Sino Celeb is a monthly feature where we introduce a Chinese celebrity to our readers.
Western audiences know Zhou Xun, 41, as ‘that Korean clone’ from 2012 movie Cloud Atlas, but her media footprint in the Sino-sphere is gigantic. Along with being the name of many households, Zhou – the movie star – is a household name.
Hailing from Zhejiang and the daughter of a projectionist, she defied the wishes of her parents and pursued art and acting instead of attending university. In hindsight, a wise career move, with IMDB.com naming her the most commercially successful actress in the history of Chinese cinema based on box-office earnings.
One of Zhou’s earliest movies, Suzhou River, saw her play two different women and earned her the Best Actress Award at the Festival du Film de Paris.
In 2010, police reportedly found nudies of Zhou in Beijing-bad-boy Wang Shuo’s home while searching for guns. Wang was indicted on weapons charges while the alleged pictures never surfaced and Zhou’s career continued unscathed.
Zhou has won praise for her acting range, but is less gifted vocally, with fans nonplussed by her two solo albums.
In 2010 Zhou became the first entertainer to be named a ‘Champion of the Earth’ by the United Nations (yes, really) for her consistent promotion of environmental awareness.
Her 2014 crime thriller Overheard 3 grossed USD53 million, proving she remains a highly bankable star.
Kind of like: Angelina Jolie with acting talent
Famous for: versatility, questionable singing
See her next in: upcoming movie Remain Silent
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