Ziyi Zhang: China's Gift to Hollywood

China's Gift to Hollywood

The first impression is of a china doll, porcelain pretty, fragile to the touch. It takes a moment to see the resolve in Ziyi Zhang's perfect posture, the ardor in a gaze with laser intensity. The little princess she played in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the movie that introduced her to world audiences, had a sense of drama: a girlish petulance that ripened into mature strength, a will growing steelier before our eyes.

The Beijing native was 20 then. At 26, she has finessed that early promise into a résumé unmatched by any other actress her age. She was...

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