Zhou Xun

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Zhou Xun
Background information
Chinese name
Pinyin Zhōu Xùn (Mandarin)
Jyutping Zau1 Seon3 (Cantonese)
Vietnamese name Chu Tấn
Born (1974-10-18) October 18, 1974 (age 42)
Quzhou, Zhejiang
Occupation Actress, Singer
Voice type(s) Lyric Contralto
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Archie Kao (m. 2014)
Parents Zhou Tianning (father)
Chen Yiqin (mother)

Zhou Xun (born October 18, 1974) is a Chinese actress and singer. She gained international fame for her earlier roles in Suzhou River (2000) and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002).

Zhou has won Best Actress honors from Asian Film Awards, Beijing College Student Film Festival, Chinese Director's Association Awards, Chinese Film Media Awards, Golden Bauhinia Awards, Golden Horse Awards, Golden Rooster Awards, Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards and Shanghai Film Critics Awards; as well as the French award-giving body Festival du Film de Paris. She is regarded as one of the Four Dan Actresses of China.

Early life[edit]

Zhou was born to a middle-class family in Quzhou, Zhejiang. Her father, Zhou Tianning (周天宁), was a local film projectionist, and her mother, Chen Yiqin (陈以琴), was a salesperson at a department store. She had her schooling in Quzhou No.1 Middle School. After she graduated,Zhou enrolled at the Zhejiang Arts Institute to further her interest in dramatic arts, against the wishes of her parents, who wanted her to graduate from a university. She was handpicked for a role in the film Strange Tales Amongst Old and Desolate Tombs during her teenage years in school.

Acting career[edit]

1995–2004: Beginnings and Breakthrough[edit]

Zhou debuted in the comedy movie The Pampered Wife. She next starred in Chen Kaige's films, Temptress Moon and The Emperor and the Assassin. But it was not until in 2000 that Zhou received recognition in China. With her role as young Princess Taiping in historical drama Palace of Desire, Zhou received the Audience's Choice for Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards at the 18th China TV Golden Eagle Award.[1]

Zhou achieved breakthrough on the big screen with Lou Ye's Suzhou River (2000), which received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.[2] She won the Best Actress award at the 15th Festival du Film de Paris. That year, she was named one of the Four Dan Actresses alongside Zhang Ziyi, Zhao Wei and Xu Jinglei.[3] She further achieved international recognition when she starred in the Franco-Chinese romance drama film Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002).[4]

A string of successful projects followed. In her first Hong Kong film Hollywood Hong Kong directed by Fruit Chan, Zhou impressed critics with her performance. Hollywood magazine Variety praise Zhou saying "Zhou is superb, moving with ease between her various personalities and always convincing in each".[5] Her next film, romance-themed A Pinwheel Without Wind won her the Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Actress.[6] Among Zhou's earlier notable works also include television series The Legend of the Condor Heroes and the film Baobei in Love.[7]

2005–2012: Critical acclaim[edit]

Zhou impressed critics once again with her performance in Peter Chan's musical film Perhaps Love (2005). The film represented Hong Kong at the 2006 Academy Awards.[8] Zhou received Best Actress awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards,[9] Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award,[10] Golden Bauhinia Awards[11] and Golden Horse Awards.[12]

She next starred in Feng Xiaogang's wuxia film The Banquet, inspired from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Zhou plays the girlfriend of the crown prince, equivalent to Ophelia.[13] She won the Golden Bauhinia Awards[14] and Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress.[15]

With a string of successful films, Zhou was brought into the spotlight as one of China's top actresses. Her ability to pull off various roles makes her a favorite with Chinese directors and won her the reputation of "Angel in the World" among the audience.[16]

Zhou's next project was Susie Au's film Ming Ming (2007), which was highly praised at the 11th Pusan International Film Festival. Zhou played dual roles - twins with absolutely different characteristics and personalities.[17]

In 2008, Zhou starred in Cao Baoping's romantic thriller The Equation of Love and Death as a taxicab driver on the lookout for her missing boyfriend.[18] Critics again praised Zhou, crediting the film's success to Zhou's performance as Li Mi.[19] Zhou went on to receive Best Actress awards at the Asian Film Awards,[20] Shanghai Film Critics Awards,[21] Golden Rooster Film Festival,[22] and Chinese Film Media Awards.[23]

She then appeared in Gordon Chan's horror-adventure film Painted Skin, a remake of a classic supernatural thriller of the same title.[24] Next came spy thriller The Message, about Japanese invaders in China who try to ferret out a spy among their Chinese collaborators.[25]

In 2009, Zhou was named the Star of the Year at CineAsia exhibition and distribution convention in Hong Kong.[26] Asia-Pacific Producers Network (APN) also honored her as the Asian Star of the Year for her exemplary box office achievements.[27] In an interview with CNN, Zhou was named Asia's 25 greatest actors of all time.[28]

Zhou next filmed her first wuxia film, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate directed by Tsui Hark.[29] She also featured in biographic drama film Confucius.[30]

2012–present: Directorial and Hollywood debut, Television comeback[edit]

Zhou made her directorial debut with the short film Five Demon Traps (2011), which stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai as a demon killer.[31]

In 2012, Zhou made her Hollywood debut in the science fiction film Cloud Atlas, playing multiple roles in the film.[32]

Zhou then reprised her role in Painted Skin: The Resurrection (2012), the sequel to Painted Skin.[33] The film grossed over the 700 million yuan ($109.8 million) landmark, becoming the highest-grossing Chinese-language movie of all time then.[34]

Zhou returned to television after 10 years in Red Sorghum (2014), based on Nobel prize laureate Mo Yan's 1986/1987 novel of the same name.[35] Zhou's performance in the series was highly praised by the author himself for her immaculate grasp of the character's inner turmoil.[36] Zhou won the Best Actress Award at the Shanghai Television Festival[37] and Asian Television Award.[38]

The same year, she received the Chevalier medal in the Order of Arts and Letters by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for her contribution in film, public welfare and Sino-French communications in Beijing, China.[39] She was also rated as China's favorite star, ranking first on the 15th Huading Award international celebrity's satisfaction survey.[40]

In 2015, Zhou served as a jury for the 5th Beijing International Film Festival.[41]

Social activities[edit]

Zhou Xun was named the first United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador for China in 2008 with a special focus of promoting environmental sustainability.[42][43] Zhou jointly runs a campaign 'Our Part', which promotes ‘tips for green living’.[44]

In 2010, she became the Laureate of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s Champions of the Earth (Inspiration & Action). She was the first entertainer in the world to receive this honour.[45] She was also the Green Ambassador for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.[46]

In 2011, Zhou has been honored as one of the 2011 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum.[47]


Since 2011, Zhou was formally announced as a new ambassador for Chanel. Chanel chief designer Karl Lagerfeld noted Zhou Xun for her strong fashion sense, describing the actress as "a synthesis of young Coco Chanel and Ballet Troupe Zizi Jeanmaire."[48][49]

Personal life[edit]

Zhou Xun married American actor Archie Kao on July 16, 2014 on stage after a charity event in Hangzhou, China.[50]

Zhou received Hong Kong citizenship under the "Quality Migrant Admission Scheme".[51]



Year Title Chinese Title Role Notes
1991 Old Grave 古墓荒斋 Jiao Na
1993 Story of Rouge Chamber 胭楼记 Zheng Yue'e
1995 The Pampered Wife 小娇妻 Yangyang
Nü'er Hong 女儿红 Hua Dao
1996 Temptress Moon 风月 Little dance girl
1998 My Rice Noodle Shop 花桥荣记 Xie Yan
1999 The Emperor and the Assassin 荊軻刺秦王 Blind girl
2000 Suzhou River 苏州河 Mei Mei / Mou Dan
If I Lose You 如果没有爱 Xun
2001 Beijing Bicycle 十七岁的单车 Hong Qin
Hollywood Hong Kong 香港有个好莱坞 Hung Hung/Tong Tong
2002 A Pinwheel Without Wind 烟雨红颜 Zhao Ningjing
Where Have All the Flowers Gone 那时花开 Huan Zi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress 巴尔扎克和小裁缝 Little seamstress
2004 Baobei in Love 恋爱中的宝贝 Bao Bei
2005 A West Lake Moment 鸳鸯蝴蝶 Xiao Yu
Beauty Remains 美人依旧 Xiao Fei
Stolen Life 生死劫 Yan Ni
Perhaps Love 如果·爱 Sun Na
2006 The Banquet 夜宴 Qingnü
2007 Ming Ming 明明 Mingming / Nana
2008 The Equation of Love and Death 李米的猜想 Li Mi
Painted Skin 画皮 Xiao Wei
All About Women 女人不坏 Ou Fanfan [52]
2009 The Message 风声 Gu Xiaomeng
2010 Confucius 孔子 Nanzi
True Legend 苏乞儿 Yuan Ying
2011 The Founding of a Party 建党伟业 Wang Huiwu
The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 龙门飞甲 Jade
2012 The Great Magician 大魔术师 Liu Yin [53]
Painted Skin: The Resurrection 画皮II Xiao Wei
The Silent War 听风者 Zhang Xuening [54]
Cloud Atlas 云图 Talbot/Hotel Manager
2014 Overheard 3 窃听风云3 Ruan Yuehua [55]
Women Who Flirt 撒娇女人最好命 Zhang Hui
Meet Miss Anxiety 我的早更女友 Qi Jia [56]
2017 Remain Silent 保持沉默 Duan Mulan [57]
The Great Escape 明月几时有 Fang Gu [58]


Year Title Chinese Title Role Notes
1997 Hong Chu Fang 红处方 Shen Pei
1998 Jingtan Fengyun 警坛风云 Lin Peipei
1999 Lüyi Hongniang 绿衣红娘 Fan Xiaoxuan
2000 Jinqian Bense 金钱本色 Mandy
Kaixin Jiuhao 开心就好 Tan Gege
Palace of Desire 大明宫词 young Princess Taiping
April Rhapsody 人间四月天 Lin Huiyin
The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom 太平天国 Shi Yiyang
Xin Wang 心网 Na Niu
Yuanlai Yijiaren 缘来一家人 Tao Tao
2001 Love Story in Shanghai 像雾像雨又像风 Du Xinyu
2002 Ripening Orange 橘子红了 Xiu He
2003 The Legend of the Condor Heroes 射雕英雄传 Huang Rong
Beach 海滩 A'Tong
Business Family 买办之家 Su Boyuan/Xia He
2014 Red Sorghum 红高粱 Jiu'er/Cang Jiulian
2017 Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace 如懿传 Ulanara·Ruyi [59]

Voiced films[edit]

  • Nature is Speaking (2015)[60]
  • The Little Prince (2015)[61]
  • Born in China (2016)[62]




  1. ^ "第一届金鹰节获奖名单暨第18届电视金鹰奖获奖名单". Hunan TV (in Chinese). 2008-07-25. 
  2. ^ "Chinese movie hits Europe". China Daily. 2003-12-31. 
  3. ^ "Zhou Xun: China's queen of quirk". CNN. 2010-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Actress and Environmentalist Zhou Xun". China Radio International. 2008-06-10. 
  5. ^ "Review: ‘Hollywood, Hong Kong’". Variety. 2001-09-04. 
  6. ^ "Galaxy of stars come out for film awards". China Daily. 2002-10-23. 
  7. ^ "'Baober in Love' Draws Raves, Rants and Crowds". China.org.cn. 2004-04-24. 
  8. ^ "HK musical"Perhaps Love" debutes in Beijing". Sina. Xinhua News Agency. 2005-11-30. 
  9. ^ "Zhou Xun Won Best Actress". China Radio International. 2006-04-10. 
  10. ^ "Zhou won the Best Actress award in HK". China Daily. 2006-02-23. 
  11. ^ "11th HK Golden Bauhinia Awards". China.org.cn. 2006-08-14. 
  12. ^ "Zhou Xun Takes Top Honor at Taiwan's Golden Horse Film Awards". China.org.cn. 2006-11-26. 
  13. ^ "Zhou Xun in THE BANQUET". China Radio International. 2006-04-27. 
  14. ^ "Beijing Confidential". China Daily. 2009-09-27. 
  15. ^ "Chinese mainland stars who have won at the HKFA". China Daily. 2014-04-14. 
  16. ^ "Zhou Xun: angel in the world". China Daily. 2010-01-29. 
  17. ^ "Zhou Xun's Latest Film "Ming Ming"". China Radio International. 2007-04-13. 
  18. ^ "Zhou Xun-'The Equation of Love and Death'". China Radio International. 2009-10-13. 
  19. ^ "The Equation of Love and Death". Foreigner.cn.com. 2009-08-31. 
  20. ^ "Zhou Xun Crowned at Asian Film Awards". China Radio International. 2009-03-24. 
  21. ^ "第18届永乐杯上海影评人奖揭晓". Sina (in Chinese). 2009-06-13. 
  22. ^ "Zhou Xun Celebrates 35th Birthday and Best Actress Award". China Radio International. 2009-10-19. 
  23. ^ "华语电影传媒大奖揭晓 范伟周迅称帝封后". Tencent (in Chinese). 2009-06-21. 
  24. ^ "Stills of All-star Movie Painted Skin Made Public". China Radio International. 2008-06-16. 
  25. ^ "New Posters of "The Message" Released". China Radio International. 2009-06-08. 
  26. ^ "Chinese actress Zhou Xun to be honored as 'Star of the year'". The Independent. 2009-11-14. 
  27. ^ "周迅笑傲亚洲影坛 斩获“年度亚洲之星”大奖". 21.cn.com (in Chinese). 2009-06-16. 
  28. ^ "Asia’s 25 greatest actors of all time". CNN. 2010-03-04. 
  29. ^ "'The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate' Starts Filming". China Radio International. 2010-10-11. 
  30. ^ "Confucius, he safe". China Daily. 2009-05-28. 
  31. ^ "Actress Zhou Xun Tries on Directing". China Radio International. 2011-12-27. 
  32. ^ "‘Cloud Atlas’ Raises Zhou Xun’s Profile". The Wall Street Journal. 2011-09-15. 
  33. ^ "Re-imagined fantasy about love". China Daily. 2012-08-03. 
  34. ^ "Ludicrous 'Painted Skin'". The China Post. 2012-07-13. 
  35. ^ "Zhou Xun to lead TV adaptation of 'Red Sorghum'". China Daily. 2013-08-14. 
  36. ^ "Chinese female stars' wage unveiled". Sina. 2015-01-15. 
  37. ^ "21st Shanghai Television Festival". China.org.cn. 2015-06-13. 
  38. ^ "2015 Winners". Asian Television Awards. 2015-12-02. 
  39. ^ "Zhou Xun awarded honour of Chevalier in order of Arts and Letters". Sina. China Daily. 2014-02-24. 
  40. ^ "Zhou Xun rated as China's favorite star". Sina. China Daily. 2014-11-27. 
  41. ^ "Beijing film fest announces A-list jury and events". China.org.cn. 2015-03-20. 
  42. ^ "Zhou Xun, 1st UNDP Goodwill Ambassador". China Daily. undp.org.cn. 2009-08-05. 
  43. ^ "Actress Promotes Environmental Protection". China Radio International. 2005-05-31. 
  44. ^ "Zhou Xun Protects Environment with UNDP". China Radio International. 2008-03-05. 
  45. ^ "Chinese actress wins UN environment award". The Independent. 2010-04-21. 
  46. ^ "Zhou Xun:Expo green queen". China Daily. Shanghai Daily. 2009-05-06. 
  47. ^ "Actress Zhou Xun among Young Global Leaders". China Daily. China Radio International. 2011-03-18. 
  48. ^ "Zhou Xun to become the Chinese ambassador for Chanel". Asia Pacific Arts. 2011-10-18. 
  49. ^ "Zhou Xun Chanel Ambassadress For China". Chanel. 2011-10-18. 
  50. ^ "Zhou Xun and Archie Kao Wed in Surprise Public Ceremony in China". People Magazine. 2014-07-17. 
  51. ^ "Zhou Xun Obtains Hong Kong Citizenship". China Radio International. 2009-02-08. 
  52. ^ ""Not All Women Are Bad", a contemporary comedy". CCTV. 2008-10-11. 
  53. ^ "'The Great Magician'". China Radio International. 2011-12-20. 
  54. ^ "Tony Leung, Zhou Xun Play 'The Silent War'". China Radio International. 2012-07-02. 
  55. ^ "Overheard 3". China Radio International. 2012-06-05. 
  56. ^ "Zhou Xun and Tong Dawei shoot for new movie". Sina. Xinhua News Agency. 2014-09-26. 
  57. ^ "《保持沉默》海报曝光 周迅吴镇宇祖峰三足鼎立". ent.ifeng (in Chinese). 2016-06-24. 
  58. ^ "Ann Hui's new war epic marks HK's return to China". China.org.cn. 2017-02-10. 
  59. ^ "'Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace' expected to release in 2017". China Daily. 2016-10-12. 
  60. ^ "Top stars lend voices to 'Nature Is Speaking'". China.org.cn. 2015-04-13. 
  61. ^ "Huang Bo and Zhou Xun Join Chinese Version of The Little Prince". China Radio International. 2015-09-11. 
  62. ^ "'Born in China' due for release on Aug 12". China Daily. China Radio International. 2016-07-08. 
  63. ^ "Zhou Xun, Anthony Wong Shoot "Ming Ming" Music Video". China Radio International. 2007-03-28. 
  64. ^ "Actress Zhou Xun croons for 'True Legend'". China.org.cn. China Radio International. 2010-01-26. 
  65. ^ "Zhou Xun releases new song for Christmas". Sina. Xinhua News Agency. 2014-12-05. 

External links[edit]

Asian Film Awards
Preceded by
Jeon Do-yeon
for Secret Sunshine
Best Actress
for The Equation of Love and Death
Succeeded by
Kim Hye-ja
for Mother
Golden Bauhinia Awards
Preceded by
Rene Liu
for A World Without Thieves
Best Actress
for Perhaps Love
Succeeded by
Gong Li
for Curse of the Golden Flower
Charlene Choi
for Simply Actors
Preceded by
Teresa Mo
for 2 Young
Best Supporting Actress
for The Banquet
Succeeded by
Golden Horse Awards
Preceded by
Shu Qi
for Three Times
Best Actress
for Perhaps Love
Succeeded by
Joan Chen
for The Home Song Stories
Hong Kong Film Awards
Preceded by
Zhang Ziyi
for 2046
Best Actress
for Perhaps Love
Succeeded by
Gong Li
for Curse of the Golden Flower
Preceded by
Teresa Mo
for 2 Young
Best Supporting Actress
for The Banquet
Succeeded by
Susan Shaw
for The Pye-Dog
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
Preceded by
Zhang Ziyi
for 2046
Best Actress
for Perhaps Love
Succeeded by
Gong Li
for Curse of the Golden Flower