'Til Death Due Us Part' Eyes AIDS in Rural China

Zhang Ziyi plays an AIDS patient in director Gu Changwei's disease drama.

HONG KONG —  Director Gu Changwei is praising the all-star cast he assembled in his first film in four years, a drama exploring how AIDS impacts a rural Chinese village. 

Til Death Do Us Part stars Zhang Ziyi, known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Hong Kong actor-singer Aaron Kwok as her love interest. The cast also includes Gu’s wife, actress Jiang Wenli, and veteran Chinese actor Pu Cunxin, as well as real AIDS patients. 
 
Gu said the role of an ostracized patient “really belonged to no one other than Ziyi.” 
 
Zhang, whose recent credits include the romantic comedy Sophie’s Revenge and the English-language thriller Horsemen, said her role as a social outcast was extremely absorbing. 
 
“It was very hard to separate myself from the character at any given moment. I was always living in the world of my character,” Zhang said. 
 
Gu and Jiang marveled at the Til Death performances by Zhang and Kwok, a heartthrob idol who has reinvented himself as a serious actor. 
 
He won back-to-back best actor trophies at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards in 2005 and 2006 for the crime thriller Divergence” and the drama After This Our Exile
 
Both Gu and Jiang said they couldn’t picture the glamorous Hong Kong star as a down-to-earth Chinese villager but were pleasantly surprised. 
 
“I was thinking, ‘How could it be Aaron Kwok? He is so different,’” Jiang said. “But when I came on set on the first day I couldn’t recognize him. That’s when I thought he had succeeded.” 
 
Til Death Do Us Part will be released in China on May 10.
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