Cecilia Cheung respects producers' decision to fire her, says she will think of them as her 'family'

BEIJING - Actress Cecilia Cheung says she will always think of producing couple Tiffany Chen and Charles Heung as her family, and respects their decision never to work with her again.

Heung said on Tuesday that he had fired Cheung from the 3D movie Legend Of The Gods for her tantrums on set and that they would never hire her again.

In a statement sent to NetEase website today, Cheung said: "I have great respect for all of Mr Heung's decisions. Mrs Heung has said she sees me as a daughter, so I hope they won't be so angry."

She said she would always be grateful to the couple and their family. "I will remember how good they have been to me, I will never forget. In my heart, they will always be my family."

Cheung was cast as Chinese deity Nezha in the movie, which also stars Jet Li and Tony Leung Ka Fai. Heung said she threw tantrums over having more scenes than the bigger names.

But Cheung said in her statement: "My inability to continue starring in this film may have arisen from a misunderstanding on both sides. From training to filming, I got along happily with all the crew. I love them and can't bear to leave them."

Heung said the role of Nezha had been meant for Chinese actor Wen Zhang, but he was busy filming a television drama, and someone suggested casting an actress as the character. It was then that Chen proposed Cheung.

Heung said of Cheung: "Frankly, no one wants to watch her playing a girl or a woman." He said she failed to make the most of her cross-dressing role as the deity, which "had a bit of the feel of Lin Ching-hsia's role as Dongfang Bubai" in 1992's The Legend Of The Swordsman and could have been Cheung's comeback.

The role will now go back to Wen, Heung said.