Although the actress once said she didn't like being compared with popular Chinese star Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Jingchu, who starred in 2005 Berlin Film Festival winner Peacock, is heading for Hollywood in a way similar to her schoolmate.
As the new Asian face in Rush Hour 3, Zhang Jingchu shined on the red carpet at the July 30 premiere, together with veteran actors Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, at the Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Six years ago, Zhang Ziyi did the same thing for Rush Hour 2.
Coming back to China after the premiere, Zhang Jingchu told shanghai-based Morning Post that she would devote herself more to working in Hollywood in the future.
Thanks to the training she received for shooting Rush Hour 3, the star conquered the first barrier to a successful Hollywood career: the English language.
"Speaking English was no problem for me. But it was the first time I performed in English," she said. "Performing was a more difficult thing, because you had to deliver emotions through your words. It was really a challenge."
Zhang Jingchu plays an American-born-Chinese college student in the film. The role requires her to speak in frequent English, with a Los Angeles accent.
Thus, after she signed the contract, the production company arranged for a dialect teacher to coach her, the same one who taught Zhang Ziyi for Memoirs of A Geisha.
"I practiced my lines daily, feeling like I have returned to school in my lines classes," Zhang Jingchu recalled.
Her persistence was rewarded. "At the end, many people thought I was born in America!"
Reports say later this year Zhang Jingchu will co-star with Jackie Chan again, this time in Shinjuku, a literary film about Chinese migrants in Japan.
Cast member Zhang Jingchu arrives at the premiere of Rush Hour 3 at the Mann's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California July 30, 2007. The movie opens in the U.S. August 10.
(CRI.cn August 7, 2007)