BIOGRAPHY FOR ZHANG ZIYI
Ziyi Zhang (Chinese: 章子怡, pinyin: Zhāng Zǐyí; born Feb. 9, 1979 (32 years ago)) is a Chinese movie actress and singer. Zhang is considered one of the Four Young Dan actresses (四小花旦) in China, along with Zhao Wei, Xu Jinglei, and Zhou Xun. With a string of Chinese and international hits to her name, she has worked with renowned directors such as Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, Lou Ye, Seijun Suzuki, Feng Xiaogang and Rob Marshall.
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China, the daughter of Zhang Yuanxiao, an economist, and Li Zhousheng, a kindergarten teacher. Zhang joined the Beijing Dance Academy at the age of 11. When Zhang's parents suggested she attend the school, she was skeptical. While at this boarding school, she noticed how catty the other girls were while competing for status amongst the teachers. Zhang disliked the attitudes of peers and teachers, so much that, on one occasion, she ran away from the school.
Zhang entered China's prestigious Central Academy of Drama (regarded as the top acting college in China) at the age of 15.
At the age of 19, Zhang was offered her first role in Zhang Yimou's The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear award in the 2000 (11 years ago) Berlin movie Festival.
Zhang further rose to fame due to her role as the headstrong Jen (Chinese version: Xia Long) in the phenomenally successful Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she won several awards in the West, such as Chicago movie Critics Association Awards, Toronto movie Critics Association Awards and Independent Spirit Awards. Zhang's first appearance in an American movie was in Rush Hour 2, but because she didn't speak English at the time, Jackie Chan had to interpret everything the director said to her. In the movie, her character's name, "Hu Li," is translated from Mandarin Chinese to "Fox".
Zhang then appeared in Hero, with her early mentor Zhang Yimou, which was a huge success in the English-speaking world and nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award. Her next movie was the avant-garde drama Purple Butterfly by Lou Ye, which competed at the 2003 (8 years ago) Cannes movie Festival. Zhang went back to the martial arts genre with House of Flying Daggers (十面埋伏), which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of movie and TV Arts.
In 2046, 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 movie Critics' Best Actress Award and the Hong Kong movie 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 (6 years ago) Cannes movie Festival.
In 2005 (6 years ago), Zhang landed the lead role of Sayuri in the movie adaptation of the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. There was a slight controversy in Japan about a Chinese woman portraying a Japanese Geisha. For the film, she reunited with her 2046 co-star Gong Li and with her Crouching Tiger co-star Michelle Yeoh. For the role, Zhang received a 2006 (5 years ago) 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 Jun. 27, 2005 (6 years ago), it was announced that Zhang had accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion picture (wallpaper) Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those able to vote on the Academy Awards.
In May 2006 (5 years ago), Zhang became the youngest member to sit on the jury of the Cannes movie Festival. In the fall of 2006 (5 years ago), Zhang played Empress Wan in The Banquet (Yè Yàn 夜宴), a movie set in the Tang Dynasty.
Zhang provided the voice of Karai in the TMNT movie that was released on Mar. 23, 2007 (4 years ago). She later starred in Forever Enthralled (Mei Lanfang) (2008, 3 years ago) and appeared in The Horsemen (2009, 2 years ago) with Dennis Quaid.
Soon after Zhang's debut in Zhang Yimou's The Road Home, rumors arose regarding a possible affair between the actress and the older director. Zhang Yimou was previously involved in an extramarital affair with actress Gong Li, whom he similarly debuted and with whom Zhang Ziyi was quickly compared. However, a relationship between the two remains unconfirmed.
Hong Kong and Taiwanese media have often pushed at ties between Zhang and co-star Jackie Chan. This was fueled in part by photos that emerged of the pair during celebrations of Chan's birthday on the set of Rush Hour 2.
Zhang for a while was publicly linked with Fok Kai-shan, grandson of Hong Kong business tycoon Henry Fok.
In the Jul. 2006 (5 years ago) issue of Interview Magazine, Zhang Ziyi 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 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. ”
She stated in an early interview that if she had not become an actress, she would have liked to have been a kindergarten teacher, as she "...loves children!"
In Jan. 2007 (4 years ago), Zhang was spotted holding hands and kissing her new boyfriend at a New York basketball game. The man was identified as Israeli multi-millionaire and venture capitalist, Vivi Nevo. The two were again seen together at an Oscar party in Los Angeles. Nevo, who has previously been tied to model Kate Moss, is a major shareholder in Time Warner and an early backer of The Weinstein Company with whom Zhang is purported to have a multi-film deal. Zhang Ziyi and Nevo are currently engaged.
Of the characters making up her name, Zhāng (章) is her surname (not to be confused with the more common Zhāng 张 which is a homonym but written with a different character), Zǐ (子) means 'child' or 'esteemed person', and Yí (怡) means 'joy' or 'happiness'. She has appeared in English language movies under the name Ziyi Zhang. In an interview, she stated that the name change was her publicist's idea of a way to appeal to Western audiences.
1999 (12 years ago): The Road Home 我的父親母親
2000 (11 years ago): Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 臥虎藏龍
2001 (10 years ago): Rush Hour 2 尖峰时刻2
2001 (10 years ago): The Legend of Zu 蜀山傳
2001 (10 years ago): Musa 武士
2002 (9 years ago): Hero 英雄
2003 (8 years ago): Purple Butterfly 紫蝴蝶
2003 (8 years ago): My Wife is a Gangster 2 我老婆是大佬2
2004 (7 years ago): 2046
2004 (7 years ago): House of Flying Daggers 十面埋伏
2004 (7 years ago): Jasmine Women 茉莉花開開
2005 (6 years ago): Princess Raccoon 貍御殿
2005 (6 years ago): Memoirs of a Geisha 艺伎回忆录
2006 (5 years ago): The Banquet 夜宴
2007 (4 years ago): TMNT
2008 (3 years ago): Forever Enthralled 梅蘭芳
2009 (2 years ago): Horsemen 骑士
2009 (2 years ago): Sophie's Revenge
2009 (2 years ago): The Founding of a Republic
2009 (2 years ago): Lost for Words
2010 (last year): Waiting
1996 (15 years ago): Touching Starlight 星星點燈
Ranked 2nd of the 100 Sexiest Women by FHM Taiwan (2001, 10 years ago).
Named one of the 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 by Teen People Magazine (2001, 10 years ago).
Named one of the 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 by Teen People Magazine (2002, 9 years ago).
Ranked #91 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women In The World" (2002, 9 years ago)
Voted in at #100 in FHM's Sexiest 100 Girls of 2002 (9 years ago), UK edition. [June 2002]
Forbes magazine's China edition recently ranked her the second most popular celebrity after NBA player 'Yao Ming'. [August 2004]
Named by Entertainment Weekly in their 'The Must List' 2005 (6 years ago). 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 (6 years ago).
Listed in People's '50 Most Beautiful People' List in 2005 (6 years ago).
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 Jul. 2005 (6 years ago) 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 (5 years ago). This is now her third appearance on the list.
Voted in at #86 in FHM's sexiest women in the world in 2006 (5 years ago). She had not appeared in the list since 2002 (9 years ago).
Topped Japanese Playboy's "100 Sexiest Women in Asia" list and was featured on the cover. (April 2006 (5 years ago))
Voted #1 in E!'s Sexiest Action Stars list in summer 2007 (4 years ago).
Ranked #3 in Japanese magazine CLASSY's 'Super Perfect Head-to-Body Size Ratio List' in Jan. 2009 (2 years ago).