Why Fala Chen Chose to Study in New York

In 2014, Fala Chen (陳法拉) left behind her life and career in Hong Kong to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts at The Juilliard School, a prestigious  performing arts conservatory in New York City. After graduating, she signed with United Talent Agency and auditioning for roles. She has been developing her career in Hollywood and it seems to be going well so far.

Fala had a role opposite Nicole Kidman in HBO miniseries The Undoing, and though she did not have a lot of screen time, it was a chance to work with an esteemed cast and crew. The 38-year-old can be seen next in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as Jiang Li.

When she is not busy filming for Hollywood, Fala often returns to Hong Kong to film commercials. Recently, she accepted an interview and shared the reason for travelling to New York to pursue her masters. “At the time, there was Juilliard and two other schools for me to choose from. I felt that New York was the best choice, because I could watch and learn from many acclaimed teachers as well. There was also the opportunity to watch many musicals and comedies to help me relax.”

Source: HK01

This article is written by Su for JayneStars.com.

Fala Chen’s Role in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Fala Chen Auditions for Roles in Hollywood Like a Newcomer

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  1. I haven’t seen any of her recent work… notably the new series with Nicole Kidman. But I have never been fond of her acting as I’ve always found her stiff. And her Cantonese annoys the crap out of me. It’s always a bit nasally and she always sounds like she has her tongue pushed against the back of her teeth when she speaks. I would be surprised if her acting ability has improved significantly through her training. Undoubtedly, schooling helps. But acting like singing is not a science. Much of it is dependent on natural talent. She may have the heart and passion for the craft, but I have always felt she lacked the talent.

    1. @gnomageddon well said! I feel the same about Fala and like you, I always believe acting is an art. You either have it or you don’t. Acting schools enhance and bring out the inner talent, it cannot create something out of nothing.

    2. @gnomageddon

      Couldn’t agree more! It was terribly painful to watch her in Triumph in the Skies 2. Not sure Juliard (not matter how prestigious) would help.

      1. @aidenchan
        We all know Fala was terrible in Triumph in the skies although can tell she tried her best. It was a playful character which was a total opposite of herself. She agreed that her performance which was the main reason why she seeked to study. She deserved credit for that because there are plenty over the years who have performed terrible but continued acting series after series mopping up the money coming their way…

    3. @gnomageddon
      There are only a rare handful of actor/actresses in HK where we can probably say are naturally talented and even then we can’t ignore the amount of time they spent practicing this obsession from a young age prior to entering the industry (Tony Leung, Stephen Chow). Otherwise almost everyone else have improved through school or experience….

  2. If Fala didn’t choose to go to Juliard, she wouldn’t have much of a career outside of tvb. Her acting as Holiday was trash when she left the station. She had no recognition in the mainland industry and her work in HK film was thin.

    Regardless of whether she can act or not after attending Juliard, career-wise, you can make an argument that she’s achieved the most out of any actor that came out of tvb in the last 20 years. Her getting a role in The Undoing and her role in a Marvel project cemented her status. She deserves commendment and praises for that. She’s done extremely well for herself up to this point. She has achieved high accomplishments than any recent tvb actor/actress has achieved. Even if you compare her to other Chinese mainland artists, she ranks right up there with fan binging (Hollywood accomplishments).

    As for the way she speaks, Cantonese is not her native tongue. She’s from Sichuan, Mandarin is her native tongue. Her english sounds better and is more fluent than her Cantonese so I don’t think it’s fair to pin that against her. If anything she deserves even more praise for being a former leading tvb actress with terrible Cantonese. 😉

    1. @anon
      it’s funny how you said her english is better b/c i recall others on the forum said otherwise.

      1. @m0m0 and honestly I could careless about what other people say in the forum.. Make your own judgment.. That’s why each one of us have our own brain.

  3. I think its laughable there are people out there that believes Fala made it big by appearing it Hollywood movie and to rank her with fan bingbing is an insult. Fan was forgettable in the movies she were in and she’s an international star. Fala does not even have a fanbase in the US wasn’t she even popular back in HK/China.

    Chinese mainland/TVB artists already established their fan base because of their acting and popularity, hence they don’t need an acting school to bring them to the next level.

    1. @sol365
      Comparing both Fala and Fan Bing Bing’s Hollywood careers, they are in the same discussion.

      I never said they are comparable back home.

      FBB is not an international star..lol..just like Fala, aside from the Chinese community and those that watch cdrama, most people do not know FBB.

      I think your comment is as laughable as well. To each their own.

    2. @sol365
      Fan Bing Bing is unknown outside of China. That makes her ‘not’ an international star. You might feel she is a huge star because of the size of china. That is not an excuse for calling her an international star though….

  4. Julliard School has opened doors for her, as she has more contacts in Hollywood now and access to casting agents and producers…
    She’s done The Undoing and now Marvel,
    These are stepping stones to other roles, problem is age, Fala is approaching 40 and not many good roles for women in this age bracket , let alone Asian actresses

  5. You know, I never liked watching Fala on TVB for many of the same reasons people are listing: poor Cantonese, poor acting (especially in that “Triumph in the Skies” role… so painful). I also never found her particularly beautiful.

    That being said, I admire her moxie for going to school, taking a longer road to try to lengthen and improve her career. She had the money, and she put in the time. Yes, acting is a talent, but how many times have newbies been criticized on this very site for being cast into roles that they cannot play? Acting classes and voice lessons could arguably make many TVB series a lot more palatable.

    If she loves acting, then she can’t be faulted for trying to make the most of it. She could have stayed in HK and made decent money for the rest of her life. She acted on her ambition, and for that reason I hope to see her achieve some success despite everything that seems against her.

  6. I actually find her very pretty (I am female by the way!). Especially her smile. It’s awesome. But I agree that her Holiday role was kind of annoying. I can’t recall the specific details but remember that it was annoying.

  7. Reason she got casted because she is a WMAF. This is Hollywood’s playbook. They’ll go out of their ways to promote and endorse WMAF relationships

  8. I watched the Undoing and it was 20 seconds of horrible english (it doesn’t even deserve the capital E) I am never going to get back in my life.. and 20 secs is all the time she had across all six episodes.
    I remember distinctively thinking I’d rather hear Angelababy in this (yes, that’s how bad it was).
    The problem was, I just could not get over the TVB Fala factor – she really stood out in Undoing, and not in a good way.
    IMHO as a westerner, this is the key difference that will make or break first time Chinese crossover performers – Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat etc. as good comparisons.
    If she has actual lines in Shang-Chi, then I don’t know what anyone was thinking.

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