British actress Gemma Chan may have risen to worldwide prominence through her roles in Eternals and Captain Marvel, but she has been in the entertainment world for a long time now. She was born in London to Hong Kong immigrants and received her acting education at the Drama Centre in London. Her first-ever role came in 2006 with When Evil Calls, a miniseries that originally aired on the United Kingdom’s Horror Channel. Acting-wise, her career consisted of an eclectic mix of film, television, and stage roles, but her big break came when she was cast in Crazy Rich Asians, which became the biggest romantic comedy of the decade of its release.
Before Crazy Rich Asians, Chan made an appearance in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but her performance in the former is what opened up completely new opportunities for the actress. Recently, she has appeared in movies spearheaded by Marvel and Disney, so it looks like Chan has built up the momentum she needs for a sustainable career in the industry. These are the best Gemma Chan movies ranked.
8 Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots pitted Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as two of history’s infamous rivals: Queen Mary of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I, respectively. The movie takes creative liberty in altering historical truths — including the fact that Mary and Elizabeth had only met briefly during their lifetimes —to dramatize the tension that did indeed exist. Mary, Queen of Scots offers a scandalous history lesson for the books, and despite its immense talent within its cast, it fails to deliver something that wants the viewer coming back for more.
Eternals was one of the many big blockbusters released in 2021, and it had an all-star cast on top of that. Its cast consisted of Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Ma Dong-seok, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie, among many others. Eternals was progressive in the way that it depicted mature relationships on the screen, including having the first gay superhero (and on-screen gay kiss) in the Marvel Studios’ world. However, its all-star cast unfortunately cannot make up for a lack of pacing and character development — the movie’s ensemble cast is both a boon and a bane here.
6 Captain Marvel
2019’s Captain Marvel marked the first time that Marvel Studios officially made a movie that has a woman superhero leading the story. Carol Denvers (Brie Larson) becomes an intergalactic hero as she takes on the name Captain Marvel to stop a conflict between alien civilizations. The year is 1995 when she crash lands onto Earth, so she teams up with a much-younger Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to face the threat and restore balance to the universe.
5 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A spin-off of the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them places the story in the 1920s, long before the events of the original series. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just arrived in New York City, but his suitcase is accidentally switched, and the beasts trapped inside are left to wreak havoc on the city. The Fantastic Beasts franchise has been a smash hit globally, spawning three movies, including its newest sequel The Secrets of Dumbledore, which will come out in April 2022. Chan, unfortunately, only appeared in the first film.
4 Let Them All Talk
Meryl Streep is the star of Let Them All Talk, a comedic drama by director Steven Soderbergh. Streep is Alice Hughes, an award-winning author, and writer struggling with her latest manuscript and her personal life. The vast majority of the movie is improv; Soderbergh only took a rough outline of what the movie was supposed to be about and let the actors do what they needed to do. The film’s budget? Twenty-five cents.
3 Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians brought Asian representation to screens globally in a way never seen before. The film tells two stories: the one where the main character, Rachel (Constance Wu), comes from an immigrant background in New York City, and another about Singapore’s wealthy elite. It is quite literally a tale of two worlds, one that Rachel now straddles as she discovers her boyfriend is much richer than she thought he was. The movie would bring in $238.5 million at the global box office.
2 The Double
The Double is Jesse Eisenberg at his finest as he portrays dual roles. His first appearance is as an office worker that seems to have found a dead end in life. He is not noticed by anyone around him, and when a new coworker comes into the office, a new threat has appeared. This coworker looks like him but is the exact opposite personality-wise, causing everyone to love him. Chan only plays a small role in The Double, but it is a brilliant work and an example of great filmmaking.
1 Raya and the Last Dragon
Raya and the Last Dragon was included in Disney’s 2021 lineup and was the first Disney film to feature Southeast Asian culture and influence within the story. Five hundred years before the events of the movie, a kingdom was attacked by spirits that turned everything into stone, and the dragons, their guardians, sacrificed themselves to restore peace. But when Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) witnesses the revival of the evil spirits, her entire world is thrown upside down and she searches for the cure, leading to the last dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina), and an epic journey across kingdoms.