Zhang in March 2018
9 February 1979|
|Alma mater||Central Academy of Drama|
Wang Feng (m. 2015)
|Children||Wang Xingxing (daughter)|
Zhang Yuanxiao (father)|
Li Zhousheng (mother)
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
|Agency||William Morris Company|
In the West, Zhang is best known for her appearances in Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), and House of Flying Daggers (2004). Her most critically acclaimed works are Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), which earned her nominations 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 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.
Zhang most recently appeared in the J.J. Abrams-produced Netflix film The Cloverfield Paradox (2018). She will star in the upcoming film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to the 2014 franchise reboot film Godzilla.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Ambassadorship and representation
- 4 Defamation cases
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her father was an accountant and later economist, and her mother, a kindergarten teacher. She has an older brother with whom she was very close. 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 also appeared in a handful of tv commercials 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 in love with the town's young teacher, she 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 Yu Jiaolong in Ang Lee's re-visioned martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie's success in the US and Europe helped her break into Hollywood. 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. This role won her the Most Promising Actress award at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and Best Supporting Actress awards from the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
Zhang then appeared in her first American film, Rush Hour 2 (2001). On playing her first villain role, Zhang expressed that "the opportunity to sort of try and analyze the psyche of the character and get to know and pull out emotions I’ve never had to utilize before...was very exciting."
In 2002, Zhang co-starred in Hero alongside Tony Leung, directed by her early mentor Zhang Yimou. The film was a huge success in the English-speaking world 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 film 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), 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 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).
Zhang next starred in Wong Kar-wai's romantic drama film 2046 (2004), which featured many top Chinese actors and actresses. Critics praise Zhang for her "expressive" body language that was combined with her "reserved and complex emotions" in performance as a struggling prostitute. Zhang won the Hong Kong Film Critics' Award and Hong Kong Film Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 2005, Zhang featured in the critically acclaimed film Jasmine Women, adapted from Su Tong's novel titled Women's Lives. She won Best Actress at the Golden Rooster Awards for her performance. Next came Princess Raccoon (2005), directed by Japan's Seijun Suzuki, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. For her role, Zhang took two weeks of singing and dancing lessons in Japan.
Showing her whimsical musical tap-dancing side, Zhang played the lead role of Sayuri in the American film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. Controversy arose in China about having a Chinese woman portray a prominent Japanese geisha. Nonetheless, the film was a box office hit 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.
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 Mei's lover Meng Xiaodong. The Hollywood Reporter praised her performance as "confident and passion", giving the romance a sparkle.
Her next American film was The Horsemen (2009), where she starred opposite Dennis Quaid. Back in China, she played the titular character in romantic comedy Sophie's Revenge (2009); a comic book artist seeking to punish her unfaithful boyfriend. She then starred alongside Aaron Kwok in the AIDS-themed film Love for Life (2011).
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, she was cast in the coming-of-age film Forever Young directed and written by Li Fangfang. The film premiered in January 2018.
2013–17: 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. Critics praise Zhang's portrayal of Gong'Er as the "best performance she's ever delivered in the history of her career." which led to her winning several "Best Actress" trophies across Asia. The same year, she reprised her role as Sophie in My Lucky Star, a sequel to Sophie's Revenge. Described as Zhang's "breakthrough comedy role", the film topped Chinese box office on the week of its release.
In 2014, Zhang starred in John Woo's romantic epic The Crossing, based on the true story of the Taiping steamer collision and follows six characters and their intertwining love stories in Taiwan and Shanghai during the 1930s. Zhang plays a poor illiterate woman waiting for her soldier lover in 1930's Shanghai.
In 2015, Zhang produced her third film Oh My God, which stars Zhang Yixing and Li Xiaolu. She made a cameo appearance in the film. Zhang next starred in romance anthology film Run for Love and crime epic The Wasted Times.
2018–present: Hollywood epics
Ambassadorship and representation
- Omega Watches Ambassador
- Visa Ambassador
- Maybelline Ambassador
- Precious Platinum Ambassador
- Garnier Ambassador
- Spokesperson for "Care for Children"
- Global Ambassador for China's Special Olympics
- Image Ambassador for 1st Beijing International Film Festival
- Ambassador for the ScreenSingapore 2011 film festival
- Global Ambassador for the Children of China Pediatrics Foundation (CCPF), which does medical care for orphans 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 had been engaged to the Israeli American venture capitalist Aviv Nevo before the couple separated in 2010. Zhang married Chinese rock musician Wang Feng in May 2015. On December 27, 2015, Zhang gave birth to their daughter Wang Xingxing.
|Year||English title||Original title||Director||Role|
|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||N/A||Brett Ratner||Hu Li|
|The Legend of Zu||蜀山傳||Tsui Hark||Joy (special appearance)|
|Musa||무사||Kim Sung-su||Princess Bu-yong|
|2003||Purple Butterfly||紫蝴蝶||Lou Ye||Cynthia|
|My Wife is a Gangster 2||조폭 마누라 2 - 돌아온 전설||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||オペレッタ狸御殿||Seijun Suzuki||Princess Tanuki|
|Memoirs of a Geisha||N/A||Rob Marshall||Chiyo Sakamoto/Sayuri Nitta|
|2006||The Banquet||夜宴||Feng Xiaogang||Wan|
|2007||TMNT||N/A||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|
|2018||Forever Young||无问西东||Li Fangfang||Wang Minjia|
|The Cloverfield Paradox||N/A||Julius Onah||Tam|
|2019||Godzilla: King of the Monsters||N/A||Michael Dougherty||Dr. Chen|
Awards and nominations
In 2010, she was named "Actress of the Decade" by CineAsia. She previously won "Star of Tomorrow prize" back in 1999.
In 2013, Zhang received the Order of Arts and Letter 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.
- Listed among 50 Most Beautiful Female Celebrities by the Los Angeles Times.
- "章子怡：第12座奖杯，是一个轮回，更是新的开始". ifeng (in Chinese). 14 October 2014.
- Kit, Borys (June 8, 2017). "Zhang Ziyi Joins Kyle Chandler in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
- "In the mood for oriental siren Zhang Ziyi". China Daily. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "She Makes Magic" Time Asia 11 December 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
- "Zhang Ziyi, The One that Loves You Most Is Me" Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Hao Rizi Magazine. March 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- "Ziyi Zhang Biography – Yahoo! Movies" Archived 27 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Yahoo!. 11 May 2010.
- "Award for The Road Home" Archived 9 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine. retrieved 30 April 2013
- "Five iconic Chinese Actresses". BFI. 10 June 2014.
- "Zhang Ziyi China's gift to Hollywood". South China Morning Post. 6 June 2005.
- "Chicago Film Critics Awards - 1998-2007". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Tiger Takes 3 Spirit Awards". ABC News. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "PAST AWARD WINNERS". Toronto Film Critics Association. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- ""Rush Hour 2": Zhang Ziyi Interview". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Golden Globe nominees, winners". CNN. 19 January 2003.
- King, Loren (22 August 2004). "`Hero' shows Zhang Yimou at his best". Chicago Tribune.
- "Purple Butterfly". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "House of Flying Daggers". The Guardian. 24 December 2004.
- "Cross-Cultural Perspectives: China's House of Flying Daggers". ULCA International Institute. 1 October 2003.
- "Vera Drake picks up 11 Bafta nominations". The Guardian. 18 January 2005.
- "'Put the Blame on…Mei': Zhang Ziyi and the Politics of Global Stardom". The Femme Fatale: Images, Histories, Contexts. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Zhang Ziyi to star in Wong Kar-Wai's 2046". Screen International. 23 March 2001.
- "Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi win HK film critics' awards". China Daily. 27 March 2005.
- "Hong Kong Film Awards". China Daily. 19 January 2005.
- "Zhang Ziyi's 'Jasmine Women' finally blossoms". China Daily. 20 April 2004.
- "Zhang Stars in Japanese Film "Operetta"". China Radio International. 16 March 2006.
- "Memoirs of a very controversial geisha". The Telegraph. 2 December 2005.
- "China ban for Memoirs of a Geisha". BBC News. 2 February 2006.
- "Zhang Ziyi nominated for Golden Globe best actress". China Daily. 14 December 2005.
- "The memorable Ziyi Zhang". BBC News. 25 January 2006.
- "Zhang Ziyi Nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award". China Radio International. 7 January 2006.
- "Academy Invites 112 to Membership" Oscars. 24 June 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
- "THE Juries 2006". Festival De Cannes. Retrieved 28 May 2006.
- "Zhang Ziyi stars in 'The Banquet'". China Daily. 24 August 2006.
- "Zhang Ziyi boards Feng's $15m Banquet". Screen International. 18 July 2005.
- "'Turtles' live again in CGI spinoff 'TMNT'". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 March 2007.
- "Forever Enthralled -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 14 January 2009.
- "Thesp pair giddy-up for 'Horsemen'". Variety. 31 October 2006.
- "Zhang Ziyi, Dennis Quaid to star in crime thriller". Hürriyet Daily News. 11 August 2006. Archived from the original on 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Would You Like to See Zhang Ziyi in a Comedy?". China Radio International. 18 August 2009.
- "AIDS-themed film starring Zhang Ziyi and Aaron Kwok will open on May 10". Asia Pacific Arts. 3 July 2011.
- "Jang Dong-gun to co-star with Zhang Ziyi, Cecilia Cheung". The Korea Times. 23 September 2011. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012.
- "Paying up for star power". Week in China. 7 October 2011.
- "Sharing secrets of success". China Daily. December 14, 2017.
- "Zhang Ziyi Honored With Order of Arts and Letters Chevalier". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 February 2013.
- "Zhang Ziyi wins ten film awards for 'The Grandmaster'". China Daily. 28 April 2014.
- "Crouching Tiger actress Zhang Ziyi says 'yes' to drone marriage proposal". The Telegraph. 9 February 2013.
- "'My Lucky Star': Zhang Ziyi shines in frothy rom-com". The Seattle Times. 19 September 2013.
- "Zhang Ziyi Tops China Box Office With Romantic Spy Movie 'My Lucky Star'". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 September 2013.
- "Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Ziyi Cast in New John Woo Film". The Diplomat. 18 June 2013.
- Mary Ann Simuangco. ""The Baby from Universe" Films with Zhang Ziyi and EXO's Lay". Asian Movie Pulse. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "'Run for Love', Starring Zhang Ziyi to be Screened on Feb. 14th". China Topix. 13 January 2016.
- "Zhang Ziyi, Ge You reunite in 'Wasted Times'". China.org.cn. 14 December 2016.
- "Zhang Ziyi Joins J.J. Abrams' Sci-Fi Thriller 'God Particle'". The Hollywood Reporter. 26 May 2016.
- "Zhang Ziyi Joins Kyle Chandler in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'". The Hollywood Reporter. 8 June 2017.
- "ZHANG ZIYI JOINS OMEGA IN TOKYO". Omega Watches. 23 April 2010.
- "Zhang Ziyi promotes care for children". Sina. 11 December 2007.
- "Zhang Ziyi, Global Ambassador". Special Olympics. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Jackie Chan, Zhang Ziyi to represent Beijing film fest". People's Daily. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Actress Zhang Ziyi named ambassador for ScreenSingapore 2011, What's on Ningbo, 26 May 2011
- "China's Zhang Ziyi wins sex claims case against Boxun". BBC News. 18 December 2013.
- "Chris Martin Works Magic with Ziyi Zhang". The Diplomat. 9 April 2014.
- "Report: Zhang Ziyi now Hong Kong resident". Xinhua News Agency. 24 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Shen Jing-dong Colours the SAR". Hong Kong Tatler. 17 September 2010. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013.
- "Celebrities Attend 14th National Congress of China Zhigong Party - All China Women's Federation". Women of China. 4 December 2012.
- 'Crouching Tiger' actor Zhang Ziyi says yes to boyfriend's drone proposal Rachel Clun, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 February 2015
- Ward, Vicky. "Veni, Vidi, Vivi". The Hive. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
- "Zhang Ziyi and Wang Feng got married in Hong Kong on May 10". The Straits Times. 19 November 2015.
- "Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi gives birth to baby girl". CBS News. Associated Press. 28 December 2015.
- "Zhang Ziyi received "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema"". Sina (in Chinese). Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- "Zhang Ziyi Named Actress of the Decade". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Ziyi poses for Playboy" China Daily. 10 March 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
- "Zhang Ziyi Listed Among 50 Most Beautiful Female Celebrities". Women of China. 19 March 2013.
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