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ZHANG ZIYI

CINEMA / Actrices

ZHANG ZIYI is a Chinese film actress and model. Chinese media have called her one of the Four Dan Actresses (四大花旦) in China's film industry, along with Zhao Wei, Xu Jinglei and Zhou Xun.

Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She achieved fame in the West after leading roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

In 1998, while she was studying in Central Academy of Drama, she was offered her first role by director Zhang Yimou in his film The Road Home. The film won the Silver Bear prize at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival.

She rose to further fame in 2000 with her role as Jen (Chinese version: Yu Jiao Long) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she won several awards in the Western world, such as Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and Independent Spirit Awards.

ZHANG ZIYI's first appearance in an American movie was in Rush Hour 2. In the movie, her character's name is "Hu Li", which is Mandarin Chinese for "Fox".

ZHANG ZIYI then appeared in Hero (2002), with her early mentor Zhang Yimou. The film was successful in the United States and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

She then signed on to film an avant-garde drama, Purple Butterfly (2003), which competed in the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Zhang went back to the martial arts genre in House of Flying Daggers (2004), which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 2046 (2004), directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring many of the best-known Chinese actors and actresses, Zhang was the female lead and won the Hong Kong Film Critics' Best Actress Award and the Hong Kong Film Academy's Best Actress Award.

Showing her whimsical musical tap-dancing side, Zhang starred in Princess Raccoon, directed by Japanese legend Seijun Suzuki, who was honored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. She then accepted the lead role of Sayuri in the film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. Controversy arose in Japan and China about having a Chinese woman portray a Japanese geisha. For this film, she was reunited with her 2046 co-star Gong Li and with Crouching Tiger co-star Michelle Yeoh. For the role, Zhang received a 2006 Golden Globe Award nomination, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a BAFTA nomination.

Zhang has also been known to sing, and was featured on the House of Flying Daggers soundtrack with her own musical rendition of the ancient Chinese poem, Jia Rén Qu (佳人曲, The Beauty Song). The song was also featured in two scenes in the film.

On 27 June 2005, it was announced that Zhang had accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those able to vote on the Academy Awards.

In May 2006, ZHANG ZIYI was chosen as a jury member of Feature Films at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. This year, she appeared as Empress Wan in The Banquet (2006), a film set in the Tang Dynasty.

ZHANG ZIYI provided the voice of Karai in TMNT (2007). She later starred in Forever Enthralled (2008) and appeared in The Horsemen (2009) with Dennis Quaid.

In January 2010, it was announced she had plans to produce a film adaptation of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; however, it was announced that she had turned down the role due to a busy schedule.

In July 2010, plans were revealed for a live-action version of the Chinese folk tale of Hua Mulan, previously popularized by Disney through their 1998 animated movie. The film was to be directed by Jan de Bont, and would star Zhang as the titular heroine. Shootings were scheduled to begin in September 2010, but ultimately did not commence due to insufficient financial resources. The current status of the project is unknown.

ZHANG ZIYI has been cast in the role of Lin Huiyin in a 2011 film. She also starred in an AIDS-themed film Love for Life, along with Aaron Kwok, premiering on 10 May 2011.

On September 27, 2012, the Chinese-Korean co-production Dangerous Liaisons, an adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, narrating Shanghai of the 1930s, released in China. Zhang starred next to Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun in this film. It was reported Zhang was paid 20 million RMB (approximately $3.5 million) for her role.

ZHANG ZIYI portrayed Gong Er in Wong Kar-wai's film The Grandmaster, which released on 8 January 2013 in China. In January, it was also reported Zhang would join John Woo's new movie Love and Let Love. In April 2013, Zhang was announced as one of the judges for the first season of The X Factor: China's Strongest Voice,and she later mentored the "Boys" category. In May, she was invited to be a jury member of Un Certain Regard at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Currently, she is filming and producing Chinese language romantic comedy entitled "My Lucky Star".


 

 


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