Sunday, July 11, 2010

Zhou Xun and Yann Arthus Bertrand Launch Chinese Version of "Home"

Shanghai (China), 5 July 2010 - Chinese actress Zhou Xun and French film director Yann Arthus-Bertrand on Monday launched the premiere of the Chinese version of HOME at the Shanghai Expo.

Using the stunning aerial footage that is Mr. Arthus-Bertrand's trademark, the film - shot in more than 50 countries - makes an urgent appeal for our planet in peril and all its treasures.

The Chinese version of HOME has been dubbed by Zhou Xun, one of China's leading actresses and a highly recognized environmental advocate. She was named a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for China in 2008, with a special focus of promoting environmental sustainability, won UNEP's Champion of the Earth award this year and is the Green Ambassador for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

"I have been nurturing this film for more than fifteen years. What I saw and learned as I flew over the Earth has changed me forever," said Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who is also a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador. "We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, to avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate. The stakes are high for us and our children," he warned.

The film depicts how humans have disrupted the fragile balance on which the Earth has existed for four billion years. Global warming, a shortage of resources and endangered species are threatening the very existence of human beings. By the end of the century, the film predicts, current consumption patterns will have exhausted almost all the Earth's natural resources and only changing the way humans live can reverse the trend.

Said Zhou Xun: "I suggest people take the nearly 100 minutes to watch this film called HOME. Let us pay more attention to this crisis that might happen on this Earth in the future."

The film first premiered globally on World Environment Day in 2009 and has been seen in more than 108 countries and territories.

Mr. Arthus-Bertrand, a photographer as well, is renowned as one of the world's strongest advocates for protecting nature and insisting on the need for sustainable development. His 'Earth Seen From Above' exhibit of large-scale aerial photography explores the link between humans and nature and encourages viewers to think about the challenges the planet faces. The exhibit, which started in Paris in 2000 has since travelled to cities around the world and has reached over 130 million people. Most recently, his film '6 Billion Others', which is currently showing in the UN Pavilion in the Shanghai Expo, captures the testimonials of the lives of 6,000 people facing the challenges of climate change in more than 65 countries.

Zhou Xun also regularly promotes 'tips for green living' through Our Part, a campaign she runs jointly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The popular actress encourages people to reduce their carbon footprint through simple changes in lifestyle, something that can make a huge difference in a country with the challenges of a large population such as China.



Zhou Xun breaks down upon hearing news of old flame’s demise


Forty-three-year-old actor Jia Hong Sheng had a blooming career back in the 80s as one of China's most well-known actors.

His meteoric fall from grace began when he fell into the drug trap and was the first Chinese celebrity to admit to taking drugs. He was admitted into a mental institute in 1995 and managed to kick the addiction afterwards.

In the subsequent years, Jia struggled in his career, with a few sporadic appearances in plays and movies. He was said to be thinking of making a comeback recently. But that ended when he jumped from a building on July 5.

Jia used to date acclaimed actress Zhou Xun briefly for a year. Back then Zhou Xun was still relatively unknown and Jia had tried to help her by bringing her to audition for a role in a major production. The pair split when Zhou Xun left him for someone else.

According to Jia's close friend, Zhou Xun has been crying over tragedy. The close friend also revealed that Jia did not display signs of depression and had even met up with him to discuss his comeback over a meal.

Zhou Xun did not respond to questions and her manager spoke to the media on her behalf.

"This is truly shocking and saddening news. I believe what Jia Hong Sheng needs now is peace so I hope everyone can respect him and his family."



Sunday, March 07, 2010

Asia’s 25 greatest actors of all time

As the Oscars approach, CNNGo celebrates the top Asian legends of the silver screen

In the history of the Academy Awards (airing on March 7th), only two Asians have ever taken home a Best Actor or Actress statue (we don't count Ben Kingsley as true Asian). Yet Asia has produced incredibly talented thespians that have changed the course of their nation’s cinematic history. In anticipation of Oscar night, we’ve narrowed the list of greats to 25. Roll the credits…

China: Zhou Xun

The seductive Zhou Xun is arguably the most adept of China’s “Four Young Dan actresses.” She’s certainly the most dedicated: Xun confessed to CNN that she showed up on the set of “The Message” intoxicated, in order to get into the mind of her hard-drinking character. Her accolades include multiple Best Actress awards for “The Equation of Love and Death” and “Perhaps Love.”

Best Role: In “Suzhou River,” a 2000 film noir directed by Lou Ye, Xun enthralled audiences as the femme fatale star of a mermaid show.

The list of 25 great actors:

China: Gong Li, Ruan Lingyu, Zhou Xun
Hongkong: Leslie Cheung, Josephine Siao, Tony Leung
Japan: Toshiro Mifune, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Takeshi Kitano
India: Guru Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan, Pran, Nargis, Meena Kumari
Pakistan: Mohammad Ali, Zeba
Sri Lanka: Malini Fonseka
Korea: Ahn Sung-ki, Shim Eun-ha
Singapore: Ng Chin Han, Fann Wong
Thailand: Petchara Chaowarat, Mitr Chaibancha
Malaysia: P. Ramlee
Cambodia: Kong Som Eurn



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Zhou Xun: angel in the world

Zhou Xun, China's Hangzhou-born leading actress who is on the Forbes list of "powerful Chinese celebrities", was interviewed by CNN's Talk Asia host Anjali Rao in Shanghai for the premiere of her new movie Confucius in Hong Kong.


The 35-year-old "Star of the Year", selected by Cine Asia, is in two much-awaited movies this year – a biopic on philosopher Confucius and Yuen Woo Ping’s action flick True Legend.

Zhou was brought into the spotlight with her roles in Suzhou River, Perhaps Love and The Banquet. Zhou's ability to pull off various roles makes her a favorite with Chinese directors and won her the reputation of "Angel in the World" among the audience, but she has never had professional acting training. "I was born in a very small town in Hangzhou. I used to play in the only cinema in our town where my father worked, but movies still seemed far from me. I never expected to become an actress until I was spotted by a director at a dance academy where I enrolled."

Acting for 18 years, the smart veteran has never been bothered by the Chinese government's infamous censorship of the film industry. In her eyes, "being an actress in China is actually no different from being an actress elsewhere. It all comes down to being a good person, and acting responsibly".

Zhou is not only a successful actress, but also an enthusiastic public servant. Last year she was appointed by the United Nations as its first Chinese goodwill ambassador with a special focus on the environment.

"The environment has become a global issue. The Chinese government is sparing no effort to change environmental conditions in China," said Zhou.

All actors and actresses in the world are troubled by paparazzis. Zhou is no exception, but she can't do anything about it. Anyway, "I try not to let it bother me too much," she said.

By Xie Fang



Kung Fu movie "True Legend" premieres in Beijing

The highly-anticipated martial arts film True Legend has premiered in Beijing. The film is directed by Yuen Woo-ping, and employs 3-D techniques. It's aiming to take a big slice of China's movie market during the China's new year season.

Major cast members Jay Chou, Zhou Xun and Vincent Zhou joined Director Yuen, at the premiere.

True Legend is regarded by critics as one of the most stunning flicks Yuen has ever directed. Many of its scenes were shot in breathtakingly dangerous places, like the Hukou Waterfall at the Yellow River in North China's Shanxi Province.


Jay Chou plays two separate roles in the film. When asked about how he switches the roles with such ease and grace, Chou had this to say.

Jay Chou said, "The two roles I played in the film are very different characters. And they have diverse Kungfu styles. I think this is a great challenge for me. I really enjoyed myself during the shooting and I think I fulfilled the roles."


Mainland actress Zhou Xun, who plays Yuan Ying in the film, says sometimes filming took extra effort.

Zhou Xun said, "There was a scene shot on a mountain slope, where I was required to climb up the mountain hauling a wooden cart. I felt filming the scene is like a mission impossible, for the cart is too heavy and I could hardly make any steps upward along the slope."

Although director Yuen Woo-ping is known for his Kung Fu choreography in movies, the film also has a softer side. There are emotional relationships between family members, lovers and siblings.

True Legend is set for release across the country on February 9th.



[Video] Zhou Xun on CNN's chat show, Talk Asia

Enjoy video of Zhou Xun on CNN's chat show, Talk Asia.



Credit: cpy @
Reupload: mylove @


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Zhou Xun appeals Chinese society to rally for Haiti

By Zhu Shanshan

Chinese actress Zhou Xun Tuesday called on Chinese society and the private sector to help people in Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the country on January 12.

As the National Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nation Development Program (UNDP), Zhou revealed she will take part in more public activities to promote the aid to Haiti and she also donated money to help people trapped in Haiti earthquake.

“Disasters have no mercy, but humans do. In Wenchuan Earthquake, we received helps all over the world. So when Haiti is confronting this disaster, I hope we can pass our love to the people in Haiti,” said Zhou in UNDP’s press conference Tuesday morning.

Chinese government has already provided substantial bilateral support to Haiti including medicines, food, shelter and other urgently needed supplies. China’s Ministry of Commerce donated $2.6 million to the UN Flash Appeal.

In private sector, Chinese Olympic gold medalist Li Ning who is the founder of Li Ning Company Limited, has donated 1 million yuan ($146,500) to pay for 5 humanitarian flights to send food and other relief materials to Haiti.

The 7.3-magnitude quake which struck Haiti on January 12 has killed more than 170,000 people and 3 million have been affected by the earthquake.



Monday, February 01, 2010

Up close with Zhou Xun

CNN’s Talk Asia joins Zhou Xun (pic), one of China’s leading actresses who is on the Forbes list of “powerful Chinese celebrities”, in Shanghai and for the premiere of her new movie Confucius in Hong Kong.

The 35-year-old CineAsia “Star of the Year” is in two much-awaited movies out this year – a biopic on philosopher Confucius and Yuen Woo Ping’s action flick True Legend.

Zhou’s ability to pull off various roles makes her a favourite with Chinese directors, but she has never had formal acting training. “I was born in a very small town outside of Hangzhou and even though there was a cinema in our town, movies still seemed very far away to me. I didn’t know the production process at all, so I never expected to become an actress.”

The young Zhou was always interested in singing and dancing, and was once enrolled at a dance academy. She got into acting when a director spotted her at the dance academy.

When asked for her take on the Chinese govern­­­­ment’s infamous censorship of the film industry, the veteran of 18 years shrugs off the sensitive subject.

“Being an actress in China is actually no different from being an actress elsewhere. It all comes down to being a good person, and acting responsibly.”

On actress Tang Wei who was banned from working on the mainland for three years as a result of her onscreen nudity in Lust, Caution, Zhou says: “I think you don’t really worry about all those things before shooting. ... But I don’t think I can ever be completely unclothed in front of the camera.”

Zhou was brought into the spotlight with her roles in Suzhou River, Perhaps Love and The Banquet. She was appointed by the United Nations as its first national goodwill ambassador with a special focus on the environment.

“I think the Chinese government is very determined to change environmental conditions in China. This is a not a movie. This is a real threat, ” says Zhou.

The actress also discusses with Talk Asia host Anjali Rao her constant efforts to keep her private life private.

“This is what I’m trying hard to adjust to because I don’t like being followed when I’m not working. But I can’t do anything about it. So I try not to let it bother me too much.

“But this adjustment process takes quite a long time and this type of paparazzi culture in China is getting more severe as well.”


Thursday, January 28, 2010



Just completing TRUE LEGEND (SO HAK YI)'s Beijing press conference, Zhou Xun rushed to the television station at night to record the premiere celebration. Playing a mother and a wife for the first time, Zhou Xun's performance was full of real emotions. Speaking of working with "Lord Eight", director Yuen Woo Ping, after 2006's THE BANQUET, they had much more chemistry. TRUE LEGEND heated up before its release, not only has it been invited to participate in this year's Berlin Film Festival but also a variety of film festivals at home and abroad. Zhou Xun expressed that this film was a salute to Lord Eight. She praised Lord Eight was a director who is worthy of respect and represents the martial art film golden age. Working with Lord Eight was the collective memory of an era.

Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Actress Zhou Xun Croons for "True Legend"

Popular Chinese actress Zhou Xun has lent her voice to the theme song for director Yuen Woo-Ping's upcoming kung-fu drama, "True Legend", starring Zhou and Vincent Zhao.

"True Legend", which will be rolled out in Chinese cinemas on February 9, is a biopic about 19th-century martial artist Su Can. Vincent Zhao plays Su Can, with Zhou Xun as his supportive wife.

Zhou Xun is hailed as one of China's four most popular actresses, together with Zhang Ziyi, Zhao Wei and Xu Jinglei.

Aside from her critically acclaimed acting skills, Zhou Xun is also a singer, having released a couple of studio albums and been featured on the soundtracks for a long list of her films.

"True Legend" boasts a strong supporting cast that includes actress Michelle Yeoh, singer-turned-actor Jay Chou, and director-actor Feng Xiaogang. It is also one of the last films featuring "Kill Bill" star David Carradine, before he passed away last year.

A 3-D version of the special effect-rich "True Legend" will be screened at the Berlinale Special section during the 60th Berlin International Film Festival between February 11 and 21.


Clip source: tudou
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Biopic of Confucius to open with record prints

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The biopic of the life of the ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius starring Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat is set to premiere on Jan 22.

"'Confucius' will open with 2,500 prints, breaking the record set by 'The Founding of a Republic'," said Liu Rong, general manager of Beijing Dadi Century which produced the film, on Thursday.

The latter, which was made to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), was released with 1,450 prints in September.

"The record figure means people will be able to watch the film in every cinema in the country," said Liu.

The film's director Hu Mei said the biopic was an effort to promote the great philosopher's life and thoughts, and the Chinese culture.

Chow said in an early interview that he had taken the role because in the film Confucius was portrayed as a man with much human interest.

The film, which cost about 150 million yuan (about 21.9 million U.S. dollars) to make, focuses on the great philosopher's life experiences from 51 to 73.

Confucius (551 BC-479 BC) was born in the ancient Chinese state of Lu, today's Qufu city in Shandong Province. He was a great educator, philosopher, a renowned politician and the founding father of Confucianism.



Confucius fails to impress critics

Confucius is widely considered as representative of Chinese culture and philosophy, having influenced generations of scholars and thinkers at home and abroad. Shooting a biopic of the great sage can be paralleled to Mel Gibson attempting The Passion of the Christ (2004), requiring more talent than courage.

Weak media reviews followed Confucius' prescreening last week, director Hu Mei's interpretation of the almostholy figure labelled as a show of courage, but not necessarily one of great talent.

The two-hour film, reflecting the life of Confucius from age 51 to his death at 73, is clearly divided into two parts, each an hour long. The first hour focuses on his political life and achievements, during which he led several "big-scene" wars. The second half of the fi lm starts with his dismissal and emphasizes his travelling life and spreading his philosophy among the people.

According to many film critics attending the pre-screening, the first half of Confucius is dramatic with exciting scenes and complicated character relationships, while the second is comparatively boring.

"This is the real life of Confucius. You cannot expect the film to be 100 percent exciting," the film's screenwriter Chen Han told the Global Times after Confucius' premiere in Beijing Thursday. Chen also wrote blockbuster Red Cliff for John Wu in 2008.

However, despite Chen's vision of sticking with reality, most of the audience said that they were not satisfied with the second half of the film, during which Confucius wanders from country to country, without any concrete dramatic conflicts. "The hour's more like a travel log, instead of a real film," commented Yang Lianjie from Beijing Morning Post.

The film has aroused several controversies since it was launched in early 2008, from casting Chow Yun-Fat as Confucius, to trailers that revealed action scenes during which Confucius exhibits Chinese martial arts and a love affair with Nan Zi (played by Zhou Xun) unfolds. Carrying high expectations, the final-cut of the film was disappointing with the much-anticipated action scenes deleted and most of the controversy removed.

"I did write and we did shoot the part where Confucius fights enemies with his walking stick, but after discussion we decided to take the scene out," Chen said. He explained that with the style conflict between the two halves of the film, adding such action scenes would have made continuity even worse.

Earlier hype about Confucius' love-life was also unwarranted, with Zhou's Nan Zi only making a brief appearance in the film and the relationship between her and Confucius shifted from love to simple admiration between student and teacher.

"This is the most important scene of the film. We changed the script many times and finalized their current relationship," Chen said.

Although different from what audiences are expecting from the trailers, the scene when Nan Zi meets Confucius is still the most dramatic and well-interpreted of the fi lm, according to critics. Much of the credit goes to the chemistry created between Chow and Zhou. Chow's performance is of the few more-memorable parts of the film.

"It has been a while that we have seen Chow paying so much attention and efforts to his acting," commented Sun Lingling from The Beijing News. After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, Chow has opted for less serious roles, none as sophisticated as Confucius and he produced a panned performance in Dragonball: Evolution. Chow's selection to play Confucius met with much public criticism as the actor is from Hong Kong and not well educated. Critics and filmlovers questioned his ability to play such a cultural and traditional role. In this aspect, the film succeeds, with Chow portraying a strong and multifaceted image of Confucius, from the way he speaks and acts, to his complicated inner world.

"He has convinced the audience that he is Confucius," Sun added in her review.

Set to hit cinema screens across China on Friday, Confucius has already made Chinese film history, with 2,500 copies distributed across the country. In comparison, the largest distribution of a Chinese film with 1,450 copies was The Founding of A Republic, which was also a box office champion in 2009.

Confucius' director Hu refused to make a box office prediction for the film that is facing stiff competition against the exceedingly successful dominating film Avatar.

"We have tried our best for the film. I have faith and confidence, but the rest is left for audiences to determine."

Source: Global Times


Zhou Xun: China's queen of quirk

(CNN) -- Chinese actress Zhou Xun is a face recognized by millions, but so far, little known outside of China.

The self-effacing 33-year old has recently graced the covers of China's editions of Harper's Bazaar and Elle magazines, but bringing her face to an audience away from China's mainland remains elusive.

Zhou is demur on the topic of international acclaim, preferring only to say that she hopes to become a better actress rather than rival Zhang Ziyi as the face of Chinese cinema abroad.

Her latest film is "Confucius" also starring Chow Yun Fat, but Zhou made her breakthrough on the big screen in 2000 appearing in "Suzhou River," and was soon hailed by the Chinese media as one of the country's four best young actresses along with Zhao Wei, Xu Jinglei and Zhang Ziyi.

Since then Zhou has taken on a number of alternative roles -- from a nerdy lab technician in "All About Women" to an alcoholic spy in "The Message" -- that have marked her out from her peers and attracted plaudits from critics and fans.

She won best actress awards at the Paris Film Festival in 2000 and numerous awards in China for her role in 2005 film "Perhaps Love" and more recently, "The Equation of Love and Death."

Coming from a middle class family, she was a young girl at a dance academy when spotted by a film director and encouraged to become an actress.

"Being an actress in China, I'm actually a very lucky actress... Especially now that Chinese movies are becoming more diverse with more viewers overseas," she told CNN.

"I think it's the same to be an actress anywhere because the profession is about attitudes towards events -- it is a process to try to understand life. I think this is the case for actors across the world.

"It all comes down to how you try to be a good person, and act responsibly."

Acting responsibly, that is, except when the role demands it. Her clean-cut image was tarnished, on-screen at least, when she took a method approach to her part as a hard-drinking spook in "The Message." She admits to turning up on the set intoxicated in order to get into character.

Even though she lends her face to a number of products and high-end brands, she's honest enough to admit she has her flaws in real life as well.

"I think there are many faces to everyone. I also have my bad sides. Also I think everyone is trying to improve their shortcomings to become more wholesome. I have a lot of shortcomings, so it's 50-50," she said.



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