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Biography #2 (for Hero)

One of the hottest stars to emerge from China in recent years, Zhang Ziyi stunned audiences with her debut performance in Zhang Yimou's 'The Road Home'. The film went on to win the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival 2000, propelling Zhang Ziyi into the international limelight. Her meteoric shot to stardom continued with Ang Lee's Academy Award winning blockbuster, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

Zhang Ziyi's interest in the performing arts originated in dance and gymnastics. At age eleven, she was accepted to a secondary school affiliated with the Beijing College of Dance and during the 4 years that she trained in dance, she managed to pick up a number of awards. However, although a career in dance seemed promising for the graceful Zhang, her growing interest and enthusiasm for acting prevailed and she enrolled in the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.

She was soon discovered by Zhang Yimou, the internationally celebrated director of 'Raise the Red Lantern' and 'Red Sorghum'. Zhang knew immediately that Zhang Ziyi would be perfect for his new film, 'The Road Home' (1999), and cast her in the role of a young girl in love with a schoolteacher in rural China. Her performance was so assured that when Ang Lee was casting actors for his high-profile martial-arts extravaganza, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' (2000) he immediately chose Zhang Ziyi for the role of the impetuous aristocrat Jen Yu.

'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"s roaring success ensured that Zhang Ziyi would become a familiar face to filmgoers, as the high-flying, graceful martial artist who shared fight scenes with Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat. Her role garnered her the Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2000 as well as the Most Promising Actress at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards. In 2001, she was awarded the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight Scene and was voted one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.

Zhang Ziyi's talents have since moved beyond her homeland, working in Hollywood for 'Rush Hour 2' (2001) opposite the comedy duo Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, and starring in the ambitious Korean epic, 'The Warriors'. She will next be seen in Tsui Hark's 'The Legend Of Zu' as well as Wong Kar Wai's futuristic '2046'.

Bio courtesy Miramax for "Hero" (25-Aug-2004)


Biography #3

Though a relative newcomer to Hollywood, Zhang Ziyi possesses the easy grace and on-screen intensity of a seasoned professional. With a new string of upcoming projects, she is set to cement her presence as one of Hollywood's most exciting and intriguing leading ladies.

This August, Miramax will release Tsui Hark's The Legend of Zu, starring Zhang as a warrior princess. In July 2001 Zhang begins production on her next project, the Zhang Yimou feature Heroes, also featuring Jet Li and Maggie Cheung. She is also set to star in 2046 for director Wong Kar-Wai, which begins production in November 2001.

Zhang's first appearance on screen was also her first star turn - while still a student at the prestigious China Central Drama College, she was offered the lead in director Zhang Yimou's 1998 film The Road Home. Set amidst China's Cultural Revolution of the 1950s, the film is a beautifully shot, intimate account of a young girl's first love. The Road Home was awarded the Grand Jury Silver Bear at the 50th 2000 Berlin Film Festival.

Following her breakthrough role in The Road Home, Zhang Ziyi delivered a critically acclaimed performance in director Ang Lee's stunning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). An epic tale of true love, adventure, and intrigue, the film also stars international film sensations Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was nominated for an astonishing 125 awards in 2000 and 2001, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Zhang herself received 14 nominations, going on to win the 2001 Independent Spirit Award and 2000 Toronto Film Critics Association Award, among others.

Zhang Ziyi was brought up in a middle class family in Beijing. Her father is a government economist and her mother a kindergarten teacher. She also has an elder brother, Zhang Zinan. At the age of 11 she began a 6-year study of folk and modern dance training at the Beijing Dance Academy.

updated 01-Jan-2000


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