Zhang Ziyi – Chinese Actress
Zhang Ziyi ( or Ziyi Zhang ), known as a Four Dan Actress in China, was born on 9 February 1979. She is a Chinese film actress and model who mostly opts to act in martial arts movies. Zhang Ziyi was born and bred in Beijing, China. At the age of 8 she studied dance and later when she was 11 she was asked to join Beijing Dance Academy by her parents. However due to ruthless environment in the school she left school but managed to gain many awards in school. At 15, Zhang appeared in TV commercials and later at the age of 17 decided to change her interests from dancing to acting, and entered in Beijing’s well-known Central Drama Academy.
At 19, while studying at the drama school she was chosen for shampoo advertisement directed by Zhang Yimou that was originally an audition for his movie to pick the best leading female. The director was charmed by her acting skills and chose Zhang Ziyi for a role of school girl who falls in love with her teacher in the movie The Road Home by famous director Zhang Yimou. The film received two awards at the Berlin Film Festival in 2000 and is considered her film debut for her performance.
Zhang Ziyi attained further success in her acting from the year 2000, when she acted the role of the impulsive Jen Yu in Ang Lee’s film, Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger. In the movie she took the limelight from great movie stars like Michelle Yeoh with her diverse performance. The movie was critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival and Zhang received two awards, the Best Supporting Actress Award in the Independent Spirit and Toronto Film Critics festivals that brought her into the mainstream of American film industry.
In 2001, she appeared in an American movie Rush Hour 2, and was co-starred with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. Apparently since she couldn’t speak English during that time, Chan helped her in translating English to Chinese. Consequently, she learned English by listening to rapper Eminem’s songs.
She came in numerous movies after Rush Hour 2. Zhang returned to doing martial arts movies and in 2004 she acted in House of Flying Daggers for which she received the Best Actress nomination at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Then in 2005 she did a film adaptation of the bestseller book called Memoirs of a Geisha, and appeared as a Japanese Geisha alongside her costar Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger. She continued her endeavor for acting in martial arts movies from time to time and is now known as Four Dan Actress back at her home in China for stunning performances in movies.
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