Zhang Ziyi in 2014 at the Cabourg Film Festival.
|Pinyin||Zhāng Zǐyí (Mandarin)|
9 February 1979 |
|Parents||Zhang Yuanxiao (father)
Li Zhousheng (mother)
Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She achieved fame for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), winning the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Female and earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
She then starred in Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, 2046 (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), earning critical acclaim and receiving a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Ambassadorship and representation
- 4 Defamation cases
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her parents are Zhang Yuanxiao, an accountant and later economist, and Li Zhousheng, a kindergarten teacher. She is very close to her older brother, Zhang Zinan (Chinese: 章子男; pinyin: Zhāng Zǐnán; born 1973). Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy by her parents' suggestion at the age of 11. While at this boarding school, she noticed how mean the other girls were to each other while competing for status amongst the teachers. Zhang disliked the attitudes of her peers and teachers so much that, on one occasion, she ran away from the school. At the age of 15, Zhang won the national youth dance championship and began appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.
In 1996, Zhang entered China's prestigious Central Academy of Drama at the age of 17.
Early career (1999-2000)
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.
Kungfu epics and international breakthrough (2000-2006)
She rose to international 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, Independent Spirit Awards and earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Her character is a young Manchu noblewoman who has secretly learned martial arts and runs off to become a wandering swordswoman rather than commit to an arranged marriage.
Although she has done many acrobatic fight scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and later movies, Zhang does not actually know Chinese martial arts; rather, she relies on her dancing skills to mimic the Gongfu choreography.
Zhang then appeared in Hero (2002), directed by her early mentor Zhang Yimou. She plays Moon (Ru Yue), the assistant and student of Broken Sword, played by Tony Leung. The film was commercially successful in the United States and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.
Zhang went back to the martial arts genre in House of Flying Daggers (2004), again by Zhang Yimou, where she starred along Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau. She plays the blind dancing girl Mei, who despite the lack of eyesight is a skilled fighter. In preparing for the part, Zhang spent two months living with an actual blind girl. The performance earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She was also 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.
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.
She played the lead role of Sayuri in the American film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha, a challenging role as all of her dialogue would be in English. Controversy also 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 was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
On 27 June 2005, she 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 was chosen as a jury member of Feature Films at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
She returned to China for another period drama, The Banquet, in 2006; although this time with less action than her three previous films in the genre.
In Forever Enthralled (2008), which tells the story of legendary Peking opera actor Mei Lanfang, Zhang appears in the second act as one of the first biologically female Peking opera actresses; before the May Fourth Movement all female characters had been played by men. Her most distinctive trait is that she specializes in portraying elderly male characters, as a parallel to the biologically male Mei Lanfang who specialized in young female characters.
Back in China she played the titular character in the comedy Sophie's Revenge; a comic book artist seeking to punish her unfaithful boyfriend.
As the year 2009 also marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, much of the Chinese film establishment collaborated in making The Founding of a Republic; a patriotic tribute detailing the process of establishing the People's Republic in 1949. Zhang is featured in a small cameo role.
In 2012, Zhang starred next to Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun in the Chinese-Korean co-production Dangerous Liaisons, an adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, narrating Shanghai of the 1930s. Zhang was reportedly paid 20 million RMB (approximately $3.5 million) for the role.
Return to stardom (2013-present)
She reunited with Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung for The Grandmaster (2013), which meant a return to the martial arts genre after 7 years of quieter films. The film was China's submission to the Academy Awards for best foreign-language picture, and once again brought Zhang a number of prestigious awards.
In the same year she reprised the role of Sophie in My Lucky Star, a follow-up to Sophie's Revenge.
That year she was also one of the judges for the first season of The X Factor: China's Strongest Voice, where she mentored the "Boys" category. She also served as a jury member of Un Certain Regard at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Ambassadorship and representation
Asian Area Endorsement
In 2012, an overseas Chinese website Boxun falsely reported that Zhang Ziyi was paid $100 million to sleep with top Chinese officials. Zhang sued Boxun in a US court for defamation. In December 2013, Boxun settled the case after agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to Zhang and issue a front page apology. Zhang also won court cases in Hong Kong against Next Media over similar false reports in Apple Daily and Next Magazine.
In the July 2006 issue of Interview magazine, Zhang spoke of her movies' contents and being careful about the roles she takes on, especially in Hollywood:
|“||Yes. Otherwise I could have done a lot of Hollywood movies. After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I got a lot of offers, but I turned them down because they were all victim roles—poor girls sold to America to be a wife or whatever. I know I have the ability to go deeper, to take on more original roles than that. That's why I really appreciated Geisha, because it allowed us to show the world what kind of actors we are and what kind of characters we can play—not just action, kick-ass parts.||”|
Zhang obtained Hong Kong residency in 2007 through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry. After several screen performances in 2010 and 2011, Zhang was named ambassador for the ScreenSingapore 2011 film festival, joining American director Oliver Stone.
Zhang was engaged to Israeli venture capitalist Aviv "Vivi" Nevo between the years 2008 and 2010. Following their break-up she explained:
|“||I grew up in a very traditional Chinese environment with lots of love, and I hope my own family would be the same. I want everyone to live together, with kids running around, and dogs playing with the kids. This is my ideal family life. I tried to make it work but it didn't, and I have no regrets over it.||”|
|Sun Wenxue||Chen Wei|
|1999||The Road Home
|Zhang Yimou||Zhao Di|
|2000||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
|Ang Lee||Jen Yu|
|2001||Rush Hour 2
|Brett Ratner||Hu Li|
|2001||The Legend of Zu
|Kim Sung-su||Princess Bu-yong|
|2003||My Wife is a Gangster 2
|Jeong Heung Sun||Gangster boss (cameo)|
|Wong Kar Wai||Bai Ling|
|2004||House of Flying Daggers
|Hou Yong||Mo/ Li/ Hua|
|Seijun Suzuki||Princess Tanuki|
|2005||Memoirs of a Geisha
|Rob Marshall||Chiyo Sakamoto/Sayuri Nitta|
|Chen Kaige||Meng Xiaodong|
|2009||The Founding of a Republic
|Huang Jianxin||Gong Peng (Cameo)|
|2011||Love for Life
|Hur Jin-ho||Du Fenyu|
|Wong Kar Wai||Gong Er|
|2013||Better and Better
|Zhang Yibai||Herself (Cameo)|
|2013||My Lucky Star
|2014||Magic (Short film)||Jonas Åkerlund||Cecile|
|2014||The Crossing Part 1
|John Woo||Yu Zhen|
|2015||The Crossing Part 2
|John Woo||Yu Zhen|
|2015||Where's the Dragon?
|2015||Oh My God
|Wei Nan, Wei Min|
|2016||Run for Love
|2016||The Wasted Times
|Li Fangfang||Wang Minjia|
Awards and nominations
- Ranked 2nd of the 100 Sexiest Women by FHM Taiwan (2001).
- Named one of the 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 by Teen People Magazine (2001).
- Named one of the 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 by Teen People Magazine (2002).
- Ranked No. 91 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002)
- Voted in at No. 100 in FHM's "Sexiest 100 Girls of 2002", UK edition. [June 2002]
- Ranked in the top 5 of "Forbes China Celebrity 100" list every year from 2004 to 2010.
- Named by Entertainment Weekly in their 'The Must List' 2005. Listed 38th out of the 122 people and things the magazine "loves" this year, Ziyi was the only Chinese to be included.
- Selected by Southern People Weekly magazine as "Chinese Top Ten Leaders of the Younger Generation" in 2005.
- Listed in People's "50 Most Beautiful People" List in 2005.
- Listed in TIME's World's 100 Most Influential People. They called her "China's Gift to Hollywood".
- Ranked one of the '100 Most Beautiful Women in the World' in the July 2005 issue of Harpers & Queen magazine. It was her first time on the list. She was ranked number 15.
- Included in People's 100 Most Beautiful People in the World the second year in a row in 2006. This is now her third appearance on the list.
- Voted in at No. 86 in FHM's sexiest women in the world in 2006. She had not appeared in the list since 2002.
- Topped Japanese Playboy's "100 Sexiest Women in Asia" list and was featured on the cover. (April 2006)
- Voted No. 1 in E!'s "Sexiest Action Stars" list in summer 2007.
- Ranked No. 3 in Japanese magazine Classy's "Super Perfect Head-to-Body Size Ratio List" in January 2009.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Zhang Ziyi|
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- Four Promising Actress Four Young Chinese Stars
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- "Zhang Ziyi, The One that Loves You Most Is Me". Hao Rizi Magazine. March 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
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