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[INTERVIEW] Zhang Ziyi - Superstar from "Crouching Tiger"

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  • madchinaman
    The many different faces of Zhang Ziyi http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/life/story/0,4386,160729,00.html Innocent girl one moment and supreme diva the next,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 16, 2002
      The many different faces of Zhang Ziyi

      Innocent girl one moment and supreme diva the next, the star of a new
      Visa card commercial shows that there is more than one facet to her

      By Camilla Chiam

      WHEN Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi stays at the President suite of the
      Conrad Hotel, one expects an accompanying gaggle of agents,
      publicists, hair and makeup people hovering nervously to tend to her
      every need.

      HEROINE ADDICT: How shall I save the world today? Zhang Ziyi
      contemplates her role as a Hero-ine in a wool long-sleeved criss-
      cross pullover from A/T at Takashimaya ($297), slacks are her own. --
      Photos by ALAN LIM
      She does not disappoint.

      But the mood is relaxed as she sits around the suite's dining table
      laughing and joking with hairstylist-turned-friend David Gan.

      When asked to move to the living room for her interview, she hops
      slowly over to the couch.

      She looks around with an expression of childlike wonder. For a
      moment, it looks as if she is re-enacting a scene from her debut
      movie, The Road Home.

      The 22-year-old actress was in town on Wednesday to promote her
      latest Visa commercial which she stars with Mr 007, Pierce Brosnan.

      'Pierce is interesting and easy to work with. I was very excited,'
      she says in slow, halting English.

      Every one in the room beams at her effort.

      'This is my first time,' she explains of her maiden interview in
      English, before bursting into laughter.

      She started learning English in September last year. Even though the
      language handicap is painfully obvious, she persists with gungho
      confidence, like the tough onscreen characters she is used to playing.

      But ask her about talk that she did not get along with co-star Maggie
      Cheung on the set of the soon-to-be-released Hero and her reply (this
      time in Mandarin) turns sharp.

      'You actually believe the Hongkong bagua (tabloids)?' she asks

      Then, switching back to public relations mode, the chisel-featured
      porcelain beauty says in English: 'Maggie is nice and kind. I learn
      when I see her work.'

      Flashes of sweet smiles and doe-eyed gazes punctuate her pauses
      between sentences.

      TLC WANTED: After a hard day of battling villains, even heroines need
      a little tender loving care. Black T-shirt ($139) from Apollonia at
      Tyan Fashions in Ngee Ann City and a denim short skirt ($285) from
      Pleine Sud at Tyan Fashions.
      She turns philosophical when questions about her love life pop up.

      'We cannot control life. I know what I want to eat for dinner but I
      dare not even think what will happen tomorrow. I don't plan things,
      who knows what will happen in five years?' she says in Mandarin.

      Zhang, who professes to only cook instant noodles and dumplings, then
      confesses she would like to get married and have children by 30.

      But all such mushiness disappears when the interview ends and she
      prepares for Sunday Life!'s photo shoot.

      'It is cold,' she snaps, glaring at her assistant who scrambles to
      turn up the thermostat.

      Hairstylist Gan, who has been primping and combing her hair every 10
      seconds for the last half an hour, commits a boo-boo when he leaves
      her alone for 10 minutes to run an errand.

      Fed up with several strands of hair which get in her way, she
      commands her minder to 'go get him'.

      While he is being sent for, the minutes tick by and she starts to
      show increasing signs of boredom.

      The same assistant puts on an upbeat Shania Twain CD.

      But there is no appeasing her, it seems.

      Click, click, click. Change, change, change. Half an hour later, the
      scheduled shoot comes to an end.

      The Chinese diva turns round and leaves the room without another word
      with her publicist and Gan in tow .

      She enters the suite's bedroom, turns off all the lights there and
      goes to bed.

      Her publicist creeps out five minutes later, closing the door handle
      slowly and silently.

      She looks visibly relieved.
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