Beijing Times

Zhang Ziyi Talks About Hero, 2046 and Purple Butterfly

November 01, 2002

You have said you didn’t get too many scenes in HERO and hoped for less media coverage for yourself. Is there anything unforgettable to you personally?

It’s indeed I only played a supporting role. Since the day the shooting began, I always tried to participate in this movie as a student or an audience. There are many unforgettable moments. If (you are asking for) anything special, it is probably the maple forest (note: should be diversiform-leaved poplar forest) fist scene with Maggie Cheung. We were all hanging in the air. When making the shot with I diving onto (her), I felt my eye almost burst out off the sockets. I was holding the twin sabers. It’s very heavy.

Many are not expecting HERO to get anything from the Oscar and say the music is too similar to that of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (note: both were composed by Tan Dun). Do you have any prediction?

Saying they are too similar, because they don’t understand HERO. I think there is no violence in it and it is a passionate film which can warm your heart and inspire your soul, and is about a nation’s cohesion. The American audiences, have been through the “9.11”, will like it.

Are you going to start working on 2046 this month?

Yes. Even my mom could be tired of it, if it was delayed any further. If I remembered correctly, Wong Kar-Wai said he had been working on the film for almost three years. It’s probably a new record of the longest pre-production for a film. Design of my character has been finalized and it has been announced at the Cannes Film Festival, but there is just no word on when the shooting will begin.

Do you know the plot line of 2046?

I haven’t read any final outline, but based on several conversations with Wong Kar-Wai, I think 2046 is actually the sequel of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. “2046” is actually the number of the room Leung Chiu-Wai and Maggie Cheung met. After Maggie Cheung has left, Leung Chiu-Wai stays in the room alone and has many recalls and imaginations, maybe are about the past or the future. Later Maggie Cheung returns to room 2046. I think this is probably the plot of 2046. Maybe only this kind of structure can include more and more actors being mentioned by the media. It’s Wang Kar-Wai’s improvisation.

Is PURPLE BUTTERFLY a pure drama?

I don’t know. We must judge a film after it is completed, especially for a film made by such young director like Lou Ye. PURPLE BUTTERFLY has a very legendary main storyline but it’s up to Lou Ye – to be a drama or a very stylized film. I don’t know his intension. Young directors are often unpredictable and this is the main reason I chose PURPLE BUTTERFLY.

Will this film be shown at next year’s Cannes Film Festival?

Yes, basically. I hope PURPLE BUTTERFLY can be as successful as CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (at Cannes).

How do you judge director Lou Ye?

All Chinese directors I want to work with are talented, including Lou Ye. When I decided to take PURPLE BUTTERFLY, I got a big support from director Zhang Yimou. He said there were many (I) can learn from this generation of directors like Lou Ye.

Have you chosen your next project?

I have read some scripts and director (Zhang Yimou) has told me Gu Changwei and Hou Yong were planning their maiden films. They are the best cinematographers among the Fifth Generation (of filmmakers). I think to be a good film director, most importantly, you must show your own artistic style and as the same time, knows how to tell a story to ordinary audiences. Therefore, I think Zhang Yimou is the best.