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Chen Kun

Chen Kun

Chinese actor and singer
Chen Kun
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Chinese actor and singer
A.K.A. Kun Chen
Is Singer Actor Film actor Television actor
From China
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 4 February 1976, Chongqing, People's Republic of China
Age 44 years
Star sign Aquarius
Chen Kun
The details


Chen Kun (born February 4, 1976), sometimes credited as Aloys Chen, is a Chinese actor and singer. He gained recognition from television dramas Love Story in Shanghai and The Story of a Noble Family and rose to international prominence with the films The Knot and Painted Skin. Chen has won the Hundred Flowers Award's for Best Actor, Huabiao Award for Outstanding Actor, and received a Golden Horse Award nomination for Best Actor.

Chen ranked 68th on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2014, 28th in 2014, 15th in 2017, and 52nd in 2019.


Chen Kun was born in Chongqing. He was raised by his maternal grandmother. His parents divorced soon after Chen's second younger brother was born, and Chen began working part-time in high school to support his mother. He started as a typist at the municipal office and later as a solo singer at night clubs. He showed early talent in singing and was strongly recommended by his vocal trainer and mentor to join the China Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble (now China National Song and Dance Ensemble) at Beijing in 1995. In 1996, he was admitted to the Beijing Film Academy, where he began taking acting classes.

In 2010, Chen established his own agency K Pictures (Dongshen Tonghua). He then set up a series of public charities named "Power to Go", aimed to encourage people to simply go outside and walk, in an effort to improve their health and spirit. The events were held on separate occasions in Qinghai and Tibet. In 2012, he published and co-authored the book Heading East, in the Direction of Peace (往西,宁静的方向), the first in a series of five books promoting the charity program. Chen was crowned as the "Weibo King" at the 2013 Sina Weibo Night for his popularity, influence and philanthropy work on the micro-blogging site. He was also the "Philanthropy King" at the 2014 iQiyi Awards Night.

Chen is also a keen writer, having published and co-authored several books. His first book Suddenly Walked to Tibet (突然就走到了西藏) was published in 2011, and contains a collection of autobiographical essays. It was a huge commercial success, and Chen became the first and only actor to make it on to China's Writers Rich List. In 2014, he also published Strange Aquarius (鬼水瓶录), a short-story collection that takes inspiration from his Weibo posts and life story.

Although he is not married, Chen has one son born in 2002 named Youyou. Chen does not intend to reveal the identity of Youyou's mother.


1999–2004: Debut and rising popularity

Chen debuted in the 1999 film The National Anthem. He rose to prominence with the 2001 television drama Love in Shanghai. His role as a poor clock repairer who manages to get through to a girl from a wealthy family suffering from infantile autism, made him an audience favorite.

Chen gained more international recognition in 2002, after starring in Franco-Chinese romance film Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. The film was nominated at the Golden Globe Awards for Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

He then starred in the Republican series The Story of a Noble Family (2003), adapted from the novel of the same name by Zhang Henshui. The series was a commercial success, and recorded the highest ratings of the year. The role of Jin Yanxi became his most prolific work in his earlier years.

2005–2016: Films and acclaim

Chen then starred in A West Lake Moment (2005), playing a love-seeking and idealistic young man who is not easily satisfied. He was nominated as Best Actor for his performance at the Golden Horse Awards. He next starred in The Music Box (2006), which earned him the Best Actor accolade at the Shanghai Film Critics Awards for capturing his screen character's years of arduous life and as well as his struggles and joys.

Chen rose to international prominence with The Knot (2007). He described the role as a "big challenge" to him, as he had to portray the maturing process of his character over 20 years. The film was a huge success and garnered 8 nominations at the 16th Golden Rooster Awards, including Best Actor for Chen. He also won Best Actor at the 2007 Huabiao Film Awards. He next starred in Gordon Chan's horror-adventure film Painted Skin (2008), which won him the Best Actor award at the Hundred Flowers Awards.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Chen participated in the patriotic tribute The Founding of a Republic (2009). He played Chiang Ching-kuo, and was praised by the media and critics alike for his excellent portrayal of a passionate nationalist who was unable to prevent the fall of his party. He then played his first antagonist role in Jiang Wen's gangster film Let the Bullets Fly (2010).

Chen starred in wuxia film Flying Swords of Dragon Gate directed by Tsui Hark in 2011. His dynamic portrayal of two distinct characters; the cold and cruel Yu Huatian and the witty and humorous Feng Lidao, won him Best Actor nominations at the Asian Film Awards and Hundred Flowers Awards. The dual roles marked a turning point in Chen's popularity and acting career, and has become one of his most representative works to date.

Chen played the role of Qian Xuesen in the biopic of the author released in 2012. He received critical acclaim for his capturing his character's growth from young to old, and was awarded the Best Actor award at the Shanghai Film Critics Awards for the second time. The same year, he starred in Painted Skin: The Resurrection, the sequel to Painted Skin. The film grossed over 700 million yuan ($109.8 million), becoming the highest-grossing Chinese-language movie of all time then.

Chen then starred in Bends, which was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Chen won the Best Actor award at the 2013 International du Film de Femmes de Sale held in Morocco.

Chen starred in fantasy epics in 2015; Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal as well as Mojin: The Lost Legend where he played Hu Bayi, the main character of the popular tomb-raiding novel series. Mojin was a huge commercial success, breaking the box office record for a local language IMAX film in China.

In 2016, Chen starred alongside Bai Baihe in crime caper film Chongqing Hot Pot. The film received acclaim and positive word-of-mouth, grossing 152 million yuan in four days. He also made a special appearance in the romantic comedy Beautiful Accident opposite his Rest on Your Shoulder co-star Gwei Lun-mei. The same year, Chen co-produced and starred in his first television variety Twenty Four Hours. The first episode was broadcast on January 21 on Zhejiang Television and ranked first in ratings.

2017–present: Return to television

In 2018, Chen starred in republican spy drama Lost in 1949 as twin brothers, and historical period drama The Rise of Phoenixes as a calculating and ambitious royal prince. These two dramas are co-produced by Chen himself, and also mark his return to the small screen after a decade.

Chen is set to star in the wuxia film The Weary Poet, and fantasy film Shi Shen Ling, adapted from Ohmyoji game.


Apart from acting, Chen is also an established singer. He frequently performs theme songs for his television series and has released three full-length studio albums. Chen made his debut as a singer in 2004 with the album Osmosis. He then released his second album Make It Come True Again, won him Most Popular Male Vocalist at the MTV Asia Awards. To support his third album Mystery&Me, he held his first solo concert in Beijing in February 2010. He wrote the lyrics to the single "Power to Go", which he released for a philanthropy program to advocate environmental awareness and protection.



Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
1999 The National Anthem 国歌 Nie Er
2002 Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress 巴尔扎克和小裁缝 Luo Ming
2003 Kung Fu Girls 中国功夫少女组 Tang Zheng Special appearance
2004 Baober in Love 恋爱中的宝贝 Mao Mao Guest appearance
2005 A West Lake Moment 鸳鸯蝴蝶 Ah Qin
2006 The Music Box 理发师 Lu Ping
The Knot 云水谣 Chen Qiushui
2007 The Door Jiang Zhongtian
2008 Playboy Cops 花花型警 Lincoln Lin
Painted Skin 画皮 Wang Sheng
2009 Mulan 花木兰 Wentai
The Founding of a Republic 建国大业 Chiang Ching-kuo
2010 My Ex-wife's Wedding 跟我的前妻谈恋爱 Ma Yong
Let the Bullets Fly 让子弹飞 Hu Wan
2011 The Founding of a Party 建党伟业 Zhou Enlai
Rest on Your Shoulder 肩上蝶 Yan Guo
Love on Credit 幸福额度 Zhang Quan co-producer
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 龙门飞甲 Yu Huatian / Wind Blade (Feng Li Dao)
2012 Qian Xuesen 钱学森 Qian Xuesen
Painted Skin: The Resurrection 画皮II General Huo Xin
2013 Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 狄仁杰之神都龙王 Wang Bo Guest appearance
2014 Bends 过界男女 Huang Zihui
2015 Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal 钟馗伏魔:雪妖魔灵2 Zhong Kui
Mojin: The Lost Legend 寻龙诀 Hu Bayi
2016 Chongqing Hot Pot 火锅英雄 Liu Bo
2017 Beautiful Accident 美好的意外 Zhang Tao Special appearance, co-producer
TBA The Weary Poet 诗眼倦天涯 Ye Motian
Shi Shen Ling 侍神令 Qing Ming
Fengshen Trilogy 封神三部曲 Yuanshi Reverend

Television series

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2001 Love Story in Shanghai 像雾像雨又像风 Chen Zikun
Pink Ladies 粉红女郎 Romeo Guest appearance
Traveller Story 旅人的故事 Fang
Love in Sunshine 爱在阳光灿烂时 Ouyang Jun
2002 Only You 非你不可 Ke Lei
The Noble Family 买办之家 Yu Zikun Guest appearance
2003 The Story of a Noble Family 金粉世家 Jin Yanxi
Farewell Vancouver 别了,温哥华 Luo Yi
Red Carpet, Black Dream 红色地毯黑色梦 Lan Hao
双响炮 Xu Heng Guest appearance
2004 名扬花鼓 Mingyang
Chinese Story 中国故事 Xiaodong segment: Brother's Story (哥们的故事)
Yearning of the Sword 长剑相思 Yan Zhuiyun
2005 True Love on Earth 天地真情 Lin Shijie Guest appearance
Eager for True Love 渴望真爱 Hu An segment: Absolute Privacy (绝对隐私)
风雨西关 Liang Jinkun
Hero of the Year 好想好想谈恋爱 Lu Kun Guest appearance
2006 The Conquest 争霸传奇 Fan Li
2007 朱家花园 Li Bowen
2008 情证今生 Zhou Hao
C'est La Vie, Mon Chéri 新不了情 Cheung Siu-kit
Remembrance of Dreams Past 故梦 Lu Tian'en
2018 Lost in 1949 脱身 Qiao Zhicai / Qiao Lijie co-producer
The Rise of Phoenixes 天盛长歌 Ning Yi co-producer


Year English title Chinese title Notes
2004 Osmosis 渗透 EP
2006 Make It Come True Again 再一次实现
2009 Mystery & Me 谜ME
Year English title Chinese title Album Notes
2005 "Forgetting" 忘却 Feng Yu Xi Guan OST
2006 "Conquest" 争霸 The Conquest OST
"It's Really Forever" 真永远
2007 "Always Together, Never Leaving" 相随相依永不分离 Zhu Jia Hua Yuan OST
2008 "Beijing Welcomes You" 北京欢迎你 N/A 2008 Summer Olympics theme song
2011 "Power to Go" N/A N/A Power to Go theme song
"Promise of Love" 幸福宣言 Love on Credit OST
2016 "Looking for the Dragon Spell" 寻龙诀 Mojin: The Lost Legend OST


Endorsements and Ambassadorship

Chen Kun at Baume et Mercier event in Beijing (October 12, 2016).

Chen was appointed as one of the goodwill ambassadors for China-ROK Exchange Year in 2007. He was also appointed as UNICEF Ambassador for China.

In 2012, Chen became the second Chinese male celebrity to have a wax figure of himself displayed at Madam Tussaud in Shanghai.

In 2014, he became the product ambassador of Huawei's Honor brand in China.

In 2015, Chen became the global ambassador of Giorgio Armani and luxury watch brand Baume et Mercier.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 07 Feb 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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