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Zhang Ziyi shed buckets of tears for Hollywood fame
BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese starlet Zhang Ziyi might be making waves in Hollywood after a string of roles in high profile films but she had to shed buckets of tears to get there.
She has also starred in Hollywood flicks including "Rush Hour 2", with her fame cemented when she was asked to be a presenter at the Oscars ceremony this year.
But she never had much confidence when young and cried often when learning the trade.
"My success was not by chance, instead it's paved by hard work, pain and tears," she told Xinhua news agency in an interview.
Enrolled in the Central Drama Institute in Beijing in 1996, Zhang said she felt like a fish out of water.
"Teacher Chang Li was very strict with us. I usually prayed to God before going to bed to tell me how to accomplish my homework the next day," she said.
"When I went to school, I cried in front of the gate, telling my mother I didn't want to go in. I wanted to go back home.
"I was so scared at class. I stood on the stage and trembled ... I didn't know how to act."
She said that if she had failed her first year exam she would have quit.
"So I set my teeth to force myself to go on studying. When I was in the second year, I suddenly began to find the direction of performance, and was not that scared."
She also revealed that during the performance at her graduation ceremony, she suffered serious wounds to her hands when, playing a wife eager to meet her husband, she rushed onto stage and crashed into a large pane of glass.
"My father and mother cried off the stage, and I cried on the stage. And then I was sent to a hospital," said Zhang, showing the deep scar on her hand.
"But I discovered my passion in performance at that time."
She made the big time when cast in the mega-hit "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" by Taiwanese director Ang Lee, which won four Oscars at the 2001 Academy Awards.
Zhang sweated for six months on the film in the hope of pleasing Lee.
"I was only 20 years old when I performed in 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', and it was the hardest film for me. For six months, I worked so hard in the desert for only one goal, the recognition of director Ang Lee," she said.
"All the pains under the burning sun were nothing to me. I only wished someday after work Lee would come and give me a hug and say 'well done', because I had seen he had done so to another actress."
Lee didn't do that during filming, but Zhang finally won what she craved at the movie's opening.
Lee came and sat next to her and said: "Ziyi, you worked very hard. You are excellent. I'm very satisfied with you." And then he gave her a hug.
Zhang said she cried for a long time on his shoulder.
"Everybody thinks I got quick success. I hope you understand me that success
is really not that easy," Zhang said.