Ni Ni (Chinese:倪妮) is a Chinese movie starlet who rose to fame with her widely-acclaimed maiden performance in Zhang Yimou’s blockbuster movie, “The Flowers of War,” a period drama set against the backdrop of the Nanjing Massacre during World War II.
Co-starring with award-wining British actor Christian Bale, Ni played “Yu Mo,” a prostitute who mingled with her swanky peers sharing the sanctuary of a church with a group of students in the war-ravaged Nanjing. Based on Yan Geling’s novel, “The 13 Women of Nanjing,” the movie has a production budget of 600 million yuan (US$94.8 million) and portrays a heartstring story where vanity, contempt and suspicion thawed under love and sacrifice, and the common humanities glittered amid the terrifying cruelties of war.
A graduate of Communication University of China, Nanjing, Ni had enrolled in a two-year confidential training program that taught her English, etiquette gestures, calligraphy, painting, chess and music – all necessary skills for a highly sought-after prostitute in old Nanjing – before she joined Zhang’s cast as the movie’s leading actress. The film’s Los Angeles premier on Dec. 6, 2011, was her on-screen debut.
Born in 1988 in Nanjing, Ni was dubbed as the new “Mou Girl” (young actress selected by director Zhang Yimou) following internationally renowned Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi who had their breakthrough performance in Zhang’s films. However, Ni said she had never expected to be a star.
“I come from a strict family,” Ni said in an interview with Beijing Times. “If I walk the way Yu walked, I have no doubt my father would have spanked me.”