Gong Li

Chinese-Singaporean actress

Gong Li (Chinese: 巩俐) (born 31 December 1965) is a Chinese actress. She starred in three of the four Chinese-language films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Gong Li in 2016

Gong was head of jury at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival and the 2002 Venice Film Festival, the first Asian to hold such position at both events. Throughout her career, Gong has won three Hundred Flowers Awards, two Golden Rooster Awards, a Hong Kong Film Award, and honorary awards at the Berlin and Cannes film festivals. She was appointed a Commander (Commandeur) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France in 2010.


  • I think as an actress, it's very important to have a beginner's mind, and how you stick to it. If your environment is very noisy, how do you focus on the character? Shaping (the role) is not easy, so I hope my environment is not too noisy.
  • No matter what you do, you should focus on it. Focus on doing it well, and you will get what you want. As an actor, sometimes it's hard to stick to it because there are so many temptations in the current society. How do you stick to what you love? Only true love can make you stick to it.
  • Of course in terms of dialogue, there is a language difference, and this does make a difference. When I speak in English, my expressions become different. My attitude too. I'm not sure why, but there really is a difference. My hands move differently when I speak English. But in terms of performance, it's not that different. It won't be that because I'm in a foreign film that my approach is different. My training allowed me to make contact with a number of different possibilities. Four years in college let me work with excellent teachers who gave me a good foundation.
An actress needs to win people's respect. I want to do more good works to leave more roles and create good characters for the world. That's what I should do in the future.
  • Movie is an important part of my life; I endeavor to do my best in understanding and rendering each character, as well as devoting myself with enthusiasm in the world of movie.
  • Some Hollywood film-makers have asked me to play an Asian beauty but a good script is all that matters. Does it blend in well with you to create a chemistry? Or are you just a pretty face who runs around in the film, playing a role in which nobody cares if you live or die? If so, it’s meaningless even if it is a box-office success.
My goal is to live the different lives of my characters – their highs and the lows. My dream is to leave behind memorable characters for the audience.
  • Economic development can bring prosperity but it can also be a drag to arts and culture.
  • I guess my personality is that of a modern, strong Chinese woman. I don't believe in destiny. There are many things that can be changed. I don't like to be defeated by difficulties. I love freedom so when I am shaping a character, I usually do it the way I want. I always find some part of my own character in a role.
  • Time has passed. We have grown up. We feel a stronger sense of social responsibility. What we say and what we do influences people. We think more about what we can do for our country. It is not a case of being inside or outside the system. I don't think I have changed a lot. I just pay more attention to what is going on around me and try to find something to do for my family, my friends and all Chinese people.

About Gong Li

  • Gong Li is best celebrated among those born during the 1980s. In the 1990s and early 2000s, she won a major award almost every year. She is a driven, determined woman (self-described as “stubborn”) who has overcome many obstacles to get where she is today, and still takes her craft seriously despite her many laurels. In an industry where older women are often pushed out, Gong Li earned the title “most beautiful woman” in 2006, at age 40.
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