HBO has released the official trailer and key art for the original documentary AKA MR. CHOW, directed by Nick Hooker (HBO’s “AgnelIi”), produced by Academy Award®-nominated Diane Quon (“Minding The Gap”), executive produced, written, and edited by Emmy®-winning editor Jean Tsien (HBO’s “The Apollo,” “76 Days”), and executive produced by Emmy®-nominated Graydon Carter and Annabelle Dunne (HBO’s “Everything Is Copy”). The film debuts SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on Max.
Synopsis: AKA MR. CHOW details the vibrant and varied life of Michael Chow. Born Zhou Yinghua in 1930s Shanghai, he would use creativity to triumph over childhood trauma, personal loss, and systemic prejudice, growing up to become the actor and artist before inventing a new identity, Mr. Chow, when he opens the first of his iconic restaurants. Having found fame and fortune in the West, Mr. Chow celebrates his Chinese roots and finds catharsis by returning to painting, reemerging as the artist M.
In an intimate, spirited, and no-holds-barred interview, Michael Chow unveils the irrepressible spirit and personal philosophy that led him to counter the hardships of his early life. By single-handedly building a business empire in the 1960s and 1970s with his restaurants, he showcased the richness and opulence of Chinese food and culture and by capturing the cultural zeitgeist, they became dazzling hubs for the most celebrated artists, film stars, musicians, designers, and models of the times.
The film takes us back to his deeply personal journey, as the son of a renowned Beijing Opera grand master grappling with the profound sense of loss emanating from the early separation from his parents and home as he is sent to England at the age of 13. This familial and cultural longing informs everything from his work and personal life to his insatiable desire for success.
With clips from his past work, colorful archival footage, expansive animation, and photographs of the bold-faced names who would frequent his dining spots, AKA MR. CHOW reveals a man of extreme creativity and vitality, a champion of artists whose portraits blanket his walls, and a true showman once again redefining himself in the self-titled “fifth act” of his life.
A.K.A MR. CHOW Trailer
Featured Participants: Alongside images of celebrities as varied as Mae West, Calvin Klein, and Andy Warhol, the documentary includes interviews with artists Peter Blake, Julian Schnabel, and Ed Ruscha; family members Cecilia Zhou, Maximillian Chow, China Chow, and Vanessa Chow; author Fran Lebowitz; film producer Brian Grazer; friends, colleagues, and art world experts.
Credits: HBO Documentary Films presents a Pulse Films Production AKA MR. CHOW. Directed by Nick Hooker; produced by Diane Quon; Edited and Written by Jean Tsien; executive produced by Graydon Carter, Annabelle Dunne, Jean Tsien. For Pulse Films: executive producers, Marisa Clifford, Miranda Soto. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Sara Rodriguez.