Zhang Ziyi

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Zhang Ziyi
ZhangZiyi Amfar.jpg
Zhang Ziyi in May 2011
Chinese name章子怡
PinyinZhāng Zǐyí (Mandarin)
Born(1979-02-09) 9 February 1979 (age 35)
Beijing, China
OccupationActress, model
Years active1996–present
ParentsZhang Yuanxiao (father)
Li Zhousheng (mother)
Official Websitewww.ziyitoday.com
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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.
Zhang Ziyi
ZhangZiyi Amfar.jpg
Zhang Ziyi in May 2011
Chinese name章子怡
PinyinZhāng Zǐyí (Mandarin)
Born(1979-02-09) 9 February 1979 (age 35)
Beijing, China
OccupationActress, model
Years active1996–present
ParentsZhang Yuanxiao (father)
Li Zhousheng (mother)
Official Websitewww.ziyitoday.com

Zhang Ziyi (born 9 February 1979), sometimes credited as Ziyi Zhang, is a Chinese actress and model. She is considered one of the Four Dan Actresses of China.[1]

Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She achieved fame in the West after leading roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), 2046 (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Early life[edit]

Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her parents were Zhang Yuanxiao, an accountant and later economist, and Li Zhousheng, a kindergarten teacher.[2][3] She is very close to her older brother, Zhang Zinan (Chinese: 章子男; pinyin: Zhāng Zǐnán; born 1973). Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy by her parents' suggestion at the age of 11.[4] 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.[3] At the age of 15, Zhang won the national youth dance championship and began appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.[5]

In 1996, Zhang entered China's prestigious Central Academy of Drama at the age of 17.



In 1998, while she was studying in Central Academy of Drama, she was offered her first role by director Zhang Yimou in his film The Road Home. The film won the Silver Bear prize at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival.[6]

She rose to further fame in 2000 with her role as Jen (Chinese version: Yu Jiao Long) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for which she won several awards in the Western world, such as Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and Independent Spirit Awards.[7]

Zhang's first appearance in an American movie was in Rush Hour 2.[8] Her character's name is "Hu Li", which is Mandarin Chinese for "Fox".

Zhang then appeared in Hero (2002) with 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.


She then signed on to film an avant-garde drama, 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), which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 2046 (2004), 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 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 Japanese legend Seijun Suzuki, who was honored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. She then accepted the lead role of Sayuri in the film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. Controversy arose in Japan and China about having a Chinese woman portray a Japanese geisha. For this film, she was reunited with her 2046 co-star Gong Li and with Crouching Tiger co-star Michelle Yeoh. For the role, Zhang received a 2006 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 27 June 2005, it was announced that Zhang had accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those able to vote on the Academy Awards.[9]

In May 2006, Zhang was chosen as a jury member of Feature Films at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.[10] This year, she appeared as Empress Wan in The Banquet (2006), a film set in the Tang Dynasty.


Zhang and Tony Leung at the premiere of The Grandmaster at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival

Zhang provided the voice of Karai in TMNT (2007). She later starred in Forever Enthralled (2008) and appeared in The Horsemen (2009) with Dennis Quaid.

In January 2010, it was announced she had plans to produce a film adaptation of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; however, it was announced that she had turned down the role due to a busy schedule.[11]

In July 2010, plans were revealed for a live-action version of the Chinese folk tale of Hua Mulan, previously popularized to western audiences by Disney through their 1998 animated movie.[12] The film was to be directed by Jan de Bont, and would star Zhang as the titular heroine. Shootings were scheduled to begin in September 2010,[13] but ultimately did not commence due to insufficient financial resources.[14] The current status of the project is unknown.

Zhang has been cast in the role of Lin Huiyin in a 2011 film.[15] She also starred in an AIDS-themed film Love for Life, along with Aaron Kwok, premiering on 10 May 2011.[16]

On 27 September 2012, the Chinese-Korean co-production Dangerous Liaisons, an adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, narrating Shanghai of the 1930s, released in China. Zhang starred next to Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun in this film. It was reported Zhang was paid 20 million RMB (approximately $3.5 million) for her role.[17]

Zhang portrayed Gong Er in Wong Kar-wai's film The Grandmaster, which released on 8 January 2013 in China. In January, it was also reported[by whom?] Zhang would join John Woo's The Crossing.[18] In April 2013, Zhang was announced as one of the judges for the first season of The X Factor: China's Strongest Voice,[19] and she later mentored the "Boys" category. In May, she was invited to be a jury member of Un Certain Regard at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[20]

Ambassadorship and representation[edit]

International Endorsement

Advertising billboard in Hong Kong of Zhang Ziyi fronting Omega SA watches

Asian Area Endorsement

Zhang is a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics[26] and a spokesperson for "Care for Children," a foster-home program in China.

Personal life[edit]

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. Yimou was previously rumored to be involved in an affair with actress Gong Li, whom he similarly debuted and with whom Ziyi was quickly compared. However, no relationships were ever confirmed.[27]

Zhang was engaged to Aviv "Vivi" Nevo, a venture capitalist. They separated in late 2010:

In the July 2006 issue of Interview magazine, Zhang Ziyi spoke of her movies' contents and being careful about the roles she takes on, especially in Hollywood:

Zhang obtained Hong Kong residency through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry.[30] After several screen performances in 2010 and beginning of 2011, in May 2011 Zhang was named ambassador for the ScreenSingapore 2011 film festival, joining American director Oliver Stone.[31]

Zhang is an admirer and collector of the works of the Chinese contemporary artist Shen Jingdong.[32]

Zhang began dating CCTV host Sa Beining beginning in 2011,[33] but the two later split.[34] Zhang is currently in a relationship with Chinese rock artist Wang Feng. Wang openly spoke of his love for Zhang during his concert in Shanghai in November, 2013.[35]


1996Touching Starlight
Sun WenxueChen Wei
1999The Road Home
Zhang YimouZhao Di
2000Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang LeeJen Yu
2001Rush Hour 2
Brett RatnerHu Li
2001The Legend of Zu
Tsui HarkJoy
Kim Sung-suPrincess Bu-yong
Zhang YimouMoon
2003Purple Butterfly
Lou YeCynthia
2003My Wife is a Gangster 2
Jeong Heung SunGangster boss
Wong Kar WaiBai Ling
2004House of Flying Daggers
Zhang YimouMei
2004Jasmine Women
Hou YongMo/ Li/ Hua
2005Princess Raccoon
Seijun SuzukiPrincess Tanuki
2005Memoirs of a Geisha
Rob MarshallChiyo Sakamoto/Sayuri Nitta
2006The Banquet
Feng XiaogangWan
Kevin MunroeKarai
2008Forever Enthralled
Chen KaigeMeng Xiaodong
Jonas ÅkerlundKristen
2009Sophie's Revenge
Eva JinSophie
2009The Founding of a Republic
Huang JianxinGong Peng
Zhao LiangHerself
2011Love for Life
Gu ChangweiQinqin
2012Dangerous Liaisons
Hur Jin-hoDu Fenyu
2013The Grandmaster
Wong Kar WaiGong Er
2013Better and Better
Zhang YibaiHerself
2013My Lucky Star
Dennie GordonSophie
2014Magic (Short film)Jonas ÅkerlundCecile
2014The Crossing Part 1
John WooYu Zhen
2015Wu Wen Xi Dong
Fangfang LiWang Minjia

Awards and nominations[edit]

2000"The Road Home"Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActressWon
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"British Academy Film AwardsBest Supporting ActressNominated
Chicago Film Critics AssociationMost Promising Actress[36]Won
Chicago Film Critics AssociationBest Supporting ActressNominated
Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest Actress[37]Nominated
Independent Spirit AwardsBest Supporting FemaleWon
Online Film Critics Society AwardsBest Supporting ActressNominated
Saturn AwardBest Supporting ActressNominated
Toronto Film Critics Association AwardsBest Supporting ActressWon
2001Golden Bauhinia AwardsBest Supporting ActressWon
Hong Kong Film AwardsBest ActressNominated
"MTV Movie AwardsBreakthrough Female PerformanceNominated
Best FightWon
Teen Choice AwardsFilm — Choice Breakout PerformanceNominated
Young Artist AwardBest Young Actress in an International FilmWon
2001"Musa"Asia-Pacific Film FestivalBest Supporting ActressNominated
2002"Rush Hour 2"Kids' Choice AwardsFavorite Female Butt KickerNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest VillainNominated
2003"Hero"Hong Kong Film AwardsBest Supporting ActressNominated
2004"House of Flying Daggers"British Academy Film AwardsBest ActressNominated
Huabiao AwardsOutstanding Actress[38]Won (tied with Zhao Wei)
Saturn AwardBest ActressNominated
"Mo li hua kai" (Jasmine Women)Golden Rooster AwardsBest ActressWon (tied with Zheng Zhenyao)
"2046"Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest Actress[39]Nominated
Hong Kong Film Critics Society AwardsBest ActressWon
2005"House of Flying Daggers"MTV Movie AwardsBest FightNominated
"Memoirs of a Geisha"British Academy Film AwardsBest ActressNominated
Golden GlobesBest Actress – DramaNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Actress – DramaNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading RoleNominated
"2046"Hong Kong Film AwardsBest ActressWon
National Society of Film CriticsBest Supporting ActressNominated
2006"House of Flying Daggers"Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActressNominated
"Memoirs of a Geisha"NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Motion PictureNominated
MTV Movie AwardsSexiest PerformanceNominated
2007"The Banquet"Asian Film AwardsBest ActressNominated
Asia-Pacific Film FestivalBest ActressNominated
2009"Forever Enthralled"Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest Supporting Actress[40]Nominated
Golden Rooster AwardsBest ActressNominated
Huabiao AwardsOutstanding Actress[41]Won (tied with Fan Zhibo)
2013"The Grandmaster"Asia Pacific Screen AwardsBest Performance by an Actress[42]Won
Asia-Pacific Film FestivalBest ActressWon
Asian Film AwardsBest ActressWon
Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest ActressWon
Golden Rooster AwardsBest ActressNominated
Hong Kong Film AwardsBest ActressWon
Hong Kong Film Critics Society AwardsBest ActressWon
Huabiao AwardsOutstanding ActressWon
Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActressWon

Other honors[edit]

In 2008, she was awarded with the "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema" at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival.[43]

Magazine recognition[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Four Promising Actress Four Young Chinese Stars
  2. ^ "In the mood for oriental siren Zhang Ziyi". China Daily. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "She Makes Magic" TIMEasia.com 11 December 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Zhang Ziyi, The One that Loves You Most Is Me". Hao Rizi Magazine. March 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Ziyi Zhang Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo!. 11 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Award for The Road Home" retrieved 30 April 2013
  7. ^ "Best Foreign Language Film" retrieved 30 April 2013
  8. ^ Happy birthday, Zhang Ziyi!. 10 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Academy Invites 112 to Membership" Oscars. 24 June 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  10. ^ "THE Juries 2006". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  11. ^ "Zhang Ziyi quits "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". Channel News Asia. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
  12. ^ Channel NewsAsia (28 July 2010). "Zhang Ziyi to produce and star in 3D Mulan film". channelnewsasia.com. 
  13. ^ Landreth, Jonathan (4 September 2010). "De Bont to direct Zhang in 'Mulan'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. 
  14. ^ Landreth, Jonathan (3 March 2011). "Bona Posts 2010 Revenue Gain But Net Loss". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  15. ^ "Zhang Ziyi to play architect-writer Lin Huiyin". Xinhua. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  16. ^ "AIDS-themed film starring Zhang Ziyi and Aaron Kwok will open on May 10". Asia Pacific Arts. 03/07/2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ 《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
  18. ^ "Zhang Ziyi in John Woo's new movie". entertainment.yahoo.com. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Zhang Ziyi to be a judge on China X Factor". asiaone.com. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Juries 2013". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Omega Watches Ambassador" retrieved 1 May 2013
  22. ^ "Visa International" retrieved 1 May 2013
  23. ^ "Maybelline" retrieved 1 May 2013
  24. ^ "Precious Platinum" retrieved 1 May 2013
  25. ^ "Garnier" retrieved 1 May 2013
  26. ^ "Special Olympics" retrieved 1 May 2013
  27. ^ "Zhang Ziyi: Rising Movie Star" china.org. 9 February 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  28. ^ Dummy (11 June 2011). "Zhang Ziyi on Vivi Nevo". TheAsianActress.Com. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "Ziyi" Interview. July 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  30. ^ "Report: Zhang Ziyi now Hong Kong resident". News.xinhuanet.com. 24 September 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  31. ^ Actress Zhang Ziyi named ambassador for ScreenSingapore 2011, What's on Ningbo, 26 May 2011
  32. ^ http://hk.asiatatler.com/culture-lifestyle/arts/shen-jing-dong-colours-the-sar
  33. ^ 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. 
  34. ^ "撒贝宁回应与章子怡分手原因 首度公开择偶标准". 
  35. ^ http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2013-11/12/content_30575721.htm
  36. ^ "Chicago Film Critics Awards – 1998–2007". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  37. ^ (Chinese) Golden Horse Awards official homepage 37th Golden Horse awards winners and nominees list Retrieved 22 May 2013
  38. ^ (Chinese)11th Huabiao Awards winners list Retrieved 22 May 2013
  39. ^ (Chinese) Golden Horse Awards official homepage 41st Golden Horse awards winners and nominees list Retrieved 22 May 2013
  40. ^ (Chinese) Golden Horse Awards official homepage 46th Golden Horse awards winners and nominees list Retrieved 22 May 2013
  41. ^ (Chinese)13th Huabiao Awards winners list Retrieved 22 May 2013
  42. ^ "Winners announced at the 7th Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 12 December 2013. 
  43. ^ (Chinese)Zhang Ziyi received "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema" Retrieved 22 May 2013
  44. ^ "Ziyi poses for Playboy" China Daily. 10 March 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2009.

External links[edit]