Fung Wang-yuen (22 September 1942 – 4 February 2014), better known by his stage name Wu Ma, was a Hong Kong actor, director, producer and writer. Wu Ma made his screen debut in 1963, and with over 240 appearances to his name (plus 49 directorial credits within a fifty-year period), he was one of the most familiar faces in the history of Hong Kong Cinema and is best known as the Taoist ghosthunter in A Chinese Ghost Story.
22 September 1942
|Died||4 February 2014 (aged 71)|
|Other names||Ng Ma|
|Partner(s)||Agassi Wang (former)|
|Awards||Golden Horse Awards – Best Supporting Actor|
1987 A Chinese Ghost Story
Born Feng Hongyuan in Tianjin, Republic of China. At 16 he moved to Guangzhou and became a machinist before migrating to Hong Kong in 1960. In 1962, Feng enrolled in the Shaw Brothers acting course. Graduating a year later, he became a contract player for the studio and made his first appearance in Lady General Hua Mu-lan. He then appeared in such films as Temple of the Red Lotus (1965), The Knight of Knights (1966) and Trail of the Broken Blade (1967). He took on the stage name 'Wu Ma' as it reflected the animal in the year of his birth (the horse), and believed it was short enough for audiences to remember.
During an interview, Wu explained that he had stumbled upon directing when he was offered an unexpected trip to Japan for a movie. The film's original assistant director was unable to clear his visa in time, and Wu was called upon to take his place. After the experience, Wu decided to become a director.
In 1970, Wu became a director in his own right. His directorial debut, Wrath of the Sword, was released the same year. In 1971, Wu released one of his seminal works, The Deaf And Mute Heroine. He concentrated on directing in the 1970s, directing several movies – such as Young Tiger (1973) and Wits To Wits (1974). Wits To Wits has been noted as one of the precursors of the knockabout comedy kung fu genre that was later made famous by Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. Another movie Wu directed, Manchu Boxer (1974), featured Sammo Hung, then a young choreographer and later one of the trend-setters of Hong Kong cinema. This marked the beginning of a strong working relationship between the two, which would become prominent towards the 1980s. He co-directed with his former mentor Chang in several movies – The Water Margin (1972), The Pirate (1973), All Men Are Brothers (1975) and The Naval Commandos (1976).
While most of his output during this period was as a director, Wu continued to appear as an actor and appeared both in his own movies and in several others, although his roles were generally limited to small appearances. During the mid-1970s, Wu joined a small exodus who were leaving Shaw Brothers due to corruption within the studio and became an independent director. Despite becoming an independent director, Wu was still able to work closely with some Shaw Brothers stars such as Ti Lung (The Massive (1978)).
As the 1970s and the era of the martial arts film mania slowed down albeit very slightly, Wu Ma's output as a director also slowed. His acting output, however, increased as he became increasingly well known as a popular character actor. Wu had made appearances in Sammo Hung's 1970s movies (such as Iron Fisted Monk), his association with Hung began in earnest in the early 1980s. Wu appeared in Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980). Throughout the 1980s, Wu and Hung had a close working relationship, often with Wu as the director and Hung as the producer (such as My Cousin The Ghost (1986)). Wu worked in Hung's production company Bo Ho as the production manager, and made appearances in Hung-directed films during the 1980s, including Millionaire's Express (1986) and Wheels on Meals (1984).
Towards the mid-1980s, Wu became one of the most prolific character actors in Hong Kong, his now-rubbery face able to shift effortlessly across a spectrum of emotions. During the 1980s, he received three Hong Kong Film Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor – for Righting Wrongs (1986), where he played a policeman having to deal with his son's death; the classic A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) as Yin Chek-Ha, which is considered one of the greatest films ever made; and in The Last Eunuch in China (1988), as Lord Ting. He began a working relationship with Tsui Hark, and appeared in several of Hark's movies. Aside from A Chinese Ghost Story, Wu also appeared in the earlier classic Peking Opera Blues (1986).
After A Chinese Ghost Story, said by Wu to be among his most favorite movies, Wu began to focus on the supernatural genre. Much of his directorial efforts after 1987 were within that genre, such as Portrait of a Nymph (1988), Burning Sensation (1989) and Fox Legend (1991).
Wu continued his working relationship with Hark, and appeared in Once Upon A Time in China (1991) and The Swordsman (1991). The early 1990s were an especially prolific period in Wu's career – with Wu appearing in over 14 movies during one year. As the Hong Kong film industry began to slump, Wu's career also slowed considerably. After appearing in High Risk (1995), many of his appearances were either in low-budget movies or in television series.
Wu Ma had a relationship with actress Agassi Wang (王玉環) from the mid-1980s to early 1990s.
Wu was diagnosed with lung cancer and it was announced that the disease started to spread ten months ago. His wife stated that "He had enjoyed every precious minute with his family, which explained that he had casually walked his path with pride and dignity." He died peacefully at his home in Hong Kong on 4 February 2014 at the age of 71.
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Role as actor||Function||Notes|
|1965||Temple of The Red Lotus|
|1969||Return of the One-Armed Swordsman||獨臂刀|
|1971||The Deaf and Mute Heroine||Director|
|1972||The Water Margin||水滸傳|
|1974||Wits To Wits||Director||aka From China With Death and Conman and the Kung Fu Kid|
|1977||The Iron-Fisted Monk||三德和尚与舂米六||Boatman in brothel|
|1978||Showdown at the Cotton Mill||Director|
|1980||By Hook or By Crook|
|1980||Encounters of the Spooky Kind||鬼打鬼|
|1981||Prodigal Son||敗家仔||Iron Palm|
|1983||The Dead and The Deadly||人嚇人||Ma Lun Cheung||Nominated – Hong Kong Film Award for Best Director|
|1983||Project A||A計劃||Mahjong cheat|
|1984||Hong Kong 1941||等待黎明||Liu Yan-mau|
|1984||Hocus Pocus||人嚇鬼||Production Manager|
|1984||Pom Pom||神勇雙響炮||Police station employee|
|1985||Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars||夏日福星||Witch-doctor|
|1985||Mr Vampire||殭屍先生||Rice shop boss|
|1986||Peking Opera Blues||刀馬旦||Mr. Wong|
|1986||Righting Wrongs||執法先鋒||Uncle Tsai||Nominated – Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1987||A Chinese Ghost Story||倩女幽魂||Yin Chek Hsia||Nominated – Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
Won Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1988||Mr Vampire IV|
|1988||Picture of a Nymp|
|1988||Last Eunuch in China||中國最後一個太監||Lord Ting, the head eunuch||Nominated – Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1988||Police Story 2||警察故事續集||Shopping Center Security Guard|
|1990||A Chinese Ghost Story II||倩女幽魂II：人間道||Yin Chek Hsia|
|1990||Story of Kennedy Town||西環的故事||Detective Sergeant Huang|
|1990||Spooky Family||捉鬼合家歡 II – 麻衣傳奇||Ma Yi ancestor Priest|
|1991||The Gambling Ghost|
|1991||The Magnificent Scoundrels||情聖||Fatt|
|1991||The Swordsman||笑傲江湖||Liu Zhengfeng|
|1991||Once Upon a Time in China||黃飛鴻||So|
|1992||The Ghost's Bride||鍾馗嫁妹||Older Brother|
|1992||Painted Skin||畫皮之陰陽法王||Zhang's Senior|
|1993||The Sword Stained with Royal Blood||新碧血劍||Suen Chung-Sau|
|1994||Master of Zen||達摩祖師||Shenguang's master|
|1995||High Risk||鼠胆龍威||Frankie's father|
|1996||Iron Monkey 2||街頭殺手||Jin's father|
|2005||House of Fury||精武家庭||Uncle Chiu|
|2010||Here Comes Fortune|
|2010||Jeet Kune Do|
|2010||14 Blades||錦衣衛||Qiao Yong|
|2011||White Vengeance||鴻門宴||Grand Tutor|
|2011||I Love Hong Kong|
|2011||Legendary Amazons||楊門女將之軍令如山||Imperial Tutor Pang|
|2011||What's Under the Bed|
|2011||Hand in Hand|
|2011||My Own Swordsman|
|2012||If I Were You||变身男女|
|2012||Pen Fairy||畫聖||Won – Shanghai International Film Festival for Best Male Actor|
|2012||The Immemorial Magic|
|2013||Mark of Youth|
|2013||Don't Talk about High – Rich and Handsome|
|2013||A Funny Wedding|
|2014||A Stupid Journey|
|2015||Love Will Be Back||等爱归来|
|2016||Ya Hai Er||哑孩儿|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Role||Notes|
|2003||Diao Man Gong Zhu Xiao Yao Wang||刁蠻公主逍遙王||Tie Wencheng|
|2005||Lost City in Snow Heaven||雪域迷城||Yang An|
|2007||The Legend and the Hero||封神榜之鳳鳴岐山||Shang Rong|
|2007||Sword Stained with Royal Blood||碧血劍||Wen Fangda|
|2008||When East Meets West||東邊西邊|
|2008||Taste of Happiness'||幸福的味道||Mei Lan's grandfather|
|2008||The Qin Empire||大秦帝國||Baili Yao|
|2008||Bing Sheng||兵聖||Yan Ying|
|2010||Journey to the West||西遊記||Elder Jinchi|
|2012||Cong Ming De Kong Kong||聪明小空空||Monk of Black Mountain|
- "Wu Ma (1942–2014)". Film Business Asia. 4 February 2014. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- "揭秘午马生前鲜为人知的浪漫情史(图)". ent.sina.com.cn. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
- "Wu Ma, Best Supporting Actor of A Chinese Ghost Story, dies following lung cancer battle". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 4 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- "Wu Ma profile". imdb.com. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- "Wu Ma profile". chinesemov.com. Retrieved 27 February 2010.