2046: Talking to Ziyi Zhang Forum Index -> Tony Leung Articles
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 6:59 am    Post subject: 2046: Talking to Ziyi Zhang

By Erica Pearson
amNewYork News Editor

August 2, 2005,0,3950743.story

Failed love affairs never look so good as when they're in films by Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai. In his latest, "2046," he largely has Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang to thank for her portrayal of a gorgeous, haughty show girl.

Stunning in 1960s high-necked dresses, her character is seductive and hardened to romance, until she falls for her neighbor, played by Kar Wai regular Tony Leung.

Originally trained as a dancer, 26-year-old Zhang sparkled as the mischievous princess in "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." In December, she goes mainstream as a Japanese girl in "Memoirs of a Geisha."

Petite and soft-spoken, speaking in careful English, Zhang in person seems very different from the strutting call girl of "2046."

Q: What was it like to work with Wong Kar Wai?
ZZ: I learned a lot from the shooting. It was different, because we didn't have a script, and I would go and have directions for the character, for the scene, and he would give me handwritten pages. At first, I wasn't used to working that way. But later I started to like it. It was unusual, I didn't need to prepare or remember lines.... I learned to use real emotions and real feeling.

Q: Would you spend a long time on each scene?
ZZ: The scene at the restaurant, when she wants to pay for the dinner, we shot, like, three times and each time took about 18 hours. I don't know how many times I cried!

Q: What did you think about your character, who feels for Tony Leung's character but doesn't get anything in return?
ZZ: She is a very independent girl, she is very strong, she shows a couldn't-care-less attitude. She tries to use that to protect herself. But when she falls in love with this guy, she finds her true feelings. Because she is a showgirl, she's used to just playing around. But then she really loses herself.

Q: There are so many beautiful women in "2046" -- Maggie Cheung, Gong Li. Did you feel competitive with them on the set?
ZZ: No. I think I was the last person chosen for the movie. I was so excited because I wasn't sure I could play a prostitute, that's so far from me! I was nervous, and wasn't sure I could do a good job.

Q: You went from "2046" to "Memoirs of a Geisha," a very Hollywood movie. Was it a huge change?
ZZ: Uh-huh. I can't wait to see the movie. I had a great time and I learned a lot from the American crew. We had a difficult time, we had to use fluent English -- but with a Japanese accent as well -- to play the part. It was very hard.

Q: Was it funny to play a Japanese girl in "Geisha"?
ZZ: No!

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.
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