|Chinese name: 张艺谋
Born: November 14, 1951
From: Xi’an, Shanxi, China
Occupation: Director, producer, cinematographer, actor
Worked with Ziyi: 3 times
Zhang Yimou is a Chinese film director, producer, writer and actor, and former cinematographer. He is counted amongst the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, having made his directorial debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum.
Zhang has won numerous awards and recognitions, with Best Foreign Film nominations for Ju Dou in 1990 and Raise the Red Lantern in 1991, Silver Lion and Golden Lion prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1993, he was a member of the jury at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, which received considerable international acclaim.
One of Zhang’s recurrent themes is the resilience of Chinese people in the face of hardship and adversity, a theme which has been explored in such films as, for example, To Live (1994) and Not One Less (1999). His films are particularly noted for their rich use of colour, as can be seen in some of his early films, like Raise the Red Lantern, and in his wuxia films like Hero and House of Flying Daggers. His most recent film is a historical drama war film called The Flowers of War. —Wiki
♦ The first audition Ziyi had with Zhang Yimou was for a Shampoo Commercial. In reality, it was to find the right actress for his movie The Road Home.
♦ Ziyi was the first to play the blind girl in Zhang Yimou’s Happy Times, but declined the role. She thought that the character wasn’t enough developped.
♦ In early years of her career Ziyi was considered as the muse of Zhang Yimou, playing in 3 movies with him. During the promotion of House of Flying Daggers, A reporter asked if he really considered Ziyi has his muse : “She is very talented actress with a huge potential, and she has progressed so much. When I first worked with her on The Road Home she needed a lot of coaching in her performance and that could be very time-consuming. But in a very short time, she has transformed herself from someone who could do only simple emotions to someone who can express complex feelings, and play very complex characters. Her chief characteristic is that she’s a perfectionist. I remember when we were making Hero, she watched Maggie Cheung very intently, and she has clearly learned lessons from the more experienced actress. She is so forceful now and puts in so much effort. You can feel the force in her acting now and it’s such a very pleasant surprise. She is what makes House of Flying Daggers, the whole film is about her. She represents the younger generation of Chinese people who will give up everything for love.” — helloziyi.us
♦ In late 2002, Ziyi filmed a commercial for Soutec mobile phones directed by Zhang Yimou.
♦ In 2004, Ziyi was interested in making a horror film with Zhang Yimou. Yimou was later asked by a reporter if it was true, he responded : “Zhang Ziyi has already told other journalists that she wants to play the role of a ghost in a horror movie. Last night, she actually mentioned this hope to me, too. I find it very interesting. I asked her, “Why would a pretty girl like you want to be a ghost?” And she said, “Because I know that you are very good at creating atmosphere. So I think if you make a horror movie, it would really be horrifying. And if, in a really horrifying movie, I can be the ghost, then I would be really excited.” So, maybe. Up to now, I know that I can create beauty and poetry in movies, but for me, horror movies are just horrible. I don’t know how beauty and aesthetics can be developed in a horror film. But it might be a possibility. Maybe I can combine the two. Maybe I can really create a horrifying and also aesthetic film. So maybe I’ll give it a try.” — helloziyi.us