MICHELLE YEOH’s (Zi Yuan) was recently seen in Danny Boyle’s sci-fi thriller Sunshine, for Fox Searchlight, and Rob Marshall’s critically acclaimed Memoirs of a Geisha, for Columbia Pictures. Due out this summer, for Sony Pictures Classics, is the period drama The Children of Huang Shi. At the end of August, Yeoh will be seen opposite Vin Diesel, Charlotte Rampling and Gérard Depardieu in the postapocalyptic action-thriller Babylon A.D. for 20th Century Fox, by acclaimed French director Mathieu Kassovitz. Yeoh also starred in the independent film Far North, directed by Asif Kapadia, in 2007.
Yeoh is best known to international audiences as the intense swordswoman in Ang Lee’s gripping Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and as the charming secret agent in the James Bond hit Tomorrow Never Dies, but the Malaysian-born actress has been knocking audiences out in Asia for more than two decades. Since stepping into the action-packed Hong Kong film world in 1984, she has starred in more than 30 films and challenged traditional views of Asian women with her portrayals of strong female characters.
She clearly demonstrated that she is more than the world’s action queen in the epic film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a performance that brought her Best Actress nominations at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, the Hong Kong Film Awards and the BAFTAs in 2001. She was also named ShoWest’s International Star of the Year in 2001. Yeoh also received a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 1997 Hong Kong Film Awards for her performance in the historical drama The Soong Sisters.
In 2002, Yeoh added another feather to her cap by producing and starring in The Touch, a contemporary romantic action-adventure. That same year, she was honored with a Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award in recognition of her achievement and commitment to nurture creative talents. Hence, she was named Producer of the Year by CineAsia and received The Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award by Junior Chamber International. She also produced and starred in the futuristic action-adventure Silver Hawk in 2003.
In October 2007, Yeoh was conferred the honor of Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor by the president of France, in recognition of her contribution to the arts and cultural exchange between Asia and France.
Yeoh does a good deal of work for charity and is also an honorary patron of amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research), the Hong Kong Cancer Fund and the ICM (Institute for Cerebral and Medullary Disorders). Recently, she became a global ambassador for the Make Roads Safe campaign for promoting global road safety.