Zhang Ziyi (born 9 February 1979 in Beijing, China) is a Chinese actress, mostly famous outside of her home country for her roles in Wuxia movies.
Born in Beijing, she started studying dance at age 8, joined the Beijing Dance Academy aged 11, won the national youth dance championship aged 15, and from that point started appearing in TV commercials in Hong Kong. She then enlisted at the Central Academy of Drama, and got her cinematic break playing the main character of Zhang Yimou's The Road Home at age 19.
She earned international fame the following year by playing Jen in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She has since then played in such films as Hero, Rush Hour 2, 2046, House of Flying Daggers, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Banquet, the Chinese government-sponsored Founding of a Republic and an adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons set in 1930s Shanghai.
Tropes associated with Zhang Ziyi:
- Acting for Two: As Dr. Ilene Chen and Dr. Ling in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
- Action Girl: Most of her film roles.
- BrotherSister Team: It's a relatively unknown fact, but her older brother (and only sibling), has helped her a great deal with her acting career from its humble beginnings, and now he's actually her manager.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The comic book The Ultimates redesigned the Wasp after Ziyi's likeness.
- Dance Battler: She has no martial arts training but is a trained dancer, so Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers incorporated dance into her fight choreography.
- Fake Nationality: In Memoirs of a Geisha, she plays a Japanese woman. She had to learn English for the film and speak it in a Japanese accent, which she described as like a native English speaker trying to speak Russian with a Chinese accent.
- Lady of War: As a good-looking trained dancer who gets cast in a lot of martial arts roles, she tends to fall towards this trope.
- Playing Against Type: Memoirs of a Geisha is her most prominent non Action Girl role.
- She-Fu: Again, shes trained as a dancer, not as a fighter, and is lightly built so fight choreographers sensibly tend to give her a lot of She Fu moves.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Many of the roles she gets are in martial arts movues with a mystical edge and emphasising that explains how this slender girl can win so many fights.
- Older Than They Look: She has practically aged nothing between Rush Hour 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, despite the fact that these two films were released 18 years apart.
- Waif-Fu: Again, shes not big, but she moves well.