In many ways, Chinese-American actresses Joan Chen and Vivian Wu have similar trajectories in life. They both became movie stars in their native Shanghai, went on to attend college in the U.S. and become American citizens, were shot into fame in Hollywood with The Last Emperor, spent years playing mostly supporting roles in Hollywood, and now have returned to the Chinese entertainment industry, even guest starring together in Ruyi’s Royal Love. Joan Chen recently directed her second Chinese-languge film English 英格力士 , while Vivian Wu recently produced and starred in Dead Pigs 海上浮城, the directorial debut of Cathy Yan ( who is currently directing DC’s Birds of Prey ).
And now, here’s their first cover together in the 30+ years they’ve known each other, as photographed by Feng Hai.
I feel like both of them are overlooked by Hollywood films trying to break into China right now. Both are household names in China, are somewhat known in the West, are amazing actresses, speak perfect English, and are US-based. While I adore Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi, there’s really no reason to cast them over Joan Chen if you’re a Hollywood film trying to pander to China (ex. Mulan, Godzilla)