Zhang Ziyi in 2014 at the Cabourg Film Festival.
|Pinyin||Zhāng Zǐyí (Mandarin)|
|Vietnamese name||Chương Tử Di|
9 February 1979|
|Spouse(s)||Wang Feng (m. 2015)|
Zhang Yuanxiao (father)|
Li Zhousheng (mother)
Zhang Ziyi (Chinese: 章子怡; pinyin: Zhāng Zǐyí, pronounced [ʈʂáŋ tsìǐ]; born 9 February 1979) is a Chinese actress and model. She is considered one of the Four Dan Actresses of China, and the most well-known Asian actress in the West.
Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She later achieved fame for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Zhang is known for being a "Yimou Girl", as she frequently collaborated with director Zhang Yimou.
Zhang is best known for her appearances in Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), 2046 (2004) and The Banquet (2006). Her most critically acclaimed works are Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), which earned her 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; and The Grandmaster (2013), for which she won 12 different Best Actress awards to become the most awarded Chinese actress for a single film.
From 2004 to 2010, Zhang ranked in the Top 5 of Forbes China Celebrity 100 list every year. In 2008, she was awarded with the "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema" award at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival. In 2013, she received the French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Awards.
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her parents are Zhang Yuanxiao (Chinese: 章元孝; pinyin: Zhāng Yuánxiào), an accountant and later economist, and Li Zhousheng (李涿生; Lǐ Zhuōshēng), a kindergarten teacher. She is very close to her older brother, Zhang Zinan (章子男; Zhāng Zǐnán; born 1973). Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy at 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 the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing at the age of 17.
1999–2000: Early career
In 1998, while she was studying in Central Academy of Drama, Zhang was offered her first role by director Zhang Yimou in his film The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear prize at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang plays a country girl who was in love with her teacher, and won the Best Actress Award at the 2000 Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance.
2000–06: Wuxia epics and international breakthrough
She rose to international fame in 2000 with her role as Jen (Chinese version: Yu Jiao Long) in martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The film grossed US$128 million in the United States, becoming the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history and becoming one of the most influential Chinese films internationally. Zhang plays 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, which bagged her Best Supporting Actress awards at the 54th British Academy Film Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
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) alongside Tony Leung, directed by her early mentor Zhang Yimou. 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 preparation for the part, Zhang spent two months living with an actual blind girl. Her performance earned her a Best Actress nomination at the BAFTA Awards. 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 film was commercially successful and, together with Hero, broke box office records and set a new peak for the Chinese film industry at that time.
She then starred in Wong Kar-wai's romantic drama film 2046 (2004), which featured many top Chinese actors and actresses. Zhang later won the Hong Kong Film Critics' Award and Hong Kong Film Academy Award for Best Actress. This was followed by a starring role in the critically acclaimed Jasmine Women, adapted from Su Tong's novel titled Women's Lives.
Showing her whimsical musical tap-dancing side, Zhang starred in Princess Raccoon (2005), directed by Japan's Seijun Suzuki, who was honored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. In the same year, she played the lead role of Sayuri in the American film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. Controversy arose in Japan and China about having a Chinese woman portray a prominent Japanese geisha. Nonetheless, the film was well-received in the West. 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, Zhang accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those who are 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.
Zhang returned to China in 2006 for the Chinese wuxia film The Banquet, directed by Feng Xiaogang. The film was another box office success and although it shared similar characteristics to Zhang's previous films of the same genres, there was much less action. Zhang attended the Venice International Film Festival in August 2006, where the host Marc Muller named her as the China's Box Office Queen. TIME also called Zhang as "China's gift to Hollywood", and French magazine Le Point said Zhang is synonymous to China in the Western media; showing Zhang's worldwide influence and recognition.
2007–12: Hollywood and China
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. Zhang's successful portrayal of the character Meng Xiaodong garnered her the Outstanding Actress Award at the Huabiao Awards.
Her next American film was The Horsemen (2009), where she starred opposite Dennis Quaid. She plays a crazed female killer with an outwardly gentle appearance. Following 2001 and 2003, Zhang once again appeared in People magazine where she was listed as the Top 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. The American media also touted her as Asia's Most Beautiful Woman.
Back in China, she played the titular character in her own self-produced film Sophie's Revenge (2009); 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 2011, she starred alongside Aaron Kwok in the AIDS-themed film Love for Life. Zhang was named as the image ambassador for the 1st inaugural Beijing International Film Festival together with Jackie Chan.
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. The same year, Zhang was invited to the New York Asian Film Festival, where she represented the Chinese film industry and helped promote Chinese films.
2013–present: Return to stardom
Zhang reunited with Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung for The Grandmaster (2013), which also marks her return to the martial arts genre after 7 years since The Banquet (2006). The film was China's submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Picture. Once again, it brought Zhang a number of prestigious awards. Zhang became the only actress to bag Best Actress honors from all five prestigious award ceremonies in the Chinese entertainment industry - Hundred Flowers Awards, Huabiao Awards, Golden Rooster Awards, Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. In total, Zhang won 12 Best Actress awards for her role in The Grandmaster, becoming the most awarded actress for a single film.
On June 27, 2013, Zhang attended the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Awards, where she receives the French Cultural Order for her immense contributions and achievements to the film industry.
In the same year, she reprised the role of Sophie in My Lucky Star, a sequel to Sophie's Revenge. Zhang also became a judge for the first season of The X Factor: China's Strongest Voice, where she mentored the Males team. She also served as a jury member of Un Certain Regard at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2016, Zhang starred in romance anthology film Run for Love opposite Eddie Peng, and thriller The Wasted Times, about a Japanese spy trying to locate a former friend in order to uncover the truth of his family massacre in Shanghai years ago. Zhang will be returning to American films in science thriller film God Particle, which would be released on 24 February 2017.
It was announced that Zhang would be starring in her first television drama, Emperor’s Conquest alongside Hu Ge.
Ambassadorship and representation
- Omega Watches Ambassador since 2009 – today
Asian Area Endorsement
- Precious Platinum Ambassador since March 2007 – today
- Garnier Ambassador August 2006 – 2009
Zhang is a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics and a spokesperson for "Care for Children", a foster-home program in China.
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 from 2008 to 2010. Following their break-up she explained:
Zhang married Chinese rock musician Wang Feng in March 2015. On December 27, 2015, Zhang gave birth to their daughter Wang Xingxing.
|1996||Touching Starlight||星星點燈||Sun Wenxue||Chen Wei|
|1999||The Road Home||我的父親母親||Zhang Yimou||Zhao Di|
|2000||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon||臥虎藏龍||Ang Lee||Jen Yu|
|2001||Rush Hour 2||尖峰时刻||Brett Ratner||Hu Li|
|The Legend of Zu||蜀山傳||Tsui Hark||Joy (special appearance)|
|Musa||武士||Kim Sung-su||Princess Bu-yong|
|2003||Purple Butterfly||紫蝴蝶||Lou Ye||Cynthia|
|My Wife is a Gangster 2||我老婆是大佬2||Jeong Heung Sun||Gangster boss (cameo)|
|2004||2046||2046||Wong Kar Wai||Bai Ling|
|House of Flying Daggers||十面埋伏||Zhang Yimou||Mei|
|Jasmine Women||茉莉花開||Hou Yong||Mo/ Li/ Hua|
|2005||Princess Raccoon||貍御殿||Seijun Suzuki||Princess Tanuki|
|Memoirs of a Geisha||艺伎回忆录||Rob Marshall||Chiyo Sakamoto/Sayuri Nitta|
|2006||The Banquet||夜宴||Feng Xiaogang||Wan|
|2007||TMNT||忍者神龟||Kevin Munroe||Karai (Voice)|
|2008||Forever Enthralled||梅蘭芳||Chen Kaige||Meng Xiaodong|
|Sophie's Revenge||非常完美||Eva Jin||Sophie|
|The Founding of a Republic||建国大业||Huang Jianxin||Gong Peng (cameo)|
|2011||Love for Life||最爱||Gu Changwei||Qinqin|
|2012||Dangerous Liaisons||危险关系||Hur Jin-ho||Du Fenyu|
|2013||The Grandmaster||一代宗師||Wong Kar Wai||Gong Er|
|Better and Better||一越来越好之村晚||Zhang Yibai||Herself (cameo)|
|My Lucky Star||非常幸运||Dennie Gordon||Sophie|
|2014||The Crossing Part 1||太平轮||John Woo||Yu Zhen|
|2015||The Crossing Part 2||太平轮·彼岸||John Woo||Yu Zhen|
|Where's the Dragon?||龙在哪里?||Foo Sing-choong||Phoenix (Voice)|
|Oh My God||从天儿降||Wei Nan, Wei Min||Auntie (Cameo)|
|2016||Run for Love||奔爱||Zhang Yibai||Su Leqi|
|The Wasted Times||罗曼蒂克消亡史||Cheng Er||Xiao Liu|
|2017||God Particle||上帝粒子||Julius Onah|
|Forever Young||无问西东||Li Fangfang||Wang Minjia|
Awards and nominations
In 2008, she was awarded with the "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema" at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival.
In 2013, Zhang received the French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Awards.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Included in People's 100 Most Beautiful People in the World (2007). This is now her third appearance on the list after 2001 and 2003.
- 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|
- Four Promising Actress Four Young Chinese Stars
- "In the mood for oriental siren Zhang Ziyi". China Daily. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "She Makes Magic" TIMEasia.com 11 December 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
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- "Ziyi Zhang Biography – Yahoo! Movies" Archived 27 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Yahoo!. 11 May 2010.
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- "AIDS-themed film starring Zhang Ziyi and Aaron Kwok will open on May 10". Asia Pacific Arts. 03/07/2011. Check date values in:
- 《危险关系》开机，章子怡和张柏芝不想谈片酬 – Production of 'Liaisons' begins, Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung refuse to discuss their salaries (bilingual), Thinking Chinese, 28 September 2011
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- 撒贝宁被曝主动邀章子怡上央视 两人恋情早已公开 (in Chinese). 凤凰网. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
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- (Chinese) Golden Horse Awards official homepage 41st Golden Horse awards winners and nominees list Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 22 May 2013
- (Chinese) Golden Horse Awards official homepage 46th Golden Horse awards winners and nominees list Archived 16 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 22 May 2013
- (Chinese)13th Huabiao Awards winners list Retrieved 22 May 2013
- "Winners announced at the 7th Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 12 December 2013.
- (Chinese)Zhang Ziyi received "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema" Retrieved 22 May 2013
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