Stephen Tung Wai was born in Shanghai in 1958 and was moved to Hong Kong by his family at age four. He studied Peking Opera during childhood at Spring and Autumn Drama School under famed opera teacher Fen Ju-hua for eleven years while also learning -- and subsequently specializing in -- Northern School martial arts and Wing Chun. Tung joined the film industry in 1965 as a child actor, appearing in the Mandarin film Squadron 77, directed by popular actor Yen Chun. He began working as a martial arts specialist and frequently doubled for actresses, later working in Taiwan, where he soon became martial arts choreographer. Tung returned to Hong Kong in 1981, signed by TVB to an actor’s contract and gaining audience support and critical notice playing the legendary kung-fu artist Fong Sai-Yuk in a popular series. Producers Yau Ka-hung and Lee Ting-lun subsequently cast Tung in leading roles in several programs. He left TVB in 1984 to work as action choreographer in film, making only occasional cameo appearances.
In 1989, Tung formed Millifame Productions with fellow action choreographer and actor Lam Ching-ying, which produced Magic Cop (1990), Tung’s directorial debut. Tung went on to direct several action films, such as Fox Hunter (1995), Hitman (1998) and Extreme Challenge (2001). He has been nominated a total of ten times for Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards and won four times -- for Downtown Torpedoes (1997), Purple Storm (1999), The Accidental Spy (2001, working with the Jackie Chan Stunt Team) and Bodyguards and Assassins (2009).
In recent years, Tung has been working mostly in Mainland China, having participated in productions such as Seven Swords (2005), The Promise (2005), Painted Skin (2008), Reign Of Assassins (2010), Painted Skin:The Resurrection (2012), The Great Magician (2012) and Saving General Yang (2013). The Beast Stalker (2008), which won seven Best Actor prizes in different award events for star Nick Cheung, was choreographed by Tung (with car stunts designed by Bruce Law). Tung’s latest work as action choreographer is White Haired Witch (2014).
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