Zhou Xun (Chinese: 周迅, born 18 October 1974) is a Chinese actress and singer. She is regarded as one of the Four Dan Actresses of China. She gained international fame for her roles in Suzhou River (2000) and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002).
Zhou has won Best Actress honors from Asian Film Awards, Asian Television Awards, Beijing College Student Film Festival, China Film Director's Guild Awards, China TV Golden Eagle Award, Chinese Film Media Awards, Golden Bauhinia Awards, Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards, Golden Rooster Awards, Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards, Huading Awards, Shanghai Television Festival and Shanghai Film Critics Awards; as well as the French award-giving body Festival du Film de Paris.
Zhou ranked ranked 91st on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2013, 15th in 2014, 17th in 2015, 60th in 2017, and 53rd in 2019.
Zhou was born to a middle-class family in Quzhou, Zhejiang. Her father, Zhou Tianning (周天宁), was a local film projectionist, and her mother, Chen Yiqin (陈以琴), was a salesperson at a department store. She had her schooling in Quzhou No.1 Middle School. After she graduated, Zhou enrolled at the Zhejiang Arts Institute to further her interest in dramatic arts, against the wishes of her parents, who wanted her to graduate from a university. She was handpicked for a role in the film Strange Tales Amongst Old and Desolate Tombs during her teenage years in school.
1995–2004: Beginnings and Breakthrough
Zhou debuted in the comedy movie The Pampered Wife (1995). She next starred in Chen Kaige's films, Temptress Moon (1996) and The Emperor and the Assassin (1999). But it was not until in 2000 that Zhou received recognition in China. With her role as young Princess Taiping in historical drama Palace of Desire, Zhou received the Audience's Choice for Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards at the 18th China TV Golden Eagle Award.
Zhou achieved breakthrough on the big screen with Lou Ye's Suzhou River (2000), which won her the Best Actress award at the 15th Festival du Film de Paris. That year, she was named one of the Four Dan Actresses alongside Zhang Ziyi, Zhao Wei and Xu Jinglei. She further achieved international recognition when she starred in the Franco-Chinese romance drama film Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002).
A string of successful projects followed. In her first Hong Kong film Hollywood Hong Kong directed by Fruit Chan, Zhou impressed critics with her performance. Hollywood magazine Variety praise Zhou saying "Zhou is superb, moving with ease between her various personalities and always convincing in each". Her next film, romance-themed A Pinwheel Without Wind (2002) won her the Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Actress. Among Zhou's earlier notable works also include television series April Rhapsody (2000), Love Story in Shanghai (2001) and The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2003); as well as the film Baobei in Love (2004).
2005–2011: Critical acclaim
Zhou impressed critics once again with her performance in Peter Chan's musical film Perhaps Love (2005). The film represented Hong Kong at the 2006 Academy Awards. Zhou received Best Actress awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award, Golden Bauhinia Awards and Golden Horse Awards. She next starred in Feng Xiaogang's wuxia film The Banquet (2006), inspired from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Zhou plays the girlfriend of the crown prince, equivalent to Ophelia. She won the Golden Bauhinia Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress. In 2007, she starred in Susie Au's film Ming Ming, which was highly praised at the 11th Pusan International Film Festival. Zhou played dual roles - twins with absolutely different characteristics and personalities.
With a string of successful films, Zhou was brought into the spotlight as one of China's top actresses. Her 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.
She then starred in Cao Baoping's romantic thriller The Equation of Love and Death (2008) as a taxicab driver on the lookout for her missing boyfriend. Critics again praised Zhou, crediting the film's success to Zhou's performance as Li Mi. Zhou went on to receive Best Actress awards at the Asian Film Awards, Shanghai Film Critics Awards, Golden Rooster Film Festival, and Chinese Film Media Awards. The same year she appeared in Gordon Chan's horror-adventure film Painted Skin, a remake of a classic supernatural thriller of the same title. Next came spy thriller The Message (2009), about Japanese invaders in China who try to ferret out a spy among their Chinese collaborators.
In 2009, Zhou was named the Star of the Year at CineAsia exhibition and distribution convention in Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific Producers Network (APN) also honored her as the Asian Star of the Year for her exemplary box office achievements. In an interview with CNN, Zhou was named Asia's 25 greatest actors of all time.
Zhou next featured in biographic drama film Confucius (2010) and filmed the wuxia film Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011) directed by Tsui Hark.
2012–present: Directorial and Hollywood debut, Television comeback
In 2011, Zhou made her directorial debut with the short film Five Demon Traps, which stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai as a demon killer.
In 2012, Zhou made her Hollywood debut in the science fiction film Cloud Atlas, playing multiple roles in the film. Zhou then reprised her role in Painted Skin: The Resurrection (2012), the sequel to Painted Skin. The film grossed over the 700 million yuan ($109.8 million) landmark, becoming the highest-grossing Chinese-language movie of all time then.
In 2014, Zhou returned to television after 10 years in Red Sorghum, based on Nobel prize laureate Mo Yan's 1986/1987 novel of the same name. Zhou's performance in the series was highly praised by the author himself for her immaculate grasp of the character's inner turmoil. Zhou won the Best Actress Award at the Shanghai Television Festival and Asian Television Award. The same year, she received the Chevalier medal in the Order of Arts and Letters by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for her contribution in film, public welfare and Sino-French communications in Beijing, China. She was also rated as China's favorite star, ranking first on the 15th Huading Award international celebrity's satisfaction survey.
In 2015, Zhou served as a jury for the 5th Beijing International Film Festival.
In 2017, Zhou returned to the big screen, starring in war film Our Time Will Come directed by Ann Hui. Her performance garnered a nomination for Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
In 2018, Zhou starred in historical drama Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace, playing the role of Hoifa-Nara, the Step Empress. The same year she starred in the romance film Last Letter directed by Shunji Iwai, and was nominated for the Best Actress award at the Golden Horse Awards.
In 2019, Zhou starred in the crime thriller film Remain Silent.
Zhou is set to star in the wuxia film The Weary Poet, and family drama film The Eleventh Chapter.
Zhou Xun was named the first United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador for China in 2008 with a special focus of promoting environmental sustainability. Zhou jointly runs a campaign 'Our Part', which promotes ‘tips for green living’.
In 2010, she became the Laureate of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s Champions of the Earth (Inspiration & Action). She was the first entertainer in the world to receive this honour. She was also the Green Ambassador for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
In 2011, Zhou has been honored as one of the 2011 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum.
Since 2011, Zhou had been an ambassador for Chanel. Chanel chief designer Karl Lagerfeld noted Zhou Xun for her strong fashion sense, describing the actress as "a synthesis of young Coco Chanel and Ballet Troupe Zizi Jeanmaire."
Zhou Xun married American actor Archie Kao on July 16, 2014 on stage after a charity event in Hangzhou, China.
Zhou received Hong Kong citizenship under the "Quality Migrant Admission Scheme".
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Role||Notes|
|1991||Old Grave||古墓荒斋||Jiao Na|
|1993||Story of Rouge Chamber||胭楼记||Zheng Yue'e|
|1995||The Pampered Wife||小娇妻||Yangyang|
|Maiden Rosé||女儿红||Hua Dao|
|1996||Temptress Moon||风月||Little dance girl|
|1998||My Rice Noodle Shop||花桥荣记||Xie Yan|
|1999||The Emperor and the Assassin||荊軻刺秦王||Blind girl|
|2000||Suzhou River||苏州河||Mei Mei / Mou Dan|
|If I Lose You||如果没有爱||Xun|
|2001||Beijing Bicycle||十七岁的单车||Hong Qin|
|Hollywood Hong Kong||香港有个好莱坞||Hung Hung/Tong Tong|
|2002||A Pinwheel Without Wind||烟雨红颜||Zhao Ningjing|
|Where Have All the Flowers Gone||那时花开||Huan Zi|
|Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress||巴尔扎克和小裁缝||Little seamstress|
|2004||Baobei in Love||恋爱中的宝贝||Bao Bei|
|2005||A West Lake Moment||鸳鸯蝴蝶||Xiao Yu|
|Beauty Remains||美人依旧||Xiao Fei|
|Stolen Life||生死劫||Yan Ni|
|Perhaps Love||如果·爱||Sun Na|
|2007||Ming Ming||明明||Mingming / Nana|
|2008||The Equation of Love and Death||李米的猜想||Li Mi|
|Painted Skin||画皮||Xiao Wei|
|All About Women||女人不坏||Ou Fanfan|
|2009||The Message||风声||Gu Xiaomeng|
|True Legend||苏乞儿||Yuan Ying|
|2011||The Founding of a Party||建党伟业||Wang Huiwu|
|The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate||龙门飞甲||Jade|
|2012||The Great Magician||大魔术师||Liu Yin|
|Painted Skin: The Resurrection||画皮II||Xiao Wei|
|The Silent War||听风者||Zhang Xuening|
|Cloud Atlas||云图||Talbot/Hotel Manager
|2014||Overheard 3||窃听风云3||Ruan Yuehua|
|Women Who Flirt||撒娇女人最好命||Zhang Hui|
|Meet Miss Anxiety||我的早更女友||Qi Jia|
|2017||Our Time Will Come||明月几时有||Fang Gu|
|2018||Last Letter||你好，之华||Yuan Zhihua|
|2019||Remain Silent||保持沉默||Duan Mulan|
|TBA||The Weary Poet||诗眼倦天涯||Wen Sanchun|
|The Eleventh Chapter||第十一回|
|Shi Shen Ling||侍神令|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Role||Notes|
|1997||Red Recipe||红处方||Shen Pei|
|1998||The Police Scene||警坛风云||Lin Peipei|
|1999||Maid In Green||绿衣红娘||Fan Xiaoxuan|
|2000||The True Color of Money||金钱本色||Mandy|
|Just Happy||开心就好||Tan Gege|
|Palace of Desire||大明宫词||young Princess Taiping|
|April Rhapsody||人间四月天||Lin Huiyin|
|The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom||太平天国||Shi Yiyang|
|Heart Network||心网||Na Niu|
|2001||Love Story in Shanghai||像雾像雨又像风||Du Xinyu|
|2002||Ripening Orange||橘子红了||Xiu He|
|2003||The Legend of the Condor Heroes||射雕英雄传||Huang Rong|
|Business Family||买办之家||Su Boyuan/Xia He|
|2014||Red Sorghum||红高粱||Jiu'er/Cang Jiulian|
|2018||Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace||如懿传||Ula Nara Ruyi|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Role||Notes|
|2010||Devil Nail Clippers||指甲刀人魔||Li Kaiyi|
|2012||2032: The Future We Want||2032 我们期望的未||Herself|
|I Know U||星知我心||D24|
|2014||One Day:The Rising Sun||太阳会飞||Zhou|
|Into the Mist||霾没了||Qian Xueman|
|2016||Roman Holiday||Vogue Film之《罗马假期》||Herself|
|2015||Nature is Speaking|
|The Little Prince|
|2016||Born in China|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Director||Notes|
|2015||Les Aventures d'Anthony||陪安东尼度过漫长岁月||Janet Chun|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Lead actor||Notes|
|2012||Five Demon Traps||五行伏妖||Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Wu Gang|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Notes|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Album||Notes|
|1999||"Wander Aimlessly"||飘摇||Hainan Hainan|
|2000||"Heart like a Tragic Melody"||心如悲歌||Heaven and Earth Musical OST|
|2001||"No Choice"||无奈||Ripening Orange OST|
|"Spring Comes Back and Forth"||春去春又回|
|2002||"A Head of Lychee, Three Grabs of Fire"||一棵荔枝三把火||Hollywood Hong Kong OST|
|2013||"Sunrise and Sunset"||日出日末||Beach OST|
|"Looking at the Sea"||看海|
|2004||"In My eye"||Baobei in Love OST|
|"Empty like the Sky"||虚拟天空|
|"The Body Hasn't Move, The Heart Already Wandered"||身未动,心已远||N/A||Theme song of Travel Channel|
|"Outside"||外面||Perhaps Love OST|
|"Forget Who I Am"||忘了我是谁||with Takeshi Kaneshiro|
|"Bubble"||泡泡||N/A||Promotional song for Olay|
|2006||"Song of the Yue"||越人歌||The Banquet OST|
|"Electric Shadows"||电影往事||Electric Shadows OST|
|"Look"||看看||Ming Ming OST||with Anthony Wong|
|"Song of the Vagrant"||流浪者之歌|
|2007||"Companion"||伴侣||N/A||Promotional song for Motorola Moto|
|2008||"Outside the Window"||窗外||The Equation of Love and Death OST|
|"Love Earnestly"||用力爱||All About Women OST|
|2009||"Love and Hate Extensively"||爱恨恢恢||N/A||Theme song of Zhu Xian 2|
|2010||"True Legend"||走马看黄花||True Legend OST|
|2011||"Only One in the World"||这世界唯一的你||N/A|
|2012||"Guess the Lover"||猜情人||The Great Magician OST||with Tony Leung Chiu-wai|
|2014||"For the Child"||给小孩||One Day OST|
|"A Switch to Happiness"||幸福的开关||N/A|
|2018||"Appearance"||样子||Last Letter OST|
|2019||"What a Woderful World"||多美好的世界啊||featuring Laura Fygi|
|2019||"A Lifelong Wait"||一生守候||Theme song of Remain Silent|