Hong Kong-based screen star Tony Kar-Fai Leung (also occasionally translated as "Kar-Fai Leung,") quickly evolved into one of the most bankable and popular leading men in his native country with a remarkable ability to effortlessly segue between genres. Born in the late '50s, Leung grew up as the son of a movie projectionist and thus fell in love with cinema almost by default. As a young man, he received formal dramatic training at Hong Kong's TVB Actors' School, then founded an arts and culture magazine with a group of friends and stepped in front of the cameras courtesy of his debut role in Chinese director Li Han-hsiang's production Burning of the Imperial Palace (1983). Following a rough period that witnessed Leung being blacklisted by Taiwanese distributors for political reasons, he returned with a vengeance in 1987 with a pivotal role in the Ringo Lam-directed, Chow Yun-Fat-headlined action thriller Prison on Fire (1987). This marked the beginning of a prolific period for Kar-Fai, one that found him collaborating with five-star international directors including Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Lover, 1992), Wong Kar-Wai (Ashes of Time, 1994), and Fruit Chan (Three…Extremes, (2004)). With 1986's The Last Emperor (not to be confused with the 1987 Bertolucci production of the same name), Kar-Fai Leung and director Li Han-hsiang teamed up for a second occasion.
Kar-Fai Leung is not to be confused with the similarly named actors Tony Siu-hung Leung, Tony Tung-Lei Leung, or Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, who all worked during roughly the same period of time. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi