|Place of Birth: Beijing, China
Birthday: February 9th, 1979
Blood Type: O
Height: 164 cm, 5′ 4.5″
Weight: 49.5 Kg, 109 lbs
Music: Leslie Cheung, Norah Jones, Usher
Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (“Jahng Tz-Yee” – Zhang is her surname) grew up in, and still lives with, a working class family in Beijing, the daughter of an economist father and kindergarten teacher mother. She is the younger of two children. Her brother, who runs an advertising agency, works as her agent in China. She studied dance at the middle and secondary school attachments of the Beijing Dance Academy, specializing in folk dance, for which she won the 4th Annual National Young Dancer Competition in 1994.
“My parents sent me to study dance so I could build my muscles. I was very small and very weak for my age. They were worried about my health.”
— Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi left the Beijing Dance Academy when she was 17, took a government-sponsored aptitude test, discovering that she had a knack for acting. She then auditioned for one of the few available spots in the China Central Drama College and was accepted. In her second year there, she was among a group of actresses who auditioned for a shampoo commercial to be filmed at the school by the acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the role. But, the director remembered her exquisite face six months later when he was casting roles for The Road Home, her first film.
A year later, while still in school, and at the recommendation of Zhang Yimou, she was cast by acclaimed Taiwanese-American filmmaker Ang Lee for the role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. With a little luck and a lot of hard work and perserverance, Zhang Ziyi’s career has since taken off, making her one of the most successful and popular actors in her native China today and an ever-growing presence and star to watch for on the international stage.
“Except for all the luck, I think I’m quite tough, you know? I just work very hard. I don’t care if I get injured. I just keep going.”
— Zhang Ziyi
Oscar nominated Hero and Golden Globe nominee House of Flying Daggers were recently released internationally. Purple Butterfly recently received a limited North American release. 2046 and Jasmine Women, box office hits and critically acclaimed films throughout Asia, both are now expecting wide international releases. Operetta Tanukigoten is in post-production in Japan. And Memoirs of a Geisha is currently in production in California. Both will by released in the coming year.