Director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) has a knack for discovering new talents, and his sharp eyes have made many unknown actresses famous overnight. Zhang’s fresh-faced leading ladies have been dubbed “Mou Girls” by the media, a styling borrowed from the Bond Girls, actresses made famous by Hollywood’s James Bond franchise. Despite being crowned the first and original Mou Girl, Gong Li (鞏俐) is surprisingly put off by the title and finds it unsophisticated.
Gong Li made her industry debut in Zhang Yimou’s 1987 classic Red Sorghum <紅高粱> and immediately won international attention for her performance. She continued to collaborate with the director closely in the following years and produced several hits, each helping the other propel to super stardom. As muse and love interest, Gong Li became the director’s very first Mou Girl by default. It was not until 1999’s The Road Home <我的父親母親> did the title pass down to the then newcomer Zhang Ziyi (章子怡).
Although they have long since taken separate paths, Zhang and Gong Li remain good friends and are reunited this year in Coming Home <歸來>. The new film is currently screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and has already made 100 million RMB in China. He an acclaimed director and she an award-winning actress, nowadays Zhang Yimou and Gong Li can certainly be seen as equals, each capable of pulling impressive box office figures.
Which is perhaps why, when interviewed at Cannes on May 20, Gong Li gave her honest opinion about the Mou Girl title. “It sounds quite vulgar. People overseas would never give their artistes this type of titles. I find it very disrespectful and used in poor taste.”
Even though she dislikes her nickname, Gong Li is happy to be credited alongside Zhang Yimou once again as his colleague. No matter how many times they have worked together, the actress finds every collaboration fresh and interesting. “It has always been refreshing. He would be creating a brand new film, while I work on crafting a new character. I feel like he is a director who needs great actors.”
Source: Oriental Daily
This article is written by Katrine for JayneStars.com.