The 8th of August — think of it as 8-8 — doubles up a classic Chinese lucky number, so I’m guessing that good fortune has been smiling on Chinese actress Ni Ni, born on this date in Nanjing in, um, ’88.
Ni’s Nanjing origins, it turns out, were a factor in Zhang Yimou’s 2011 historical drama The Flowers of War, set in Nanjing during a particularly heinous period in the second Sino-Japanese War; Zhang spent rather a lot of time auditioning the local talent. Ni plays Yu Mo, unofficial leader of the local girls for hire, so to speak, opposite John Miller (Christian Bale), an American mortician who had come simply to bury a priest but found himself increasingly caught up in the carnage.
The Flowers of War turned out to be the most expensive film ever made in China, with a budget of some $94 million. A release in the States was inevitable, since much of the film was shot in English, and this is the trailer:
Ni won the 2012 Asian Film Award for Best Newcomer.
And this stereo-effect name of hers foils the standard Wikipedia caution on Chinese names:
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Ni.
Which is, it turns out, a fairly common family name.