An American's journey to the heart of Chinese culture

Updated 2017-12-29 14:30:19 CGTN
Ann James, an American theater director and producer, thanks Wu Jing for playing a role in the Chinese blockbuster Wolf Warrior II.

Ann James, an American theater director and producer, thanks Wu Jing for playing a role in the Chinese blockbuster "Wolf Warrior II."

"Wu Jing, thank you for changing my life and bringing me to the center of Chinese culture," said Ann James, an American theater director and producer, following her success in 2017's blockbuster Chinese film "Wolf Warrior II".

Her leading role in the biggest smash hit in Chinese cinema history also happened to be her debut movie appearance after director Wu Jing decided to give her a shot.

In the film, she played the African mother Nessa, impressing audiences with her brave and caring nature and irresistible sense of humor.

Unsurprisingly, she has captured global attention, hitting headlines around the world and even being covered on the BBC.

James describes herself as a "disruptive" person. Before hitting it big in the film world, she taught art performance in Sudan and worked in Amsterdam.

In 2012, she embarked on her Chinese adventure in Shanghai, and started her "Chinese dream" as a teacher for Disney English.

For years, she has been passionate about theater. So when the Disney job ended, she went back to what she loved most: being a theater producer. Her first show in Shanghai, however, flopped and her partner ran away with the money.

But she didn't let that experience dampen her spirits. Instead, she started her own theater production company called Dreamweaver that has been prolific in its presentation of more than fifty shows, brimming with experimental ideas.

But life had more surprises in store. Opportunity knocked on her door once again while she was at a bar with friends in Shanghai. She got a call, asking if she wanted to be in a movie. Her nod at that moment sparked a whole new adventure.

"I trusted that this was the right thing to do," she said. "It has truly been a gift in my life, a miracle in my life, a China Dream."

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