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Zhang signs three movie deal

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Beijing (Reuters): Zhang Ziyi, the Chinese star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha, has signed a three-picture deal with Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, state media said. Zhang, 27, confirmed that she would star in three movies including a film about Chinese folk heroine, Hua Mulan, and a remake of the Japanese classic The Seven Samurai, Xinhua news agency said in a report late yesterday. In both movies the 27-year-old would play women disguised as men, the report said.

As Mulan, she will play a young girl who goes to battle in place of her sick father. In Samurai, she will play a village girl who dresses as a man to protect herself from bandits. No details were provided on the subject of the third film. The report said Zhang met Weinstein, a former founder of Miramax, at France's Cannes film festival last month.

The three-picture deal confirms Zhang's rise in Hollywood estimation after a string of martial arts hits and despite a lukewarm reception for her last film Geisha. Zhang's new movie The Banquet, a Chinese-language costume drama directed by China's Feng Xiaogang, is due for release later this year, Xinhua said.

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