Just returning from Canada for Hollywood produce Horsemen
, Zhang Ziyi heard that she was nominated candidate for "most influential Chinese in 2006" by 10 major Chinese media.
"It's a great honor to me, but I have never thought of myself anything particularly outstanding," the actress, who starred in " Memoirs of a Geisha", told Phoenix TV recently.
In her mind, real heroes are those like scientific research workers who make great contributions to the world but remain unknown to the public. "For me, I just luckily live in a good time and have participated in many excellent productions. I'm growing up in those films," she said.
Many attribute her success to good luck. "Yes, that's true. My first role was offered by Zhang Yimou (in the film The Road Home) , and Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon brought me world fame," she said. "But I cherish each chance and finish each piece of work with all my heart, so am I today. I don't think there is a shortcut to success, not at all."
After Horsemen, her next film will again be a Hollywood produce, a Western love story in the 1960s. In that film, she will star opposite Korean actor Dong-Kun Jang and work with The Lord of the Rings team.
Why so many Hollywood directors are eager to work with her? Even she herself could not tell. Actually, she does not care much about whether it is a Hollywood produce or not. "The key is if it is attractive to me and if I have confidence and passion to do it, " she said.
Zhang is much more careful when choosing a script now. A few days ago, she was offered a role of an immigration bureau interpreter. "The script is pretty interesting, but includes some racial discrimination information." She rejected immediately. "As a Chinese, I could not lose dignity."
When talking about the three most important Chinese directors in her life, Zhang said she has quite different feelings about each of them.
For Feng Xiaogang, director of The Banquet, "he makes me a friend," she said. "He even tells me about his unhappiness. I like his directness, his personality, and he always gives me beautiful confirmation."
For Ang Lee, she said "he could be my life-long friend. It is not only because of the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which brought me fame and wealth, but more importantly, he let me know how to overcome difficulties."
As for Zhang Yimou, "we are buddies," she laughed.
When asked if the God would take away everything she possesses now - youth, beauty, wealth, health, love and family affection but let her keep one of them, which one will she keep?
"May I choose two of them love and family affection? " she asked. "If you can die in the arms of someone who loves you so dearly, isn't it another kind of happiness?"
(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2007)