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Good Girl's Burning Desire to Walk on Wild Side
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Zhang Ziyi is one of China's hottest movie stars and right now, could pick and choose any role she wanted in the world.

Hollywood producers are falling over themselves to entice the 27-year-old Beijing-born actress into a major US production.

What really interests the non-smoking, non-drinking stunning young woman is playing a wild American girl.

"I'd like to play an American teen, a very modern, typical American girl with a very rebellious character. I don't smoke, I don't drink, but I want to play someone who is really absurd. I think that would be so cool," she told Time magazine.

After starring in Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's big-budget film The Banquet, she is looking forward to the next film.

"I have a lot of options in the English language, but I haven't decided. I want to pick up a kind of movie I've never tried."

Zhang burst into the international film scene with her role in Ang Lee's acclaimed martial arts adventure Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and is now hot property in Hollywood after a series of blockbuster films.

Despite her meteoric rise the young actress admits she would give all her fame away in a heart-beat for a husband, house and a "few dogs and kids."

Zhang, 27, said her ultimate dream was to enjoy a simple family life and was even willing to give up acting for the "right person."

"One day if I found the right person I would love to get married and just stop doing all of this. That's my biggest dream. I want to have my own family, a beautiful house and a few dogs and kids."

Zhang confessed she did have a love interest but kept it low profile and enjoyed a simple life.

Filming and media interviews are just work to Zhang, and she enjoys time at home reading books and watching movies. "I don't like to go out to nightclubs or to always spend time with people in the circle of the entertainment business. That's not my thing."

Acting was never really a dream and she had other career ideas. "I really want to have a kindergarten of my own. I can be the best kindergarten teacher for the kids. That would be pretty fun," she said.

Widespread critical praise and box office success have helped elevate Zhang to become a high profile actress in the United States and all around the world. Facing the pressure of being so well known, Zhang said she still enjoyed the happiness of her family life in Beijing. She said she could do all the purchasing with her mum, like buying vegetables and toilet paper, though with baseball cap and sunglasses.

"I told my mum, when we go to the supermarket, please don't call my name. She loves to shout my name. She says things like 'Ziyi! Come over here and look at this fresh fish,' and I say, 'Just please don't call my name. Call me Little whatever, like Little Cat or Little Flower.' She says, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll remember, it'll be fine.' And then she forgets again."

Though the mum's little daughter doesn't like to be recognized in the supermarket, Zhang is shining at Hollywood and her charm is irresistible.

Last year's Memoirs of a Geisha boosted her confidence of acting in an English language film, which was her biggest obstacle then.

(China Daily October 19, 2006)

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