Chris Nashawaty
December 23, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Moment Of Arrival The feisty-yet-feminine Chinese ingenue from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon may look like a fragile porcelain doll that could crumble if touched. But in Ang Lee’s jaw-droppingly sumptuous martial-arts love story, Zhang kicks ass with the lyrically lethal force of a young Bruce Lee.
How She Got the Part ”She came in through auditions,” says Lee, laughing at his good luck. That the classically trained ballerina doesn’t speak a lick of English was irrelevant to Lee since the subtitled film is in Mandarin Chinese. In fact, the director insists that his discovery has Tiger‘s juiciest role ”It’s the best part, and a sexy part. She’s the Hidden Dragon.”
Previous Jobs ”She did two movies in China,” says her costar Chow Yun-Fat, ”but she’s new to America.”
What Fame Has Brought A slew of offers back in her native China and comparisons to that country’s biggest female star. “She may become the second Gong Li,” says Chow. ”She’s very stylish and very cool, she has a great camera face.”
What’s Next A Korean-produced costume drama titled The Warrior.

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