Louis Koo

Louis Koo
Background information
Chinese name 古天樂 (traditional)
Chinese name 古天乐 (simplified)
Pinyin Gǔ Tiānlè (Mandarin)
Jyutping Gu2 Tin1-lok6 (Cantonese)
Born (1970-10-21) 21 October 1970
Hong Kong
Occupation Actor
Years active 1994 - present
Ancestry Zhongshan, Guangdong, China
Website http://www.kootinlok.com/blog
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Koo.

Louis Koo (Koo Tin-lok 古天樂; born 21 October 1970) is a Hong Kong film actor. He began his professional career as an actor in local television series, winning TVB's Best Actor award in 1999 and 2001. For the past decade, he has focused primarily on his film career. Koo has become one of the stalwarts of the Hong Kong film industry,[1][2] and is a popular spokesman for various brands including Pepsi, Osim, Tag Heuer, Lotte, Zero Eyewear, Lay's, and Samsung Galaxy.

Koo is the highest earning actor in Hong Kong with 236 million HKD (30.4 million USD) in 2013,[3] 2014 with 300 million HKD (38.6 million USD) and 2015 with 400 million HKD (51.8 million USD).[4]


Koo left school after completing his secondary education.[5] He worked in a modelling agency before he was approached to model for advertisements and karaoke videos. He then signed as a contract artist with TVB in 1993. During the period when he was under contract with TVB, he starred in many television dramas, movies and commercials. Koo started gaining recognition in 1995 with his leading role in The Condor Heroes 95, a popular series based on a classic wuxia novel. In 1997, Koo began sporting an extreme tan (for which he is well known for), which apparently enabled him to take on more contemporary roles. He also began taking on roles in films such as the paranormal Troublesome Night series, romantic film Sealed with a Kiss as well as action films such as The Suspect. In 1999, Koo received TVB's Most Popular Male Artist Award for Detective Investigation Files IV. In 2001, Koo was given the award once again for A Step into the Past and also the Most Stylish Personality Award and Men of Power 2001. He then went on an indefinite hiatus from television and has since focused on his film career.

Koo is known for many of his TVB television dramas, most notably The Condor Heroes 95 (1995); Detective Investigation Files IV (1999); At the Threshold of an Era ll (2000) and A Step into the Past (2001). Due to the popularity of TVB dramas in the late 1990s, Koo amassed a sizeable fan base in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South-east Asia and North America. While he had often been cast in cool, aloof characters, he took a different approach to his role in A Step Into the Past. This deviation from his usual aloof on-screen persona to a funnier, carefree and down-to-earth one resonated with the audience and widened his acting range, leading to many offers to star in romantic comedies. He began acting in a number of romantic comedies immediately after his departure from TVB, opposite actresses such as Gigi Leung, Cecilia Cheung, Sammi Cheng and Miriam Yeung.

In 2004, Koo took on the role of Sze-to Bo, a perpetually drunk and despondent former judo champion, in Johnnie To’s Throw Down; the movie was a marked departure from his usual commercial genres. He also began his long-term collaboration with To and Milkyway Image. Koo later received international acclaim[6] for his chilling performance in Election 2 (aka Triad Election), which was screened during the Out of Competition section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

By the mid-2000s, Louis Koo has become a widely known film actor in Greater China, often playing supporting roles to the biggest film stars in China. Koo played Octopus in Benny Chan's film Robin B Hood (2006) along with Jackie Chan. He had also worked with Donnie Yen in Wilson Yip's Flash Point (2007).

The 2007 film, Happy Birthday, differed from many of his past romantic movies due to its earnest tone.[7] In the Jingle Ma film, which was based on co-star Rene Liu's short story,[8] Koo portrayed a sensitive man sans the comical gestures and expressions he has adopted in past romantic comedies.

His character as an unscrupulous drug addict in Protégé differed from his previous performances, as he forwent his suave image for an emaciated look. The supporting role earned him positive critical feedback and several major film award nominations.

In Run Papa Run (2008), Koo played a reckless triad leader who tried to shield his daughter from his past misdemeanours. Koo earned a Best Actor nomination in the Hong Kong Film Awards for this role, which required him to portray a character from his late teens to his fifties.[9] In the same year, he starred in the remake of Cellular, Connected, in which he played an average Joe[10] cast in a race against time to save a stranger.

In recent years, Koo had often been cast in action films and psychological thrillers. In Accident, Koo played a high-strung killer. In the Overheard series, he put on weight to play middle-aged roles more convincingly.[11]

Koo made a return to his romantic comedy roots in the 2011 film Don't Go Breaking My Heart, which was directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai. Koo played a debonair CEO of a broker film along with co-stars Daniel Wu and Gao Yuanyuan.

Koo received a Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actor nomination for his role in Benny Chan's 2013 film The White Storm. His upcoming films include Pang Ho-Cheung's movie Aberdeen, Overheard 3 by directors Alan Mak and Felix Chong,[12] Johnnie To's Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2 and Z Storm. Koo is also attached to several upcoming projects including Triumph in the Skies[13] and the sequel to The Monkey King.[14]

He won the award for Most Beloved Actor in the Hong Kong UA Film Awards 2006 through public voting for his role in Election 2.

Other works

Koo has published several books over the years including his photo albums Present (1999) and Cool (2001), as well as his autobiography Find Happiness (2002).[15] He also released Toys Battle (2008), a book chronicling his love for comic book characters and movie superheroes, and donated all proceeds to UNICEF.[16]

Koo recorded several theme songs for the TVB dramas he had starred in. He had also cut two albums Boyfriend and Popular Louis in 2000 and released another album Mr.Cool in 2003.[17]

With a career spanning nearly two decades, Koo has endorsed a large number of brands in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Some of the major brand endorsements include, Gillette, Epson, Hugo Boss Perfume, Lotte, Tag Heuer, Lipton, Clinique, OSIM,[18] Yokohama Tire,[19] Pepsi,[20] Lay's, Tropicana,[21] Samsung Galaxy[22] and Xbox 360 Kinect.[23]


On 3 July 2012, Chinese microblogs caught on to the news of Koo's low profile philanthropy in China, which became a trending topic. Major Chinese dailies reported that he had helped build 49 schools, over 20 clinics and completed 50 water supply projects to help the underprivileged in remote areas in rural China for the past three years[24] without any publicity. He was reluctant to comment on the issue but it was learnt that Koo set up his charity foundation after witnessing the devastation from the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.[25]

Koo is also a UNICEF ambassador[26] since 2007.


He is an alumnus of St. Teresa's School Kowloon and Carmel Secondary School.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Let's Go Slam Dunk
1996 On Fire
Man Wanted 2
1997 Street of Fury Lung
Troublesome Night Ken Ng Chi-keung
Troublesome Night 2 Sam
1998 Troublesome Night 3 Cheng Lik
The Professional Thief
God.com Officer Chan
The Suspect Don Lee
Troublesome Night 4 Wing
1999 Troublesome Night 5 Lam Chung-fat
Troublesome Night 6 Inspector Wong
Rules of the Game David Chow
Super Car Criminals
Bullets Over Summer Brian
Century of the Dragon Wong Chi-shing
Sealed with a Kiss Kam Sui
The Masked Prosecutor Tong Hiu-tai
2000 For Bad Boys Only Jack Shum
Troublesome Night 7 Lok
Conman in Tokyo Cool
2001 Born Wild Tan Ho
The Legend of Zu Red
La Brassiere Wayne
2002 The Lion Roars Seasonal Chan
Fat Choi Spirit Louis
Dry Wood, Fierce Fire Ryan Li
Women From Mars Servant of HellCameo
Mighty Baby Wayne
2003 Love for All Seasons Tiger Hung
Why Me, Sweetie?! Dong
Good Times, Bed Times Paul Ko Chi-keung
Naked Ambition Andy
Lost in Time Ah Man
2004 Fantasia Sam
Love on the Rocks Wong Kai-ming
Throw Down Sze-to Bo Nominated - 61st Venice International Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actor
2005 Election Jimmy LeeNominated - 58th Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor
2006 Election 2 Jimmy Lee
Dragon Tiger Gate Shibumi [voice]
Rob-B-Hood Octopus
2007 Happy Birthday Nam
Protégé Jane's Husband Nominated - 27th Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - 44th Golden Horse Award For Best Supporting Actor
Triangle FaiNominated - 60th Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor
Flash Point Wilson
2008 Run Papa Run Tiger Lee Tin-yun Nominated - 28th Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated - 45th Golden Horse Award For Best Actor
Connected BobNominated - 52nd Asia-Pacific Film Festival for Best Actor
2009 Accident BrainNominated - 52nd Asia-Pacific Film Festival for Best Actor
Nominated - 66th Venice International Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actor
Nominated - 34th Toronto International Film Festival for Best Actor
Nominated - 10th Tokyo Filmex for Best Actor
Nominated - 14th CMA for Best Film Actor
All's Well, Ends Well 2009 Dick Cho
On His Majesty's Secret Service Royal Dog
Poker King Jack Chang
Overheard Gene YeungNominated - 3rd Chungmluro International Film Festival in Seoul for Best Actor
Nominated- 6th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards for Best Actor
2010 All's Well, Ends Well 2010 Emperor
Triple Tap Ken Kwan
2011 The Road Less Traveled Hui Shing-leung
All's Well, Ends Well 2011 Sammy Shum
Mr. and Mrs. Incredible Gazer WarriorNominated - 13th Deauville Asian International Film Festival for Best Actor
Don't Go Breaking My Heart Sean Cheung
A Chinese Ghost Story Yin Chek-ha
Overheard 2 Jack Ho Chi-keung
Magic to Win Wood Magician
2012 All's Well, Ends Well 2012 Peng Kin
Romancing in Thin Air Michael Lau
2013 Drug War Timmy Choi Tim-ming
Out of Inferno Keung
The White Storm So Kin-chowNominated - 33rd Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor
2014 Hello Babies Cameo
Golden Chickensss Jiangmen Louis Koo Cameo
Naked Ambition 2 Naoki Nagasaki Cameo
Aberdeen Cheng Wai-to
Overheard 3 Lau Wing-jau
Z Storm William Luk
Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2 Sean Cheung
2015 An Inspector Calls Inspector Karl
12 Golden Ducks Rocky
Triumph in the Skies Branson Cheung
Little Big Master Tse Wing-tung
SPL II: A Time for Consequences Mr. Hung Guest star
Paris Holiday Lam Chun-kit
Wild City T-Man
2016 Three
League of Gods Mahamayuri
Line Walker
Call of Heroes
S Storm William Luk
TBD Paradox Lee Chung-chi Filming
The Man with the Dragon Tattoo Filming
Shed Skin Papa Post-production
The Fixer Post-production
Virtus Pre-production
Election 3 Pre-production
Meow Pre-production
Storm Cloud Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Knot to Treasure
Class of Distinction
1995 Happy Harmony
The Condor Heroes 95 Yeung Kuo
1996 Cold Blood Warm Heart Yip Sing-hong
1997 The Hit Man Chronicles
War & Remembrance
Against the Blade of Honour Ding Pang
I Can't Accept Corruption
A Recipe for the Heart
1998 Burning Flame Lau Hoi-pak
1999 Man's Best Friend Tai Jin Sek
Detective Investigation Files IV Tsui Fei
At the Threshold of an Era Nick Cheung
2000 At the Threshold of an Era II Nick Cheung
2001 A Step into the Past Hong Siu-lung

[28] [29] [30]


  1. ""劳模"古天乐身体罢工:我非工作狂". Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  2. "2012福布斯 中国名人榜". Forbes China. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  3. "Louis Koo is highest earning actor of 2013". Yahoo! News Asia. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. "Louis Koo is 2014's highest-earning celebrity". Yahoo! News Asia. 29 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  5. zhu, Gu Tianle (2002). Xun Le ji = Searching for Louis (Chu ban. ed.). Taibei Shi: Shi bao wen hua. ISBN 9571337412.
  6. Kerr, Elizabeth. "Election 2". Hollywood Reporter.
  7. Ho, Yi. "A nostalgic romance". Taipei Times. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  8. Teo, Winson (24 January 2007). "Actor Louis Koo says press fatigue makes him reticent". TODAY. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  9. Ho, Yi (25 April 2008). "When the going gets tough, the tough get soft". The Taipei Times.
  10. Elley, Derek. "Connected". Variey. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  11. Lee, Edmund. "Louis Koo interview". Time Out. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  12. "Bona Announces Film Slate for Remainder of 2012 and 2013". Bona Film Group. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  13. "古天乐加盟电影"冲上云霄" 欧洲取景4月开拍". Mtime.com Inc. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  14. "《大闹天宫》8月拍续集 古天乐演唐僧". SINA Corporation. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  15. "Publication". Louis Koo Tin-Lok Official Website. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  16. Mak, Clara (15 March 2008). "Koo's comic book capers". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  17. "Music". Louis Koo Tin-Lok Official Website. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  18. "Advertisement". Louis Koo Tin-Lok Official Website.
  19. "Louis Koo is the brand ambassador for Yokohama Tire". Yokohama Tire. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  20. Chan, Candy. "PepsiCo's Thirst For China Continues". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  21. Watson, Mark. "Tropicana Launches New Thematic TVC And Interactive Campaign". China Smack. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  22. Ng, Erica. "Samsung Eyes Apple's Dominance". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  23. "News". Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  24. "Louis Koo helped build 49 schools". The Star. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  25. "默默扶貧3年 古仔內地建49學校". Apple Daily Hong Kong. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  26. "Hong Kong UNICEF Ambassadors". Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  27. "2004年週記". 2004年週記. Louis Koo Tin-Lok Official Website. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  28. "Louis Koo". imdb.com. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  29. "Louis Koo". chinesemov.com. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  30. "TV". Louis Koo Tin-Lok Official Website. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
Awards and achievements
TVB Anniversary Awards
Preceded by
Gallen Lo
for Secret of the Heart
Best Actor
for Detective Investigation Files IV
Succeeded by
Bobby Au-Yeung
for Witness to a Prosecution
Preceded by
Bobby Au-Yeung
for Witness to a Prosecution
Best Actor
for A Step Into the Past
Succeeded by
Gallen Lo
for Golden Faith
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