Gong Li is another of my favorite actresses that deserves her rightful place in the Actress Worship section of my Blog. Why? Because she has the onscreen presence of a nuclear bomb. No other Actress plays 'Bitch' as well as Gong Li does. She plays her roles with such vampish wickedness, that she has you leaping out of your seat, scratching at the screen, cursing her every treacherous move. She always ends up betraying her leading man in a bid to save herself and just as her harrowing back story comes to light, you realize, she's not that evil after all. With her soulful eyes, tears welling up, she always manages a random act of kindness just before her downfall. Watch any of Gong Li's performances and I can guarantee, you will be left in floods of tears. She is China's most famous actress and is responsible for helping attract American and European audiences to Chinese film for the first time. Her impressive list of lead roles in a variety of Academy Award-nominated films is as long as Meryl Streep's.
Gong Li first came into international prominence with her performance in the Oscar-nominated Raise The Red Lantern. From that point on a truly sensational actress had arrived. In Chen Kaige’s magnificent Farewell My Concubine (1993), Li was awarded a New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1995 she was a tour-de-force in Shanghai Triad, playing a nightclub chanteuse and gangster's moll. She reunited with Chen Kaige in 1996 to play an isolated, spoiled heiress in the director’s Temptress Moon. In 2005 she went on to dazzle in Wong Kar Wai's magnificently flawed epic 2046. However, despite her popularity, Gong avoided Hollywood for years, due to a lack of confidence in speaking English. All that would change, as later that year she made her English language debut as the beautiful but vindictive Hatsumomo in Memoirs Of A Geisha - a dreadful film, saved only by her amazing performance. Other Hollywood roles would follow, Miami Vice in 2006 and Hannibal Rising in 2007. Interestingly, In all these films, she learned her English lines phonetically. Gong Li never really took Hollywood by storm, but I'm quite happy she didn't, as I've always preferred my foreign actresses in their native tongue. Consequently in 2006 she returned to Chinese cinema and again delighted audiences around the world in Curse Of The Golden Flower, a role in which once again, she received heaps of acclaim for. Gong Li has been rather quiet with her film roles as of late, but there is some good news - she is about to set American screens ablaze again. Early next year, she'll be starring alongside John Cusack (High Fidelity) and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) in the epic World War 2 thriller Shanghai. Gong Li fans unite! I'll see you in the ticket cue. In the meantime I leave you with a few Gong Li highlights.
Shanghai Film Preview (Watch Here)
Curse Of The Golden Flower (Watch TRAILER Here)