This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.
Ziyi-zhang 00330790
Zhang Ziyi
Chinese name 章子怡
Pinyin Zhāng Zǐyí (Mandarin)
Born 9 February 1979 (age 34)

Beijing, China

Occupation Actress
Years active 1996–present
Parents Zhang Yuanxiao (father)

Li Zhousheng (mother)

Official Website

Zhang Ziyi (born 9 February 1979), sometimes credited as Ziyi Zhang, is a Chinese film actress and model. Chinese media have called her one of the Four Dan Actresses (四大花旦) in China's film industry, along with Zhao Wei, Xu Jinglei and Zhou Xun.[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), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Early lifeEdit

Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China, to 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 (regarded as the top acting college in China) at the age of 17.



At the age of 19, Zhang was offered her first role in Zhang Yimou's The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear award in the 1999 Berlin Film Festival.

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. Zhang's first appearance in an American movie was in Rush Hour 2.[6] In the movie, 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. This 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, 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.[7] She then appeared as Empress Wan in The Banquet (2006), a film set in the Tang Dynasty.


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.[8]

In July 2010, plans were revealed for a live-action version of the Chinese folk tale of Hua Mulan, previously popularized by Disney through their 1998 animated movie.[9] 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,[10] but ultimately did not commence due to insufficient financial resources.[11] The current status of the project is unknown.

Zhang has been cast in the role of Lin Huiyin in a 2011 film.[12]

Along with Aaron Kwok, Zhang stars in an AIDS-themed film Love for Life premiering on 10 May 2011.[13]

In September 2011, the Chinese-Korean co-production of the film Dangerous Liaisons (Weixian Guanxi) begins, where Zhang will star next to Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun. Zhang is reported to earn 20 million RMB (approximately $3.5 million) for her role, in an adaptation of the French novel 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses', narrating Shanghai of the 1930s.[14] The film is expected to be released in late 2012. She is currently filming and producing Chinese language romantic comedy entitled "My Lucky Star".

Ambassadorship and representationEdit

Zhang is the face of Maybelline, Garnier, Omega Watches and Shangri-la Hotel and Resort Group. She is also a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics and a spokesperson for "Care for Children," a foster-home program in China.

Personal lifeEdit

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.[15]

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

I grew up in a very traditional Chinese environment with lots of love, and I hope my own family would be the same. I want everyone to live together, with kids running around, and dogs playing with the kids. This is my ideal family life. I tried to make it work but it didn't, and I have no regrets over it.[16]

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:

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.[17]

Zhang obtained Hong Kong residentship through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry.[18] 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.[19]


Year Title Director Role
1996 Touching Starlight


Sun Wenxue Chen Wei
1999 The Road Home


Zhang Yimou Zhao Di
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


Ang Lee Jen Yu
2001 Rush Hour 2


Brett Ratner Hu Li
2001 The Legend of Zu


Tsui Hark Joy
2001 Musa


Kim Seong-soo Princess Bu-yong
2002 Hero


Zhang Yimou Moon
2003 Purple Butterfly


Lou Ye Cynthia
2003 My Wife is a Gangster 2


Jeong Heung Sun Gangster boss
2004 2046


Wong Kar Wai Bai Ling
2004 House of Flying Daggers


Zhang Yimou Mei
2004 Jasmine Women


Hou Yong Mo/ Li/ Hua
2005 Princess Raccoon


Seijun Suzuki Princess Tanuki
2005 Memoirs of a Geisha


Rob Marshall Chiyo Sakamoto/Sayuri Nitta
2006 The Banquet


Feng Xiaogang Wan
2007 TMNT


Kevin Munroe Karai
2008 Forever Enthralled


Chen Kaige Meng Xiaodong
2009 Horsemen


Jonas Åkerlund Kristen
2009 Sophie's Revenge


Eva Jin Sophie
2009 The Founding of a Republic


Huang Jianxin Gong Peng
2010 Together


Zhao Liang Herself
2011 Love for Life


Gu Changwei Qinqin
2012 Dangerous Liaisons


Hur Jin-ho Du Fenyu
2013 The Grandmasters


Wong Kar Wai Gong Er
2013 Better and Better


Zhang Yibai Herself
2013 My Lucky Star


Dennie Gordon Sophie
2013 Wu Wen Xi Dong


Fangfang Li Wang Minjia
2014 Love and Let Love


John Woo

Awards and nominationsEdit


Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

Asian Film Awards

BAFTA Awards

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

Chlotrudis Awards

  • 2006 – Best Supporting Actress for 2046

Golden Globes

  • 2006 – Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama for Memoirs of a Geisha

Golden Horse Film Festival

Golden Rooster Awards

Hong Kong Film Awards

Hundred Flowers Awards

Image Awards

Kids' Choice Awards

MTV Movie Awards

National Society of Film Critics Awards

  • 2005 – Best Supporting Actress for 2046

Online Film Critics Society Awards

Satellite Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Teen Choice Awards

  • 2001 – Film — Choice Breakout Performance


Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • 2001 – Most Promising Actress

Golden Bauhinia Awards

Golden Rooster Awards

Hong Kong Film Awards

  • 2005 – Best Actress for 2046

Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards

  • 2005 – Best Actress for 2046

Huabiao Film Awards

Hundred Flowers Awards

Independent Spirit Awards

MTV Movie Awards

Shanghai International Film Festival

  • 2008 – Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema

Toronto Film Critics Association Awards

Young Artist Awards

Magazine recognitionEdit

  • 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 in 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.
  • Included in People's 100 Most Beautiful People in the World the second year in a row in 2006. This is now her third appearance on the list.
  • 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)[20]
  • Voted No. 1 in E!'s "Sexiest Action Stars" list in summer 2007.
  • Ranked No. 3 in Japanese magazine Classy's "Super Perfect Head-to-Body Size Ratio List" in January 2009.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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