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Thread: 355

  1. #1
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    355

    I could've sworn I started a 355 thread here before. Well, here it is now, fallout from the Fan Bingbing scandal.

    OCTOBER 10, 2018 1:00AM PT
    Fan Bingbing May Have Been Found, but ‘355’ Still Needs to Locate a Star
    By MATT DONNELLY
    Senior Film Writer
    @MattDonnelly


    CREDIT: JOEL C RYAN/INVISION/AP/REX/SHUT

    “Kill the chicken to scare the monkeys,” goes an old Chinese proverb about making an example of an individual to rattle the many.

    Embattled Chinese actress and global celebrity Fan Bingbing, who last week admitted to running afoul of her government and evading millions of dollars in taxes, is “absolutely” being made an example of, Hollywood insiders and regional experts who spoke to Variety say.

    After becoming the subject of wild conspiracy theories over her well-being before resurfacing Oct. 3 in a state of deep contrition, Fan is also likely to also face consequences in the very realm that could save her from financial ruin: show business.

    Producers on her next gig, the international all-female action movie “355,” are prepared to fire and replace her should she not emerge from scandal in a manner that satisfies the government, film distributors and Chinese moviegoers, multiple individuals close to the project say. For now, the team is content to watch and wait, with production not expected to begin until spring of 2019.

    Any decision would specifically be made to please Huayi Brothers, the entertainment company that paid a hefty $20 million in May for the rights to release “355” in mainland China when the deal was packaged out of the Cannes Film Festival.

    While the film will also star Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz and Marion Cotillard, a top Chinese star would be crucial for any mainland distributor to recoup such a high rights fee.

    The state could also impose a media ban on Fan and force an acting hiatus, as it did in 2007 with Tang Wei, the breakout star of Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution.” Tang was removed from all theatrical prints and advertisements for the film and did not work again for three years.

    Representatives for “355” director Simon Kinberg and FilmNation, the movie’s sales agent, declined to comment for this story. A rep for Huayi Brothers did not respond to Variety’s request for comment.

    A $130 million bill for unpaid taxes, late fees and fines, and an empty dance card are not Fan’s only woes. “The bigger issue for Huayi and other producers is how uncertain public reaction will be. The public is not sympathetic to those who have flouted the law,” Clayton Dube, director of the U.S.-China Institute at USC Annenberg, says of “355’s” commercial prospects in China. “She’s in a slightly different category, because she wasn’t taking public money,” Dube adds. “But she’s not contributing to the public purse. That’s still corruption.”

    Fan was reportedly detained and grilled for months over secret contracts she’s said to have signed in parallel with the deals she officially reported to tax authorities regarding her film work. While fans wondered about her disappearance from public view, Chinese academics awarded her a shocking score of zero in an annual state-sanctioned report ranking the “social responsibility” of Chinese celebrities, presaging her spectacular fall from grace.

    The media coverage labeled her toxic for the tens of millions of Chinese youths who obsessively follow her as an artist, fashion plate and ultimate influencer. While the social responsibility report likened her to the Chinese equivalent of a Kardashian sister, Fan’s brand is observably upmarket.

    The bigger issue is how uncertain public reaction will be. The public is not sympathetic to those who have flouted the law.”
    CLAYTON DUBE, U.S.-CHINA INSTITUTE, USC ANNENBERG
    She’s been the face of campaigns for Louis Vuitton, jeweler De Beers, Adidas and luxury trinket maker Montblanc. That last company dropped her as a result of the tax scandal. More are expected to follow suit.

    It’s not all bad news for Fan. Global agency CAA has no plans to drop her from its client lists as she works on mending fences, an individual close to the actress says. A CAA spokesperson declined to comment.

    CAA does not rep Fan in China, but scouts global branding and acting opportunities for the star. The thinking inside the agency is that Fan will not face any criminal charge as long as she settles up with the government, and she still has plenty of support from her global fan base. CAA would also be shielded from any investigation as it takes no commission on her Chinese deals.

    An important sign that the government does not wish to scrub Fan from the face of the Earth lies in her active account on Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo, says Dube. “It’s striking to me that they didn’t pull the plug and close her account. They didn’t make her a nonperson,” he says.

    Indeed, it was on Weibo that Fan made an abject apology for the entire mess. “I’m facing enormous fears and worries over the mistakes I made! I have failed the country, society’s support and trust, and the love of my devoted fans,” she wrote.

    Fan will be preoccupied with being the sacrificial chicken for some time. As for the monkeys? There are nearly 200 well-paid actors now in the government’s crosshairs, reports say, based on the muckraking of a Chinese talk-show host named Cui Yongyuan.

    Cui is credited with exposing Fan’s parallel contracts, known as “yin-yang” deals, and says he’s got a list of 585 actors and crew in China who engaged in similar practices. An industrywide investigation is under way.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    Fan Bingbing Movie Comeback to Happen “This Year”
    After being disappeared due to tax evasion last year, Fan Bingbing looks set to return via Jessica Chastain-led spy thriller 355
    By RADII CHINA 3 days ago

    She may not have opened a crazily expensive beauty salon to claw back some money after her enormous fine for tax evasion, but disgraced Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing looks set for a comeback after all.

    Rumors have been bubbling away about her returning to the movie business via Jessica Chastain’s spy thriller 355 for a while, but now they’ve been given extra credence by director Simon Kinberg.

    Talking to Collider, Kinberg referenced Fan Bingbing by name and stated that she, Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, and Marion Cotillard were “not just interested, but committed” to the project.

    Kinberg’s interview, taking place as part of WonderCon 2019, was mostly a promotional push for X-Men movie Dark Phoenix, and the director wasn’t pressed on whether participating in the film may prove difficult for Fan, given she’s yet to return to work following her disappearance and subsequent fine for tax evasion last year.

    But he added that “we plan to make that movie this year” and that he’s currently tweaking the script and casting for male characters in the female-led spy thriller.
    THREADS
    355
    Where in the world is Fan Bingbing?
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    broken engagement

    If Fan is rebounding, I'm easy to find.

    Chinese Star Fan Bingbing Calls Off Engagement After Tax Scandal
    10:10 PM PDT 6/27/2019 by Patrick Brzeski


    George Pimentel/WireImage
    Fan Bingbing

    The actress shared the news of her split from actor Li Chen in a social media post, writing, "In one's lifetime, there are many goodbyes...."
    Fan Bingbing, China's highest-paid actress who mysteriously went missing last year amid a tax scandal, has split from her fiance, actor Li Chen.

    Fan announced her breakup with Li late Thursday in a short message posted to her official page on Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like service.

    "In one's lifetime, there are many goodbyes," she said. "Thank you for everything you have given me — the support and love — along the way. Thank you for your care and love in the future."

    She added, "We will not be an 'us' anymore, but we are still us."

    "Fan Bingbing and Li Chen break up" has been the leading trending item on Weibo since Fan went public with the split.

    Fan and Li met while working together on the hit Chinese period drama The Empress of China, which aired in 2014. They became engaged in September 2017, after Li, 40, proposed to Fan at her birthday party.

    Fan, 37, has been one of China's most recognizable stars for over a decade, and she became familiar to international moviegoers thanks to a role as Blink in the X-Men franchise. As much a fashion icon as an actress, she also was the go-to face for luxury endorsements in China, which helped propel her to the very top of China's list of highest-paid celebrities.

    The past year has been epically challenging for the actress though. She made headlines around the world in mid-2018 thanks to a very public tax evasion scandal, which resulted in a months-long disappearance from public view. It later emerged that she had been detained and interrogated by Chinese authorities at a remote location. Fan eventually emerged in October to issue a groveling — seemingly coerced — apology, while also agreeing to pay fines and back taxes allegedly totaling around $100 million.

    Fan has seen most of her Chinese film projects put on hold in the wake of her tax problems. It now appears likely that her first attempt at a comeback will come courtesy of Hollywood. In the months prior to her scandal, Fan signed on to star opposite Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong'o and Penélope Cruz in the spy thriller 355, produced by FilmNation and distributed in the U.S. by Universal. Following her disappearance and public humbling, her role — and the project overall — was thought to be in jeopardy, especially once Chinese studio Huayi Brothers Media stepped back from a $20 million deal for the Middle Kingdom distribution rights to the title.

    During Cannes, however, Chinese film finance company Golden Title stepped in to replace Huayi Brothers on 355. The film is scheduled to begin shooting in Paris in early July.

    Fan's former fiance, Li, has suffered some career turbulence of his own in recent months. Best known for his appearance in Feng Xiaogang's 2010 blockbuster Aftershock and several popular TV series (Beijing Love Story and The Good Fellas), he was next set to star in Huayi Brothers' war epic The Eight Hundred, which was tipped to become one China's biggest hits of the summer. The film's release plans were abruptly scrapped last week under suspected censorship pressure from Beijing.

    Li also made his directorial debut in 2017 with the military action film Sky Hunter, which co-starred Fan but disappointed both critically and commercially, earning about $47 million from a production budget of over $30 million.
    THREADS
    Where in the world is Fan Bingbing?
    355
    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    Cotillard pulled out

    This is dated but it seems the reporter above didn't get the Cotillard memo.

    Spy Thriller '355' Adds New Chinese Backer — but Loses a Castmember (Exclusive)
    9:15 PM PDT 5/14/2019 by Tatiana Siegel , Patrick Brzeski


    Courtesy of THR

    The film’s fab five — which also includes Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o and Penélope Cruz — has shrunk to four.

    The female-led spy film gains new life as Han Sanping and Alex Zhang’s Golden Title replaces Huayi Brothers while Marion Cotillard leaves the project.
    Cannes giveth, Cannes taketh away.

    The female-led spy film 355, which marked last year’s biggest sale on the Croisette, has added a key investor. THR has learned that Beijing industry veteran Han Sanping and Alex Zhang’s Golden Title will come in to replace Huayi Brothers on the film that nearly fell apart in the wake of star Fan Bingbing’s tax evasion scandal in her native China. But just as the project was salvaged, French star Marion Cotillard pulled out, citing personal reasons. That means the film’s fab five — which also includes Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o and Penélope Cruz — has shrunk to four.

    Still, the fact that the Simon Kinberg-helmed 355 is getting off the ground at all is no small feat. After Fan, China’s biggest female star, went missing in the middle of a government crackdown on celebrity tax dodgers, the film’s fate hung in limbo. When the film sold last year, Universal paid $20 million for U.S. rights, while Huayi Bros. put up a matching $20 million for distribution rights in China. But Huayi Bros. walked away amid the Fan scandal, leaving the project — with a budget said to be $75 million-plus — in jeopardy.

    A source says Golden Title is coming in for a much smaller price tag than Huayi’s $20 million. The reduced price reflects Fan’s newly uncertain status in China’s enormous film market. If there’s anyone who can help Fan successfully navigate her rehabilitation, however, it’s 355’s new backer Han, the former head of state-backed distributor China Film Group. Few in the Beijing film business have Han’s depth of connections and industry savvy. Now, the film is moving toward a July start date in Paris, but without Cotillard on board. However, Kinberg isn’t done casting, with Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramirez recently joining the globe-trotting film. CAA Media Finance negotiated the deal with Golden Title.


    TATIANA SIEGEL
    tatiana.siegel@thr.com
    @tatianasiegel27

    PATRICK BRZESKI
    THRnews@thr.com
    @thr
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    Paris

    Jessica Chastain shares first look at her female-led spy thriller 355
    By Marcus Jones July 08, 2019 at 04:27 PM EDT



    MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES

    Jessica Chastain shared a first look at her upcoming movie 355 via Instagram on Monday.

    The film follows an international group of female spies played by Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Diane Kruger, and Fan Bingbing.

    In the video, Chastain explains how she came up with the idea for the film while shooting Dark Phoenix with Simon Kinberg, who is also directing 355. At one point the video flashes to the front page of the script, showing it was penned by Theresa Rebeck (Smash).

    The video also gives a peek at the movie’s preproduction process, with Kruger and Chastain at a gun range and Fan and Nyong’o laced up in boxing gloves.

    355 was announced at last year’s Cannes International Film Festival, but saw delays after Fan was accused of tax evasion in her native China, and had to go into hiding for months until eventually being ordered to pay back the Chinese government the equivalent of $131 million.

    Chastain says of herself and her costars, “We are the studio. Everyone owns the film, and now we’re making it.” Universal is distributing 355 in North America.

    jessicachastain
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    Paris, France
    Click video for sound

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    Principal photography for @355movie has officially commenced! #High5for355
    2d
    You have to follow the instagram link above to see the vid.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #6
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    The 355 - Official Trailer 2

    Gene Ching
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