One Criteria for an “Yimou Girl” Is Not Having Plastic Surgery

One of the Criteria for an "Yimou Girl" Is Not Having Plastic Surgery

Zhou Dongyu (周冬雨) has skyrocketed to stardom since making her acting debut in a Zhang Yimou (张艺谋) film over a decade ago. Her success once again proves Zhang Yimou’s eye for talent such that the “unknowns” from yonder days have gone on to become A-listers. It’s no wonder Liu Haocun (刘浩存), a graduate of Beijing Dance Academy that’s already starred in two of the renowned directors films – One Second and Cliff Walkers, drew attention for being the newest “Yimou Girl.”

In his recent appearance on the show Cong He Shuo Qi 从何说起, Zhang Yimou was asked if he has any special requirement when it comes to casting new talents. He said that the past 40 years have seen many generations of “Yimou Girls.” However, he admits that casting is actually done by chance because it’s about the role and finding someone suitable.

One of the Criteria for an "Yimou Girl" Is Not Having Plastic Surgery
“Yimou Girls” Zhou Dongyu and Liu Haocun

Using the Camera Extensively for Casting

He also said, “Of course, aside from the character, it’s also your your own aesthetics and your own interpretation of the role.” From Zhang Yimou’s perspective, he has a unique standard where he looks for someone suitable for the big screen. He’s never filmed a smaller drama or a web series, so he’ll be looking for a face that would be suitable for film. You could be very beautiful in real life, but might not be suitable for the big screen. He said that his method is to use the camera to look at lighting, angles, stills and movement. After a thorough examination, that’s when he can determine that a person is suitable.

Why He Avoids Casting Actresses Who Have Undergone Plastic Surgery

When talking about his casting requirement, he said, “She’s dynamic. She’s definitely not someone who just casually had plastic surgery, that would work for photos. With plastic surgery, it’s over, so I’m against plastic surgery. I feel that plastic surgery damages the muscles on the face.” If someone who’s had something done auditions for a role, Zhang Yimou said it’s fine if he doesn’t find out, but he’d try to avoid casting the person if he knew. For Zhang Yimou, a person’s beauty shines through their disposition, confidence and many other factors. It doesn’t have to be what’s on the surface. However, he clarified that he’s not against the industry itself nor is he trying to bring down people who have undergone plastic surgery. Instead, he is simply speaking from the perspective of making movies. He said, “We have over a thousand muscles on our face, so just one thing, one little movement will make a difference. In movement, we will notice it and there will be some problems. On the big screen, your face is magnified tens of thousands of times, it’s impossible to hide it.” At the end of the day, it’s different compared to dramas people watch on TV or on their phones.

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