Anthony Wong Chau-sang is hitting the boards at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts’ Lyric Theatre this month, in Yasmina Reza’s Le Dieu Du Carnage (“God of Carnage”). The son of a British sailor named Fred Perry and a Hong Kong Chinese mother, Wong shot to fame with hits such as Hard Boiled (1992) and The Eight Immortals Restaurant: The Untold Story (1993), which won him a Hong Kong Film Award. In 2006, he had a role in The Painted Veil, a film based on the 1925 novel of the same title by W. Somerset Maugham …

The British poet and novelist was one of the most popular writers in the 1920s and 30s, but he still had his share of legal woes: the names of the main characters in The Painted Veil were changed after he was sued by a couple in Hong Kong, and, for similar reasons, the colony was called “Tching-Yen” in early editions. Before landing on his literary feet, Maugham had had a varied professional life that included obstetrics and a stint as a secret agent during the first world war. In 1916, Maugham could be found in the Pacific, doing research for the novel The Moon and Sixpence, which is based on the life of Paul Gauguin …

The French post-Impressionist became known (although fame came posthumously) as an artist who experimented with synthetist style and colour, whose work would go on to inspire Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. In 1891, he travelled to Tahiti to paint illustrations for the most popular novel of the day, Pierre Loti’s The Marriage of Loti, and entered a period that became the subject of much interest due to his alleged sexual exploits. In the 1956 film Lust for Life, the frolicking Frenchman was portrayed by Anthony Quinn …

Before launching his acting career, the Mexican-born American actor, painter and writer had a variety of odd jobs: butcher, boxer, street-corner preacher and slaughterhouse worker, to name a few. For the 1968 film The Magus, Quinn shaved his head but not before taking out an insurance policy in case his hair did not grow back. He needn’t have worried; he had top cover – as well as a dodgy Italian accent – in the following year’s The Secret of Santa Vittoria. In 1960, Quinn starred in the Broadway debut of the play Becket, as King Henry II …

Born at Le Mans, in northwest France, in 1133, Henry – also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress and Henry Plantagenet – did many a great thing for England: he restored the royal administration, gave English law a kick-start and gained full control over his areas of France. Said by chroniclers to be good-looking, redhaired, freckled and large-headed, Henry had a short, stocky body and was bow-legged from riding. Often he was scruffily dressed and, if 2003 made-for-TV movie The Lion in Winter is to be believed, his wife, Eleanor, looked a lot like Glenn Close …

The American is known as one of the finest actors of her generation; how can we forget her creepy bunny-boiling performance in Fatal Attraction? During a re-shoot of that 1987 thriller, Close suffered concussion when she smashed her head against a mirror. Having been rushed to hospital, she discovered she was a few weeks pregnant with Annie Starke, who would herself one day aspire to be an actress. In 1996, Close starred in Mars Attacks! with Jack Nicholson, 10 years before her fellow actor would appear in hit crime drama The Departed, a remake of Infernal Affairs, a Hong Kong movie that starred Anthony Wong.