Zhang Ziyi

 

(章子怡)

Chinese Actress

 

Born in Beijin (China) in 1979

Zhang Ziyi is one of the best-known Chinese film actresses working today, with a string of Chinese and international hits to her name.

Born in Beijing, China, Zhang Ziyi joined the Beijing Dance Academy at the age of 11, and at 15 she entered China's prestigious Central Academy of Drama (regarded as the top acting college in China).

 

At the age of 19, she was offered her first role in world renowned director Zhang Yimou's The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear award in the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.

 

              

 

 

 

 

Zhang further rose to fame due to her role as the headstrong Jen in the phenomenally successful Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she won the Independent Spirit's Best Supporting Actress Award and the Toronto Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress Award.

Her first appearance in an American movie was in Rush Hour 2, but as she didn't speak English at the time, Jackie Chan had to translate everything the director said to her.

After this she went on to make Hero with her early mentor Zhang Yimou, which was a huge success in the English-speaking world and an Oscar and a Golden Globe contender. Her next film was the avant-garde drama Purple Butterfly by Lou Zhe which competed at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

She went back to the martial arts genre with House of Flying Daggers, which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

For her next drama 2046, directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring many of the best-known Chinese actresses (from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland), Zhang as the female lead 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 82-year-old Japanese legend Seijun Suzuki who was honored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2005, she landed the lead role of Sayuri in the film adaptation of the international bestseller Memoirs of a 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, she received a 2006 Golden Globe Award 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. The song was also featured in a scene in the film.

In 2006, Zhang became the youngest member to sit on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival.

In the fall of 2006, Zhang' most recent film was released, a new drama set in the Tang Dynasty of China called The Banquet

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