From Mulan to Shaolin Soccer, five memorable movies by Zhao Wei, the Chinese actress, film director and businesswoman China apparently wants its people to forget
- Zhao Wei was one of the most influential Chinese actresses in the early 2000s, and well-known across Asia with numerous accolades under her belt
- We look at her beginnings as the star of My Fair Princess, co-starring Fan Bingbing, and the five films she will best be remembered for
It remains unclear why top Chinese actress Zhao Wei was obliterated from China’s cyberspace overnight in August, but her legacy – as both a talented artist and shrewd businesswoman – lives on.
Zhao was one of the most influential Chinese actresses in the early 2000s, and well-known across Asia with numerous accolades under her belt.
Her big break, My Fair Princess (1998-1999), introduced her to audiences as the endearing Xiao Yanzi (“Little Swallow”), a headstrong and rebellious orphan who gets mistaken for a long-lost daughter of Qianlong, a Chinese emperor during the Qing dynasty.
In recent years, Zhao has spent as much time behind the camera as in front of it, and her directorial debut in 2013 was seen as a resounding success. So Young portrays the joys and pain of university student Zheng Wei (played by Yang Zishan) and her friends as they try to chart their own paths upon graduation.
This coming-of-age tale grossed more than 700 million yuan (US$108 million) and cemented Zhao’s transition from a teen idol to a director with her own vision.
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
The two form a soccer team with Sing’s fellow Shaolin monks against Fung’s former teammate and rival Hung (Patrick Tse Yin) for money that would lift them out of destitution. Zhao plays Sing’s love interest, Mui, a baker who uses tai chi to make buns.