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'I am who I am': Interview with Zhang Ziyi
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Chinese film star Zhang Ziyi[Sohu.com]

Chinese film star Zhang Ziyi[Sohu.com]

Chinese film star Zhang Ziyi talks to Time Weekly about her new film as well as who she is and what she wants.

Zhang Ziyi plays two roles in real life: film maker and celebrity. In the former role she has just produced the romantic comedy Sophie's Revenge which will premier in China on August 14. In the latter, she is the beautiful, successful star who has had a miraculously smooth rise to fame. But her own view of herself is very different. In an exclusive interview with Time Weekly, Zhang Ziyi said she is not as successful as people think, and complained of being a victim of the times.

"There are very few people who are willing to sit down and talk to you, and feel the pain and the tears you suffer in the depths of your heart," she said. "I hope that my achievements in the arts and my contributions to charity and Chinese cinema will stay in the public's mind after I am out of the spotlight."

A bold attempt to do something new

You have just produced your first feature film. Was this the realization of a dream, or just a whim?

Zhang: It had long been a dream of mine to try it given the right opportunity, but I never expected to that I would be able to produce so early. As soon as I read the script of Sophie's Revenge, I wanted to produce it. Over the past years I have had the good luck to work with great directors, like Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee and Chen Kaige. Now as the producer of Sophie's Revenge, I am taking the bold step of working with Jin Yimeng, the director and scriptwriter, who is a great new talent.

With a novice producer and a relatively unknown director, why are you so confident of success?

Zhang: Frankly I don't know. Maybe it is Yimeng's unbelievable enthusiasm for this film that inspires me. Additionally, I have chosen a strong team, professional and excellent actors, film editors and musicians, which to some degree reduces the pressure on the director. One of my American friends, the producer of Beautiful Mind and Changeling encouraged me by saying that no matter whether the work is done well or not, if you stand up and try your best, it is a great success in itself. And in fact things turned out as he said they would. People who have seen the film like it, and I also think it is a great effort.

"I don't let investors control my art"

Your experiences in Hollywood have given you insights unavailable to other domestic producers; is your outlook more international?

Zhang: In my opinion, the biggest difference between Hollywood producers and Chinese mainland producers lies in experience. A good producer needs to have a good record. In other words, the films a good producer makes must be profitable. Just having a lot of money does not make you a good producer. You have to research and know the market well.

Was it easy to find investors for your film Sophie's Revenge?

Zhang: Actually we did encounter setbacks. At the outset one company wanted to invest in my film, but it interfered so much that finally I gave up its money. For me, businessmen should be in charge of money and art should be left to artists. I don't let investors control my art and I will not abandon my artistic vision in order to get money. Of course, as producer, I made this film as an artwork, while respecting logical business principles.

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