BEIJING, Feb. 23
(Xinhuanet) -- Li Man, 17, has become the new "Mou Girl," actress selected by
Zhang Yimou to appear in his new film, which began shooting on Wednesday, a sign
that she has potential of becoming another Gong Li or Zhang Ziyi.
Li Man (Photo source:
The film, whose title translates as "Wearing Golden
Armor Across The City," is set in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and is based on the
renowned Chinese modern playwright Cao Yu's classic drama "Thunderstorm."
Li, 17, a student of the Central Academy of Drama,
joined the cast including Gong Li, Hong Kong heart-throb Chow Yun-fat, mainland
actor Liu Ye and Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou, Xinhua was told by Zhang
Weiping, the film's distributor on Thursday
He said her "personality shown in the screen test"
answers for the decision made by Zhang Yimou and other related staff.
"She is our most satisfactory candidate in terms of
both acting and age," he said, adding that she also has a good basic training of
In her film debut, Li will play a girl aged from 15
to 17, the counterparts of Si Feng in the drama "Thunderstorm."
Zhang Yimou is adept in boosting new actresses in his
films, sohis selection of the new actress, dubbed "Mou (Yimou) Girl,"
oftentriggers hot topics of the public and media.
World-famous Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi made their film
debuts in "Red Sorghum" and "The Road Home," both from Zhang Yimou, with Dong
Jie and Jiang Min known by Chinese audiences after first appearing in his films,
"Happy Times" and "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles," respectively.
Li Man, a schoolmate of Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi, is
expected to meet reporters soon, Zhang Weiping said.
Zhang's 45-million-U.S.-dollar new film will become
the most expensive film in China, surpassing the 42.5-U.S.-million-dollar "The
Promise", directed by Chen Kaige.
The film will be shot in Beijing, Southwest China's
Sichuan Province and East China's Zhejiang Province and will be released at the
end of this year, Zhang Weiping said, adding that his goal is to beat the
American box office takings of "Hero" in 2004.
"The story of 'Thunderstorm' and the setting of the
Tang Dynasty epitomize the classic elements of ancient and modern Chinese
culture, which easily attracts a Chinese and non-Chinese audience," he added.