Gemma Chan


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British actress Gemma Chan was born in London and grew up in Kent. Her mother is of Scottish-Chinese heritage and her father grew up in Hong Kong. She studied law at Worcester College, Oxford University and upon graduating was offered a job with a leading law firm.

However she turned it down in order to pursue her acting career, going on to train at the prestigious and notoriously tough Drama Centre London, a drama school that has produced actors such as Paul Bettany, Anne-Marie Duff, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan. Spotted at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones (The History Boys, Kidulthood, Welcome to Sarajevo), she then signed to acting agent Nicki van Gelder, who has guided the careers of Samantha Morton and Helena Bonham Carter.

Gemma has had a busy year since graduating from the Drama Centre in 2008. She is currently filming on SHERLOCK, a modern day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes for BBC 1, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson.

Next, she will begin work on the BAFTA and International Emmy award winning sitcom THE IT CROWD for Channel 4. She recently appeared as a guest star in the Autumn 2009 special of the BBC’s DOCTOR WHO (“THE WATERS OF MARS”) with David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan, which aired on November 15th 2009 in the UK and December 19th 2009 in the USA.

In 2010 she will be seen on the big screen in the World War II drama SHANGHAI directed by Mikael Hafstrom, alongside John Cusack, Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li. She can also be seen in the psychological thriller EXAM (released in UK cinemas on January 8th 2010) directed by Stuart Hazeldine, alongside Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon and Luke Mably. The film was nominated for Outstanding Debut at the 2010 BAFTA Awards, for Best Feature at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival and has been critically acclaimed in Empire Magazine and Total Film amongst others.

She has also completed filming on the British independent feature PIMP directed by Robert Cavanah, with Billy Boyd and Danny Dyer and the comedy drama SUBMARINE directed by Richard Ayoade and produced by Film4 / Warp Films, alongside Paddy Considine, Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins. On stage Gemma appeared in the British Premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s final play TURANDOT at the Hampstead Theatre, London, directed by Anthony Clark. A passionate supporter of human rights, she has also made a film for Amnesty International to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Gemma was recently photographed by Rankin for a campaign for Nivea Visage, having previously worked as a model in order to fund her studies and drama school training. She is also classically trained on the violin and piano and performs regularly with a string quartet.

Note : If you'd like to contact Gemma, please check for her agent details on

Updated on 07 July, 2010


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