Life and career
1979–2006: Early life and beginnings
Tang was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China to Wenzhounese parents. She is the only child of a former stage actress and painter. In an interview, she explained that she often traveled around China and learned to paint, adding that she was influenced by her parents. Tang graduated from a local vocational high school in her hometown in 1996, where her teachers described her as "athletic" and a "good student who always did her homework". She had no plans to become famous; she originally aspired to become an archaeologist or lawyer. Tang made the decision to enter the entertainment industry after doing some modeling in 1997. She graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in 2002.
Tang met Zhu Yuchen in 1995. A Shanghai native, both were majoring in drama and acting. By 1998, the couple had moved in together while continuing to receive university education. They officially split in 2002, a few weeks before Zhu and Tang obtained degrees at the acting school, and Tang was reported to be distraught and crying upon witnessing their graduation ceremony.
Shortly after her university graduation, Tang met Stan Lai during one of his trips to China. He was impressed by the actress, and was quoted as saying, "The number of stars may not be good actors, a lot of good actors may not be good stars, but Tang Wei was fortunate to have done it." He proceeded to recommend her to several directors and was thus cast in more roles, although she was relatively unknown outside her hometown in China at this time. Nonetheless, Tang starred in a TV series, Policewoman Swallow (2004) and a brief university drama, Che Guevara (2004). After working with a more diverse group of actresses, she also appeared in TV dramas Leaving Seafront Street (2005), East Meets West (2005) and Born in the 60s (2006).
2006–08: Lust, Caution
In July 2006, Tang was selected from more than 10,000 actresses to appear in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution (2007) as Wong Chia Chi, co-starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Joan Chen, and Leehom Wang. She learned both Shanghainese and the related Suzhou dialect during that time, and was trained in a more formal style of dressing and acting. Tang won the Best New Performer Golden Horse award. Tang was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award, and was present at the ceremony in Santa Monica, California in February 2008. She received wider fame throughout and beyond China after this role. In March 2008, China's State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) ordered a media ban due to Tang's performance of sexual acts in Lust, Caution. Because of the controversy instigated by the statement, this was followed by discontinuing most of Tang's forthcoming TV commercials to endorse various snack foods and cosmetics.
She ended a three-year relationship with Tian Yu (田羽) in December 2007. She would not reveal further details or reasons for the split, but stated, "Tian Yu is important to me, and for years, he was the person who treated me the best. He always cared about and helped me quietly. Without him, I definitely would not have played a role in Lust, Caution, and wouldn't have the success I've made today. I will always feel grateful to him." Following the success of Lust, Caution, Tang obtained residency in Hong Kong.
A play director named Stan Lai, who was her professor at Central Academy for Drama, and also a friend of Ang Lee recommended her to him.
2009–present: Late Autumn, Crossing Hennessey and Finding Mr. Right
She was set to star in Tian Zhuangzhuang's budget period film The Warrior and the Wolf (2009), but was replaced by Maggie Q. In February 2009, during her absence from the movie industry, she was reported to have briefly attended drama classes at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
From November 2009 to March 2010, Tang filmed with Hyun Bin in Late Autumn (2010), directed by Kim Tae-yong.Late Autumn was shot in Seattle, Washington. In Crossing Hennessy (2010), a romantic drama, with Jacky Cheung, Tang plays the orphaned Oi Lin who falls for the troubled Xu. Her uncle proceeds to attempt to avert the attraction to another man, and succeeds as the plan ends in marriage. She learned Cantonese during this time, and was reported to be very capable despite the limited filming time and her role in the movie. Tang's first film to be shown in China since Lust, Caution, a March 2010 news article quoted her as saying, "Coming to Hong Kong for this premiere, I can see director Ivy and co-star Andy On again. I've been very happy. Now I'm just excited to see the movie. I will be happy if everyone can see my work."
In 2011, Tang returned to mainstream cinema with two major films, Speed Angels and Dragon. Although the former was not a box office success, Dragon was a hit at the Chinese box office.
In 2013, Tang had her biggest commercial success when she starred opposite actor Wu Xiubo in the Xue Xiaolu directed romantic comedy Finding Mr. Right, which garnered her high praise from reviewers and was a runaway success at the box office. Shanghai newspaper, City Weekend wrote, "The most compelling element of the movie however, is still Tang Wei herself. It is a testament to her on-screen charisma that such a shrill, materialistic and generally awful character can have the audience rooting for her. After being temporarily banned from Chinese cinema for her controversial debut, Tang proves that she is one of the most promising young actresses the PRC has available. Let’s hope that the local filmmakers realize they have found Mrs. Right."
On July 12, 2014, Tang married South Korean film director Kim Tae-yong in the front yard of the home of film legend Ingmar Bergman on the remote Swedish island of Fårö; a formal wedding ceremony was later held in Hong Kong, with only immediate family members as guests. The couple met in 2009 when Kim directed her in the romantic drama Late Autumn.
|2004||Che Guevara||Yang Ting|
|Silent Tears||Shang Li|
|2007||Lust, Caution||Wang Chia-chi||Chopard Trophy (Cannes Film Festival)
New Weekly Cutting Edge Awards List
Chinese Film Award for Best Actress
Los Angeles Magazine Award for Best Actress
Asian Pacific Film and TV Expo for Best Actress
Hollywood Awards for Best Actress and Variety
Venice Film Festival for Best New Actress
Golden Horse Awards for Best New Performer
Nominated - Asian Film Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Rising Star Award, BAFTA
Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Awards for Most Promising Performer
Nominated - Golden Horse Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
Nominated - Online Film Critics Society Awards for Breakthrough Performer
|2010||Crossing Hennessy||Oi-lin||Chinese Film Media Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Golden Horse Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress
|Late Autumn||Anna||Baeksang Arts Awards for Best Actress
Korean Association of Film Critics Awards for Best Actress
Busan Film Critics Awards for Best Actress
KOFRA Film Awards for Best Actress
Nominated - Blue Dragon Film Awards for Best Actress
|2011||The Founding of a Party||Tao Yi||(Scenes Removed before Release)|
|Speed Angels||Hong Xiaoyi|
|2013||Finding Mr. Right||JiaJia||Nominated - Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress|
|2014||The Golden Era||Xiao Hong|
|A Tale of Three Cities|
|2016||Finding Mr. Right sequel||JiaJia||Filming|
- 2006 - CCTV Movie Channel Award, Outstanding Digital Movie Actress: Policeman Swallow
- 2007 - Golden Horse Awards, Best New Performer: Lust, Caution
- 2007 - New Weekly Cutting Edge Awards List: Lust, Caution
- 2007 - Chinese Film Media Award, Best Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2007 - Los Angeles Magazine Award, Best Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2007 - Asian Pacific Film and TV Expo, Best Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2007 - Hollywood Awards, Best Actress and Variety: Lust, Caution
- 2007 - Venice Film Festival, Best New Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2011 - Baeksang Arts Awards, Best Actress: Late Autumn
- 2011 - Busan Film Critics Awards, Best Actress: Late Autumn
- 2011 - , Best Actress: Crossing Hennessy
- 2007 - Golden Horse Awards, Best Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2008 - Independent Spirit Awards, Best Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2008 - Chopard Trophy Award, Best Actress: Lust, Caution
- 2010 - Golden Horse Awards, Best Actress: Crossing Hennessy
- 2004 - Miss Universe China finalist
- 2007 - Top Chinese fashion figure
- 2007 - New York Times listed her as one of the Best 15 Performers in 2007
- 2008 - The Annual Independent Critics List #59 of 2008 World's Most Beautiful People
- 2008 - Forbes ranked her 18th on the China Celebrity 100 list
- 2008 - Japanese magazine Cut placed her in the Top 50 Best Active Celebrities
- 2008 - Accepted invitation and appeared at the Cannes Film Festival