When Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi recently appeared on stage to promote her upcoming movie Forever Young, she looked sad.
"I thought I'd died, but I woke up to see you. This time, I must find you before death seizes me," she murmured, trembling slightly, while performing a scene from the movie.
Zhang, who is one of the top names among China's celebrities, used the method to introduce her role in the movie.
In the film she plays Wang Minjia, a woman from the 19100s who leads a miserable life.
In the film the character suffers a number of misfortunes - from nearly being buried alive to having her face disfigured - which have a dramatic impact on her life.
Speaking about her role, Zhang says: "Without courage and endurance, an ordinary person would find it difficult to get through life."
The film, which also features other A-listers, such as Chang Chen, Leehom Wang, Huang Xiaoming and Chen Chusheng, was written by director Li Fangfang.
The film was originally scheduled to be released as a tribute to Tsinghua University's 100th anniversary in 2011, but could not be completed then.
When asked why it missed its original deadline, producers would say only that the long-awaited movie will open across the Chinese mainland on Jan 12.