern Hong Kong woman, a complex mirror image of post-colonial dilemmas: displacement, racist misrepresentation and partial loss of cultural identity (she speaks English better than she can read Chinese characters). Unlike such mainland stars as Gong Li and Siqin Gaowa, she has never formally trained as an actress and her acting depends more on emotion than technique.
- Bérénice Reynaud, "“I'm proud of being me”: Maggie Cheung, from As Tears Go By to Irma Vep" in British Film Institute (2022)
- At that time, she didn’t have much ambition for her acting career, because of the kind of roles she was offered. I noticed that, if given a lot of dialogue, she would become very nervous; then I cut most of her lines, so she could concentrate on her body language, which is something she was very good at.