Fan Bingbing's role in spy thriller hangs in the balance

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has yet to take part in the shooting of spy film 355.
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has yet to take part in the shooting of spy film 355.PHOTO: FAN BINGBING / INSTAGRAM

BEIJING • Is Fan Bingbing still barred from leaving China?

The Chinese actress may be seeking a comeback since she re-emerged after a tax-evasion scandal last year, but there are signs that she might not be fully out of the woods yet.

Fan is scheduled to film the Hollywood movie, 355, and was cast before the scandal put the project in limbo.

However, Variety magazine reported in April that the movie would proceed with the original cast.

The project is an all-female spy thriller which stars Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong'o and Diane Kruger, who replaced French actress Marion Cotillard in June after she dropped out of the movie for personal reasons.

Production of the movie began in Paris in July, but Fan has yet to take part in the shooting. The movie will also be shot in London and Morocco.

News reports said there was a stand-in actress, whose face will be replaced by Fan's in post-production.

Meanwhile, Fan announced on China's social media platform Weibo that Monday was her birthday and invited people to send her well wishes. She turns 38 this year.

However, compared with past years when there were several celebrities wishing her happy birthday, only a handful did so this year.

On the short list of well-wishers was Taiwanese actress Janine Chang, who had acted with her in the 2014 Chinese television serial, The Empress Of China, but not Fan's ex-boyfriend Li Chen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2019, with the headline 'Fan Bingbing's role in spy thriller hangs in the balance'. Print Edition | Subscribe