World-famous Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is stepping out of her comfort zone to challenge herself in a romantic comedy that she is also co-producing.
Sophie's Revenge (Feichang Wanmei) tells of how a carefree illustrator wins her ex-boyfriend back from a movie star, with the help of two buddies.
The movie marks Zhang's first foray into comedy and production.
"I have a good sense of humor and I like watching comedies," says the star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha. "I like Adam Sandler and Kate Hudson and want to be as good as them."
Best known for her kungfu blockbusters, Zhang, who was once named Time magazine's Top 100 Influential People, says her interest in comedy reflects a shift in her life philosophy.
"I am more relaxed now than I was 10 years ago. Take it easy and you will find that the world is a better place," she says.
Actress Zhang Ziyi in comedy Sophie's Revenge.
Since her big screen debut in Zhang Yimou's The Road Home (Wode Fuqin Muqin) in 1999, this hard-working actress's star has been steadily rising. In a society where women have traditionally been accorded the role of docile housewives and mothers, Zhang has as many critics as admirers.
Decked out in diamonds, she outshone the other actresses at a press conference in Beijing to promote the movie's official website.
When she found that her chair was placed too far from the reporters, however, she pulled herself up closer, despite being surrounded by her agent, two make-up men and two assistants.
Talking about Marley and Me, her most recently watched movie, she made a sad face: "Oh, I cried so hard. The doggie died!"
Taiwan star Peter Ho, who has a supporting role in Sophie's Revenge, calls Zhang a "cute girl".
"At first, I was a little nervous to work with such a superstar but her signature laugh soon put me at ease," he says.
Mainland actress Yao Chen, who plays one of Zhang's friends in the movie, describes Zhang as a "fully-powered engine".
"I have never seen someone so excited when shooting a movie," she recalls.
Despite being a first-time producer, Zhang seems to have won over her actors.
"As a producer what I want most is to take care of my actors," she says. "As an actor, the producers I like the most are those who take good care of the actors."
According to Ho and Yao, Zhang often invited them to her powder room, where she offered them lots of snacks. When Yao had difficulty understanding the international crew, she volunteered to be an English interpreter. When she discovered actress Fan Bingbing was learning English, she gave her some English books as presents.
The 30-year-old actress, who is engaged to Israeli investor Vivi Nevo, can be serious when it comes to work, though.
Her latest plan is to direct her own movie. The idea occurred to her when she was part of the jury at the Cannes Festival's short movie session last month.
"Maybe I will try shooting a short movie. To tell a story in 15 minutes might be fun."
Sophie's Revenge will hit theaters on Aug 14 in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and South Korea.