Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zhou Xun on LOHAS magazine

LOHAS is a brand-new magazine published on Dec07 in China.
What does LOHAS mean? "L" - Long, Love, Lasting. "O" means a circle. "H" is Happiness. "A" means plentiful and "S" is Save.

This magazine gives you new philosophy about life, remind young people don't only take care of themselve but also pay attention to other people and the world.

On the fisrt eddition, Zhou Xun was invited to be covergirl and now we together enjoy her collection on this mag.



Jia Zhangke to shoot skin-care advertisement

Hong Kong (AP): Golden Lion-winning director Jia Zhangke said on Saturday he will shoot three skin-care commercials featuring Cannes best actress winner Maggie Cheung, Taiwanese model Lin Chi-ling and Chinese acting sensation Zhou Xun.

The series marks a rare foray into advertising for Jia, who is known for his documentary-like movies portraying the struggles of China's working class amid the country's rapid economic growth.

Jia told The Associated Press that Olay hired him to make the two-minute advertisements to mark its 18th year in China. He said the ads will be broadcast on the Internet.

He said he finished shooting Lin's ad but was still brainstorming for the other two.

Jia declined to say how much he was getting paid for the commercials or how much they cost.

Jia won the Venice Film Festival's top Golden Lion prize last year for ``Still Life,'' about demolition workers dismantling a Chinese village to make way for the Three Gorges Dam.

Cheung is a veteran Hong Kong actress who won the best actress award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in ``Clean.'' Lin, a model by profession, will appear in John Woo's upcoming Chinese historical epic ``Red Cliff.''Zhou is one China's most celebrated actresses. Her credits include ``The Banquet,'' ``Perhaps Love'' and ``A West Lake Moment.''

Jia also said he is working on his new project, called ``24 City'' in Chinese, about the relocation of an aircraft factory and its workers in the southwestern Chinese city Chengdu.

Jia is making both a documentary and a fictional movie about the subject. He said the documentary is almost finished and he has just submitted the script for the feature film to Chinese censors for approval.
Source: The Associated Press


Friday, December 21, 2007

Glued to the past

(By Evan Williams | December 15, 2007 )

The Banquet (MA15+)
2½ stars
Limited national release
Hunting and gathering (Ensemble, C'est tout) (M)
4 stars
Limited national release
A FEW months ago it was Curse of the Golden Flower, a lurid Chinese melodrama about imperial palace intrigues and the poisoning of an unhappy empress, spiced with spectacular combat scenes and gorgeous pictorial detail.

It struck me at the time as a combination of Peyton Place and Macbeth.

Now we have The Banquet, another lurid Chinese melodrama involving imperial palace intrigues and deaths by poisoning.

This flamboyant and juicy entertainment, directed by Feng Xiaogang, has been touted as a Chinese version of Hamlet. Why is it, I wonder, that Chinese filmmakers are so obsessed with ancient rituals and the barbaric excesses of bygone tyrants (many of them fictional concoctions)? I suppose it's because they're safe subjects. No filmmaker will get into trouble for showing how corrupt life was in the late Tang dynasty of the 10th century.

In a society still living in the shadow of Mao Zedong, whose memory is preserved, even venerated, amid the trappings of a booming market economy, it would be difficult to set a film in modern China without offering some mild criticism of the present regime. It's not a problem that arises with medieval action fantasies, offering unlimited scope for bloodthirsty plots, lavish interiors and hordes of digitalised extras in the crowd scenes.

I must say the prospect of a Chinese Hamlet was intriguing. In the version I watched there was no on-screen credit for Shakespeare but, then, not much use is made of his plot, let alone his poetry. The borrowed elements are a jumble of loosely related ideas and barely recognisable characters. Wu Luan, the Hamlet figure (Daniel Wu), is a pale and ineffectual version of the melancholy prince, and we scarcely see him.

Recalled home with the news that his uncle has usurped the throne and his father is dead, Wu Luan survives an assassination attempt on his homeward journey and arrives to find a palace in turmoil. The Ghost (an armed figure in bloodstained helmet) reveals the true circumstances of the former emperor's death. Forget that story about a scorpion stinging him during his afternoon nap; he was poisoned by scorpion venom poured into his ear.

It may be wise, if you see The Banquet, not to look too closely for parallels with the play. Often the expected resemblances don't appear and a story already burdened with twists and complications will begin to seem more obscure than it really is. The central figure isn't the grieving prince but the new empress (Zhang Ziyi), the most alluring of Xiaogang's cast, who gives no indication that she's the mother of Wu Luan (if indeed she's meant to be). Polonius, or his equivalent, isn't the wretched, rash, intruding fool we know from the play but a wise and heroic minister (Jingwu Ma), whose beautiful daughter Qing (Xun Zhou), the Ophelia character, seems to be half in love with her brother (Xiaoming Huang), who may or may not be Laertes.

The play scene -- perhaps the best thing in the film -- is staged as part of a rehearsal for the empress's coronation, but while the emperor seems smitten by guilt during the performance it's never made clear what's bothering him.

Perhaps none of this matters. For all its pretentiousness, its impenetrable longueurs, the film remains a splendid spectacle. The debt to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is no more blatant than it was in Curse of the Golden Flower or in any number of other recent martial arts extravaganzas. The final scenes of carnage and betrayal may have been more moving if we cared about the characters. But they are never more than puppets in an artificial landscape, and

the fact that Wu Luan and others often appear with masked faces makes them even more distant and unreal.

It will be a great relief when Chinese filmmakers return to the real world. I've had my fill of leaping gladiators, grisly tortures and balletic swordfights filmed in slow-motion. Hamlet's advice to the players to hold the mirror up to nature has been sadly unheeded in The Banquet. The result is more like inexplicable dumb shows and noise



Friday, December 14, 2007

Zhou Xun - A 30-year-old girl

Seeing Zhou Xun just one time, you can feel she is special person who has many inconsistencies, gentle and naive as a girl but her heart is full of love as a woman.
Form the little princess in "Palace Desire" to Qing Nu in "the Banquet", from a student to movie Queen, step by step, Zhou Xun shows her talent, becomes one of the best Chinese actress.

Although being busy with filming movie "Painted Skin" which has many stars' join: Zhao Wei, Chen Kun, Donnie Yen, Sun Li..., Zhou Xun spent time for her fans who voted for her as cover girl on Sohu, one of the most famous e-magazine in China. She shared her thought about love, career, now and future.

1. Love and career
- Q1: Zhou Xun, you said that you can sacrifice your career for family even when the career is at the top of the hill or developing?
- Zhou Xun: Between family and career, if I must choose one, family is my selection for sure because how long a person's career lasts?
However, I am sure that I never face such difficult selection because Da Qi know what I like and doesn't order me to do what I don't want.
Coming across Da Qi is my big luck and happiness. He doesn't only support me in work but also take care of my appearance, help me become more beautiful. If one day, I give up acting career, that is my my volunteer, not Da Qi's order.

- Q2: Many rumors spread that Da Qi and you got married. What is the truth?
- Zhou Xun: I answered this question four years ago and now it is unchanged. In fact, not only I but also other artists must face such rumors.

- Q3: Actor often lack of freedom. Have you ever wished you had a life as a normal person?
- Zhou Xun: No, because performing gave me many things. I am really happy when getting achievements in my favorite work. Life is fair and artists' lives are the same all over the world. I am familiar with these.

- Q4: Is there any difference between your love and other women's?
- Zhou Xun: Nothing is different. Whoever you are, you always want to be close to your lover, both can together travel to many places and take care of future.

- Q5: Now many female artists become mothers. Do you have any plan?
- Zhou Xun: I don't have such plan. I myself really admire Qin Qin and Zhang Ba Zhi who have babies. When i was at the age of 20s, I wanted to have baby. However, now, after getting many experiences, I understand that baby is parents' big responsibility. I may not be a mature woman but this thought willl be changed in next few years. Life gives you many opportunities, and choosing a suitable way is the most important thing. Perfect life doesn't mean you must have baby. For a lot of people, this is traditional thought but for me, it is better to do that in next few years.

2. Obtainment and loss
- Q1: What is the biggest difference between movie and life?
- Zhou Xun: Movie has logic but doesn't life have. Life is so changeable that i you cannot imagine.

Q2: Life doesn't have logic but needs plans?
Zhou Xun: Life doesn't have logic but people can hold their destiny. I am lazy in making plans and don't like these. Life is wonderful and gives us many miracles. What must we schedule for?

Q3: Sometimes if you don't have plan, you will lose something?
Zhou Xun: Regretting lost things is meaningless. It is better to lean how to face present problems

Q4: You are telling deep philosophy?
Zhou Xun: I am 30 years old, don't dare to tell deep philosophy, just want to share my thought with you. I think all problems have their own reasons, due to what you choose and how you do. Always trying your best, you will feel free and happy. I got experience that if I worry too much about something, they will not be similar to what I wish.

Q5: What is the biggest happiness in our life?
Zhou Xun: In my opinion, there are a lot of periods in our life, and we taste different happiness in different periods. Thus, I don't want to define what is the biggest happiness.

3. Now and future
Q1: Ten years ago, Zhao Wei, Yi Zi, Xu Jinglei and youwere known as "four flowers" in Chinese cinema. Now all of you got a lot of success and become "four big stars". What do you think about yourself and this progress?
Zhou Xun: As I mentioned above, I am sometimes like a child so please don't compare me with big things. I am myself and go on my private way.

Q2: Your influence in the society if getting wider and wider and you joined many charitable activities.
Zhou Xun: People often think of attending charitable activities when they come to one period of life. I see many poor children so I should do something. As an actress, hopefully, my influence is useful in doing charity and promote people to join these activities. As a citizen in society, these are my responsibility.

Q3: Charitable activities and acting career, which one give you more achievement?
Zhou Xun: you shouldn't compare like that. Both need honesty and heartiness.

Q4: Until now, do you feel any change?
Zhou Xun: more mature, having more experiences but passion of acting is always unchanged.

"Respecting all the awards I received but my biggest success is I become quieter, know how to face difficulties and overcome myself"

Translated by Mylove


Sunday, December 09, 2007

China comfortable in its own 'Skin'

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop

SINGAPORE -- "Skin Lover," a chilling story from a classic Chinese text, will be the first made-in-China fantasy horror film officially approved by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television for production.

Singapore-based MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures CEO Daniel Yun said Thursday that the film's plot comes from "The Painted Skin," part of "Strange Tales of Liaozhai," written by Pu Songling in the 17th century.

The $15 million film, which begins production Friday in Hengdian, is directed by Gordon Chan and co-produced by Ningxia Film Studio (China), Salon Film (Hong Kong), MediaCorp. and Beijing Century Jiaying Central Development(China).

Set for release in late 2008, the film centers on a married man (Chen Kun) who falls for the irresistible appearance of a woman (Zhou Xun), not knowing she's a vixen spirit and that her appearance is actually the result of a piece of beautifully painted skin. The cast also includes Vicky Zhao Wei, Sun Li, Donnie Yen and Qi Yuwu.

Bill Liu ("The Twins Effect") is the art director. The action will be handled by Tung Wei ("Seven Swords").

"This film is very important to us because this is our first direct co-production with the Chinese, something we'd been trying to do for a long time," Yun said.

He added that 20%-30% of the film will use digital effects. "With all the new technology and so many big epic movies released in recent years, it is important that this film comes across as an updated adaptation of the tale," he said.

Ghosts feature prominently in Chinese literature but have been banned from the big screen in China for more than 30 years because state censors have until now disallowed superstitious or supernatural content in film. Even the ghost story "The Matrimony," released this year, had a plot twist in the end in order to distance the film's supernatural story from the audience.


Painted Skin starts shooting with Chan as director
Sen-lun Yu in Beijing
06 Dec 2007 10:02

Gordon Chan has replaced Wilson Yip and Andy Chin as director on the $15m mythical thriller Painted Skin, which has started shooting in Beijing.

Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun and Vicky Zhao Wei head the cast of the film which also stars Chen Kun, Sun Li and Singapore star Qi Yuwu (881, The Home Song Stories).

As announced at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June, the film is jointly financed by a group of companies headed by China's Ningxia Film Studio, Singapore's MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and Hong Kong's Salon Media Management.

Other investors include Beijing-based Time Antaeus, Shanghai Film Group, Beijing New Film Association and Beijing Ding Long Da Media Ltd. Two other investors have also recently boarded the production: Hong Kong's Golden Sun and Beijing Century Jiaying Culture Ltd.

Pang Hong from Ningxia Film Studio will serve as producer. Taiwan-based veteran producer Hsu Li-kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) has also been recruited to serve as artistic director of the film.

The film is a remake of a 1965 Hong Kong production of the same title, which tells the story of a scholar's love affair with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a bloodthirsty demoness. She devours the skins and hearts of men in order to maintain immortal beauty.

Shooting will mainly take place in Beijing and Ningxia for both outdoor and studio scenes. The production is scheduled to wrap in Feb 2008 and release is tentatively scheduled for Oct 2008. According to Salon Media Management's John Sim, Salon will handle the international sales of the film.



MediaCorp Raintree Pictures to turn Chinese horror classic into movie

By Wong Yee Fong, Channel NewsAsia's China correspondent | Posted: 05 December 2007 1858 hrs

BEIJING: Singapore filmmaker MediaCorp Raintree Pictures will score a first in China when it brings a Chinese horror classic to the movie screens next year.

"Skin Lover" will be the first fantasy-horror movie approved by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television for production.

The movie is based on "The Painted Skin", one of the most chilling stories from the Strange Tales of Liao Zhai. It depicts a hideous spirit that dons the skin of a beauty to prey on unsuspecting young men.

Slated to be released late next year, the movie will see a stellar cast that includes Vicky Zhao Wei, Zhou Xun, Sun Li and Chen Kun; Hong Kong action hero Donnie Yen; and Singapore-based Chinese actor, Qi Yuwu. Their roles are kept under wraps, for now.

Raintree Pictures Managing Director Daniel Yun said that the budget of the movie will be US$15 million.

He added: "Because of how movies in China have leap-frogged, the kind of special effects that are now available for big, epic Chinese films (will mean that)... if you have Liao Zhai, it will be like the 'Lord of the Rings' for China."

"This will be a new challenge for me, as there will be martial arts involved and I have to express myself using these actions," said MediaCorp artiste Qi Yuwu.

"I don't really spend a lot of time researching about it. Because Gordon Chan, our director, wanted to focus on a brand new Painted Skin, the storyline and characters are very different from the original one," said Hong Kong movie star, Donnie Yen. - CNA/ir


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Zhou Xun plays as an evil spirit in Painted Skin

In the first official press conference on Dec 4th in Beijing, the team of the movie Painted Skin didn't disclose any detail about characters, plot and which actors perform what roles. On that day in the evening reporters went to Donnie Yen's room to interview him.

Xiao Xun and Donnie Yen in the press conference

Donnie Yen said that comparing with old version, the new one has more important characters in which he plays Gong Wu, Chen Kun as Gong Wen, Zhao Wei as Gong Wen's wife, Zhou Xun as an evil spirit, Sun Li as other evil spirit. As Qi Yuwu said in his blog, he will play a villain. And one more difference is the relationship among characters, Gong Wu and Gong are good sworn brothers not whole brothers in the previous version. However, in general, the new one has some new things but is not absolutely different from the old one.

It was reported after the press conference the team is working at Hendien, Jie Jang.



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Painted Skin in the Making

Filming has begun on "Painted Skin" (Hua Pi), an adaptation of the ancient Chinese supernatural novella of the same name, a press conference announced on Tuesday.

Director Gordon Chan has rallied six stars for the half-female, half-male cast, who are: mainland actresses Sun Li, Vicki Zhao Wei and Zhou Xun, mainland heartthrob Chen Kun, Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen, and Singaporean actor Qi Yuwu.

As the gang arrived on the scene wearing masks, the press conference began with a who's-who guessing game, and went on in such a playful way as to give away few details of the characters.

Producers said "Painted Skin" would debut as an action thriller rich in special effects, but they stopped short of revealing the plot, hoping a little ambiguity would last until the film's wrap party.

The film reportedly has a budget of US$10 million, with distributors already lined up in China and South-East Asia.



First official press conference of Painted Skin

On Dec 4th, the first official press conference of the movie "Painted Skin" was hold in the afternoon in Beijing. This movie was invested $15 million, produced by 7 big movie companies and consists of many secrets of actors. Thus, it has recently attracted many people's attentions and the conference yesterday welcomed many guests: actors' fans, reporters and media.

To make all people surprised six actors joining the movie wore mask when they appeared on the stage, Taking the masks off, they are: Chen Kun, Zhao Wei, Zhen Zi Dan, Zhou Xun, Sun Li and Qi Yu Wu. However, in the interview, no actor disclosed which roles they play. Thus, to the end of the conference which lasted over 3 hours, which actors play what role were in secret.

Some days ago some newspapers reported that Zhou Xun would play Shui Mei Ling, a female devil. She has to take men's heart to remain her beauty. Chen Kun would be Wang Ar, Mei Ling's ex-lover in the regeneration. At present, he has a good wife who love him very much (played by Zhao Wei). Chinese actors Sun Li would perform Meiling's sister.

Info gathered from


Monday, December 03, 2007

The public's favorite stars

Crosstalk artist Jiang Kun, soprano (giong nu cao) Peng Liyuan and martial-arts master Jackie Chan have the most favorable public image among Chinese celebrities, a cross-nation survey has found.

Jiang Kun tops the list of 500 Chinese celebrities, followed by Peng Liyuan and Jackie Chan.

The rest of the top ten include actresses Angie Chiu (5th) and Zhou Xun (7th), actors Jet Li (6th) and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (8th), and soprano Song Zuying (9th).

Actress Fan Bingbing is unfortunately among the least favorable.

The survey was sponsored by several websites and printed media. It took half a year to draw results from online and questionnaires.

Entertainment fields surveyed include music, opera, television and film acting.

Stars are rated based on the public's impression of their productions, social and charity awareness.



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