Zhang Ziyi

Zhang Ziyi (Chinese: 章子怡; born 9 February 1979) is a renowned Chinese actress and model, celebrated as one of the Four Dan Actresses of China. Her illustrious career spans various international films, earning her critical acclaim and numerous awards.

Early Life

Born on 9 February 1979 in Beijing, Zhang Ziyi was raised in a family with her father, Zhang Yuanxiao, an accountant and later economist, and her mother, Li Zhousheng, a kindergarten teacher. She has an older brother, sharing a close bond with him. Zhang began studying dance at 8, leading to her enrollment at the Beijing Dance Academy at 11. Despite facing challenging environments at the academy, she persisted, winning the national youth dance championship at 15 and venturing into TV commercials.

In 1996, at 17, Zhang entered the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.

Career

1996–2000: Early Career

Zhang’s acting debut was in the television film “Touching Starlight” at 16. Her film career took a significant turn when director Zhang Yimou cast her in “The Road Home” (1999), winning her the Best Actress Award at the Hundred Flowers Awards.

2000–06: Wuxia Epics and International Breakthrough

Zhang’s international fame skyrocketed with her role in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), directed by Ang Lee. This success led to her Hollywood debut in “Rush Hour 2” (2001) and further roles in “Hero” (2002) and “House of Flying Daggers” (2004). Her role in “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005) garnered nominations for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

2007–12: Hollywood and China

Zhang voiced Karai in “TMNT” (2007) and continued to star in various Chinese and Hollywood films, including “Forever Enthralled” (2008) and “The Horsemen” (2009).

2013–17: Return to Stardom

In 2013, Zhang received the French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Her performance in “The Grandmaster” (2013) was highly acclaimed, earning her numerous Best Actress awards.

2018–present: Hollywood Epics, Directorial Debut, and Small-Screen Debut

Zhang’s recent works include “The Cloverfield Paradox” (2018) and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019). She made her directorial debut with the short film “Shi” (Poem) in 2021.

Ambassadorship and Representation

Zhang has served as a global ambassador and spokesperson for various organizations and brands, including the Special Olympics and Clé de Peau Beauté. She also engaged in numerous endorsement deals with international brands.

Defamation Cases

Zhang successfully pursued legal actions against Boxun and Next Media for defamation, concerning false reports about her personal life.

Personal Life

Zhang is known for her selective approach to Hollywood roles and her contribution to the local film industry. She obtained Hong Kong residency in 2007 and is an admirer of Chinese contemporary artist Shen Jingdong. She was previously engaged to Aviv Nevo and married Chinese musician Wang Feng in 2015, with whom she has two children. In 2023, Zhang and Wang announced their divorce.

Zhang Ziyi Filmography

 

Poster for the movie "My Country, My Parents"

My Country, My Parents

Actress Zhang Ziyi, actor-and-director Wu Jing, comedian Shen Teng, and actor-and-director Xu Zheng come together to direct four short films as part of a new anthology drama paying tribute to China’s families.

Poster for the movie "The Climbers"

The Climbers

May 1960. Mount Everest, the second step under the cliff. The four members of the China Everest Climbing Commando are attacking the most difficult and most difficult “second step”. This is their fifth assault. The first four failures have cost them too much physical strength – …finally, the wind and snow stop the gap.

Poster for the movie "The Founding of a Republic"

The Founding of a Republic

The Founding of a Republic is a Chinese historical film commissioned by China’s film regulator and made by the state-owned China Film Group (CFG) to mark the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The film retells the tale of the Communist ascendancy and triumph.

Poster for the movie "Forever Young"

Forever Young

Four youths in Republican-era China experience various struggles as they seek to find their ideal self. From World War, to revolution and ultimately rebirth, Forever Young is the story of four generations spanning a hundred years of modern Chinese history. Each generation faces its own unique set of challenges. Up against corporate corruption, the trials and tribulations of the cultural revolution, and one’s duty to nation in time of war, they are faced with choosing … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Crossing II"

The Crossing II

A story of three couples and their intertwining love stories set in 1940s Taiwan and Shanghai, centered around the 1949 sinking of Taiping.

Poster for the movie "The Crossing"

The Crossing

During the Chinese Revolution in 1949, three couples flee from China to an island of Taiwan.

Poster for the movie "Til Death Do Us Part"

Til Death Do Us Part

Set in a small Chinese village where HIV virus is spreading rapidly as a result of illicit blood trade, Mo shu wai zhuan revolves around De Yi and Qinqin are both estranged from their respective family because of their disease and unexpectedly find love with each other by their misfortunes.

Poster for the movie "Sophie's Revenge"

Sophie’s Revenge

Dumped by her fiance just two months before their wedding, comic strip writer Sophie hatches an elaborate plan to get her Jeff back and punish the movie star, Joanna, who seduced him away. She finds herself a partner, Gordon, an ex-lover of Joanna’s. The two start on a comic adventure full of laughs and tears, aided by Sophie’s two best friends, Lucy and Lily. At the eve of her success, Sophie suddenly faced of having … Read more

Poster for the movie "Purple Butterfly"

Purple Butterfly

Ding Hui is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover… and officer with a secret police unit tasked with dismantling Purple Butterfly.

Poster for the movie "The Road Home"

The Road Home

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.

Poster for the movie "Dangerous Liaisons"

Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons is a Chinese film by Hur Jin-ho based on the novel with the same title by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. It has been adapted five times to date, including the eponymous Hollywood film (1988) and Untold Scandal from South Korea (2003).

Poster for the movie "Better and Better"

Better and Better

Sun Xiangcheng, a self-styled professional fan organiser, is called from his home village of West Well Valley by his mother Yuanfang. Thinking he’s highly connected with celebrities, she asks him to help organise the village’s New Year celebrations

Poster for the movie "My Lucky Star"

My Lucky Star

My Lucky Star is a 2013 Chinese romance film directed by Dennie Gordon and starring Zhang Ziyi and Leehom Wang. The film also serves as a prequel to the 2009 film Sophie’s Revenge.

Poster for the movie "The Grandmaster"

The Grandmaster

Ip Man’s peaceful life in Foshan changes after Gong Yutian seeks an heir for his family in Southern China. Ip Man then meets Gong Er who challenges him for the sake of regaining her family’s honor. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong and struggles to provide for his family. In the mean time, Gong Er chooses the path of vengeance after her father was killed by Ma San.

Poster for the movie "The Banquet"

The Banquet

Empress Wan can launch a thousand ships with her charm and fight a hundred soldiers with her sword. But something is lacking in her life and she harbours forbidden desires for her stepson Prince Wu Luan , an introverted young man, who shies away from the palace to indulge in the ancient art of music and dance. When the Emperor dies all of a sudden and his younger brother Li takes over the throne, Wan … Read more

Poster for the movie "Jasmine Women"

Jasmine Women

Zhang Ziyi plays the youngest of three generations of women who leads lives in Shanghai. Joan Chen plays the great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother. The film recounts this family, the mistakes they make, and a cycle that the granddaughter breaks out of.

Poster for the movie "2046"

2046

2046 is the sequel to Wong Kar-Wais’ successful box-office hit In The Mood For Love. A film about affairs, ending relationships, and a shared love for Kung-Fu novels as the main character, Chow, writes his own novel and reflects back on his favorite love Su.

Poster for the movie "House of Flying Daggers"

House of Flying Daggers

In 9th century China, a corrupt government wages war against a rebel army called the Flying Daggers. A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful rebel out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem. At its height, the Tang Dynasty was one of the most enlightened empires in Chinese history. But in 859AD, the Dynasty is in decline.

Poster for the movie "Zu Warriors"

Zu Warriors

King Sky (Ekin Cheng), the sole disciple of the Kun Lun Sect, falls in love with his master Dawn (Cecilia Cheung). Dawn is killed when Insomnia destroys the Kin Lun Mountain. King Sky waits for two hundred years and meets Enigma (Cecilia Cheung), who is the reincarnation of Dawn, and in love with her again. However, Insomnia’s Blood Clouds is ready to destroy Zu…

Poster for the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically-skilled, teenage nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

Poster for the movie "Hero"

Hero

One man defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China.