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the star

Shu Qi is a lucky woman. One of Hong Kong's busiest actresses, the straight-talking Taiwanese sex bomb entered the film business through the back door and gained rapid success, making over 50 movies since her 1996 debut. Starting out not as an actress, but as a nude model; Shu Qi has achieved what few trained, veteran actors have- winning three Hong Kong Film Awards, Taiwan's prestigious Golden Horse Award, and making her international debut in 2002's The Transporter. From showing her cans, to appearing at Cannes, Shu Qi has come a long way.

Hong Kong filmmaker Manfred Wong was the first to discover Shu Qi (real name Lin Li Hui), and cast her in Sex and Zen 2, a graphic Category III picture with Loletta Lee. A borderline autobiographical role as a soft porn star in Derek Yee's Viva Erotica won her two Hong Kong Film Awards in 1996. With Manfred Wong as her manager, she has since worked with distinguished "art-house" directors Ann Hui, Stanley Kwan and
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, appeared in music videos with the likes of Aaron Kwok and Leon Lai, sung onstage with Leslie Cheung, and been seen in advertisements all over Asia.

All this from an actress whose early film roles seemed to mandatorily require nudity. Yet Shu Qi's transition to mainstream fare was as unlikely as it was inevitable. Though her magnetic full lipped sexuality was undeniable, she also has a bubbly, precocious, innocent side to her personality that found its way into her roles. Her part as Jackie Chan's love interest in Gorgeous was a powerful indication of her crossover success. It hadn't been long since her days of simulated screen sex with Tsui Kam Kong and Simon Yam; now she was talking about love to dolphins.

Shu Qi narrowly missed international recognition when she was unable to commit to the schedule of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (her role ended up going to Zhang Ziyi). Her second chance for such exposure has come in the form of Luc-Besson's The Transporter (with Jason Statham), and Corey Yuen's So Close, (with fellow Asian femmes Vicki Zhao Wei and Karen Mok), distributed by Columbia Tristar. -- SimonYam.com

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