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Stepping Into Zhang Ziyi's Home

May 01, 2001

Ziyi’s home is located at an ordinary residential building. It is not very big, simple decoration. Scattered around the room are large photos of Ziyi and various trophies. At the corner of the dining room a display board full of pictures from The Road Home. By the wall of the master bedroom, there is a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon movie photo display autographed by Ang Lee. The window facing the balcony has been modified into shelves, holding snapshots of Ziyi taken abroad. At the bottom a photo of Ziyi and Steven Spielberg (the director of Saving Private Ryan), trophies and medals Ziyi won overseas. On the table in front of the sofa, there are some Hong Kong/Taiwan pulp fictions, and one thick book written in English. Ziyi’ mom said Ziyi is wasting no time learning English. Columbia Co. is sending her to the US for a month studying English.

Ziyi’s mom’s Grievance

Ziyi’s mom is currently retired at home, and she has kept the relatively small room well organized. Her body is not quite well. The reporter saw numerous newspapers with Ziyi’ photos and articles about her in a large luggage right next to the bed in the bedroom. Ziyi’s mom said, whenever Ziyi comes back from other places, she will have to collect and organize these articles for Ziyi. Sometimes it takes many hours to look through these reports one by one. On the table in the dining room, there were a pile of recent newspapers and several recent magazines from Hong Kong and Taiwan with Ziyi on their covers. One of the two articles is from the Hong Kong newspapers, it talked about Ziyi’s “affair incident.” Ziyi’s mom felt that it is so unfair, at one point during the interview, she simply can not hold back tears; Another one is a full page article in one of the Capital’s newspapers, the core content is still the Jackie, Zhang “affair”, accompanied by quite a few opinions from Internet users, they said that Ziyi’s behavior in this incident was quite lewd, very wild.

Just by mentioning these reports, Ziyi’s mom’s eyes started getting red, “the kid definitely has suffered injustice, otherwise why would she cry? Ziyi is usually a child full of life, with an open attitude, and would not shed tears easily. She just laughed it off previously when there were talks about her, Zhang Yimou, and the young guy from Korea. But this time, they have gone too far when they put Ziyi, Jackie Chan, and his son together. I have met Jackie Chan and his son, they were very nice, and looked after Ziyi. This type of reports are just ridiculous. Ziyi’s father and I are very strict with our children. You see that our home is on the higher floors, Ziyi for sure would come back before 12:00 o’clock, she is very reasonable.” She pointed to the The Road Home display board by the wall, “You can see that Ziyi’s little face was still round at that time, by the time she was filming Crouching Tiger, she has thinned down to a bag of bones. I was there when they were shooting the bamboo forest fight scene. The rope that was used for the steel harness pressed against Ziyi’s shoulder, leaving a line of purplish bruise. As her mom, I wept upon seeing that. I was also present at the screening of Crouching Tiger at Berlin Film Festival. The foreigners there broke into applause 4 times while watching Crouching Tiger: once during the first fight between Yu Jiao Long and Yu Shu Lien; once during Ziyi’s fighting scene in the restaurant; once during the bamboo forest fight; once was at the end of the fim. At that time the applause was so intense that I saw even Michele Yeoh was crying. None of these were mentioned by the media, instead, they choose to report those “affairs.” This created a lot of pressure on the kid’s mind. In order not to worry us, she still came home in a happy mood.” Ziyi’s mom said that she feels miserable inside whenever she thinks about it. A couple of days ago, she could not fall asleep at night few hours in a row. “These doggie teams are so disgusting.”

Interviewing Ziyi across the ocean

The reporter got in touch with Ziyi who was far away in the U.S., proceeded with the telephone interview across the ocean. The topics involved the recent rumors. At first Ziyi did not really want to talk, but upon hearing that it was her old acquaintance, the reporter from the “Beijing TV” Weekly, she gladly agreed to be interviewed. Rush Hour 2 has been in pre-production, production since February, now they are rushing to finish filming, (we) work 5 days a week, not more than 10 hours per day. The actors also get the chance to observe others at work when they were not scheduled to be in the scene. Ziyi has a very special short silver hairdo in Rush Hour 2. The role Ziyi played in the movie is a cute villain and a demolition expert. In the film, Jackie Chan and his partner just could not bring themselves to beat her up. Supposedly, originally there were quite a few villains in Rush Hour 2, but because of Ziyi’s outstanding performance, all the villains were merged into one single villain. Ziyi said that she has never imagined that she would be in martial art or action movies. She has thrown in all her 20 years’ worth of energy and physical stamina, it was really tough. The filming will continue into May, Ziyi would not be able to attend the Hong Kong Golden Statue Award Ceremony held on April 29th. She will return to Beijing in early May to start several new projects, such as commercials. Following that would be Wong Kai Wai’s “2046.”

When inquired about her state of mind, Ziyi said ” I would not dwell on those things (“affairs”) and feel bad about them because in fact there are many people who do not believe those things are true. Taiwanese medias supported me from from my point of view, I was really touched. After all I have been through, I realize that there are some people who just do not deserve any attention. I am currently single, so it is normal for people to wonder who is my boyfriend? and if I have found someone to settle down with? But the Hong Kong media was so very disgusting. The Mainland media should hold on to their own style, do not drift with trends, regardless of the style being postive or negative. I am now at ease with those (reports of affairs,) because certain media outlets need this type of garbage, I also know that they depend on these kind of stuff to make a living. This is the fact, and it is simple to understand.

“My attitude is gradually changing, I used to like to talk to the media about how I felt, let the readers get to know the other facets of me. I kind of hesitating tp do that now. In Hong Kong, they will take advantage of you when you tell them something real, it is very dangerous, because you do not know what they want. You can tell them 50 minutes’ worth of accurate, meaningful stuff, and they may just pick 1 minute to set up a trap for you to fall in. To deal with them is to talk less.” Ziyi specifically mentioned: “I truely thank the Weekly for caring about me, irrespective of what happened, as long as there are fans who support me, I will work for them.”

There are quite a few trophies in Ziyi’s home, many of them have yet to appear in the media. Ziyi said: “Within this half a year, I have picked up a number of prizes along the way. Some of them nobody even know about domestically. Many media outlets do not understand me, they thought my fame is due to hype. If I really wanted to use hype, each prize would generate ten, twenty articles. When I came back to Beijing the other day, a friend suggested that I should hold a press conference, but I thought it is better to remain low-key. Winning awards was more or less the result of convergence of various factors that favor me. It was really no big deal. To hell with it, I should instead focus on my work. At the Rush Hour 2 locations, everyday there are many US medias wanted to interview me, they will even wait late into the night, since sometimes that was when I had time. If I really wanted to talk about it, I could have said a lot, but I decided not to.”

“People who understand and know me will no doubt understand this, as for the ones who do not know or understand me, it does not really matter.” This is Ziyi’s attitude at this time. However, there is one thing both Ziyi and her mom feel the same way. They do not like the way news media always emphasize the word “Luck.” Before the cast of Crouching Tiger was finalized, Ziyi had to undergo a month of martial art training, all because of an uncertain opportunity. She rarely mentioned this to people, “if I keep talking about it, then it would seem to imply that I mind the suffering. Suffering is part of the process because I wanted to play that role. During the filming of Crouching Tiger, I cried after going home every night, feeling that I just could not take it anymore. I had given so much, and now I have received a lot, it is all proportional. I do not mind whether people realize how much I have suffered making movies, what I do care about is whether they appreciate my acting. Winning the Hundred Flower Award last year is really the happiest thing for me, because it was given to me by the people. Ziyi said at the end: “My success does not depend on hype.”

Translated by Masked Bunny for Helloziyi.us