BEIJING• Chinese actress Fan Bingbing's hope of a return to the small screen has taken a big hit after a television serial starring her will be reshot to remove scenes of her.
Zhejiang Talent Television & Film, one of the production companies behind Legend Of Ba Qing, announced on Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Sky Cat Technology to replace the scenes of "key actors" with other A-listers. It says more than 60 million yuan (S$11.6 million) will be spent on the reshoot.
Legend Of Ba Qing, also known as Win The World, is an epic historical drama that stars Fan alongside Chinese actor Gavin Gao. Fan plays widow Ba Qing while Gao plays Ying Zheng, the founder of the Qin Dynasty and the first emperor of China.
Ba Qing would have been Fan's first screen appearance since her tax-evasion scandal last year and her first major TV serial since The Empress Of China in 2014.
Zhejiang Talent did not give any reason for the reshoot, but the "key actors" mentioned in the release have been widely interpreted to be referring to Fan and Gao.
A spate of scandals involving its two leading actors has caused the airing of Ba Qing to be postponed time and again.
Filming for the show ended in September 2017, but it first ran into trouble in January last year when two Qin history lovers accused the show of historical inaccuracies and using Japanese instead of Qin costumes.
Ba Qing was later cleared by the authorities and scheduled to air in April last year, but in March last year, Gao was arrested in Australia after a woman accused him of sexual assault. He has been released on bail, but remains on trial in Australia.
In May last year, Fan was accused of tax evasion and disappeared from public view for more than four months before she was ordered to pay more than 800 million yuan in overdue taxes and fines.
Zhejiang Talent said last year if it did not eventually receive a release date and the show was dropped from release, it will fall into some 740 million yuan of bad debts. Fall In Love In Aranya, another show starring Gao and produced by Zhejiang Talent, has also not been released due to his case.
Zhejiang Talent has applied to freeze assets of Gao and Beijing Yixuan Culture, a company under him and his then-wife Michelle Dong, as it plans to claim compensation from the actor. Gao and Dong divorced in March this year.