aka MR. CHOW Documentary Exposes the Real ‘Character’ Behind the ‘Crazy’ Restaurant (Exclusive)

An actor, artist and international restaurateur is giving followers a more in-depth look into his life. 

Within the trailer of aka MR. CHOW, which PEOPLE can solely premiere, restaurateur and actor Michael Chow invitations viewers into his life to study extra about his struggles as an immigrant and enterprise proprietor. The documentary, debuting Sunday, Oct. 22 on HBO and streaming on Max, pulls again the layers on a “man who doesn’t need individuals to know who he actually is.” 

“Once I was younger, I needed to be a painter,” Chow (born Zhou Yinghua) explains within the opening of the trailer whereas dancing round a spacious artwork studio. 

“I painted religiously,” he says earlier than revealing one of many struggles he confronted earlier than reaching his dream: “You study in a short time: China within the west was nothing.” 

aka Mr. Chow

Courtesy of HBO

Chow, who additionally goes by M, then explains that he was instructed, “No you possibly can’t be a painter. You may’t do something aside from restaurant or laundry.” 

Chow’s alternative was clear, so he opened a restaurant and created a brand new persona within the course of: Mr. Chow. 

“I needed to create respect — respect for my nation,” Chow says within the documentary’s trailer, including that Chinese language tradition was seen as “the low of low,” and he “needed to indicate them we’re the stylish of stylish.”

aka Mr. Chow
A younger Michael Chow.

Richard Lin/HBO

Chow’s first iteration of his Beijing-style restaurant Mr. Chow opened in London in 1968. He expanded to the U.S. in 1974 with a location in Beverly Hills earlier than opening a second U.S. location in New York Metropolis in 1979. Mr. Chow now has further areas internationally, together with in Miami, Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia. 

The trailer exhibits scenes from Chow’s restaurant, which has been frequented by the likes of Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba, He tells his workers, “That is theater. We’re in search of transcendence to a better place.”

“The restaurant was loopy,” says Grace Coddington, former inventive director at Vogue.

The trailer then cuts to clips of patrons dancing across the restaurant, the restaurant’s signature noodle present and stills of celebrities making appearances on the sizzling spot.

“It was a protected place for lots of people,” Chow’s son Maximillian tells the digital camera.

“Mr. Chow is a personality, created by him, of the person who doesn’t need individuals to know who he actually is,” provides Chow’s good friend Kevin Lipton.

The video shifts because the viewer is transported again to Chow’s artwork studio. He explains that his father was an artist who “revolutionized the Beijing Opera.” Chow additionally shares a bit of recommendation he acquired from his father: “Wherever you go, at all times bear in mind, you’re Chinese language.”

aka Mr. Chow
Michael Chow on the L.A. location of Mr. Chow.

Allan Tenenbaum/HBO

“The issue with racism? It hurts,” Chow candidly tells the digital camera. “You are taking away my glasses and you’re taking away my Rolls Royce, I’m not ok now.” 

Later within the trailer, an artwork critic views Chow’s work, assessing that “these work talk about turmoil, about rigidity — however, they’re additionally joyous and free,” because the restaurateur is seen engaged on giant work by throwing globs of paint, burning with a blowtorch, and cracking eggs on the canvas all through the tip half of the trailer.

“Artwork and creativity is one thing that is essential to him,” Maximillian explains. “It’s one of many issues that makes us human. 

aka Mr. Chow
Michael Chow.

Courtesy of HBO

Along with his work as an artist and in eating places, Chow has made appearances as an actor in movies akin to Rush Hour, Basquiat and My Sister’s Keeper. 

aka MR. CHOW debuts Sunday, Oct. 22 at 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on HBO and can be out there to stream on Max.

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