Director insists on having Fan Bingbing as his lead actress

Feng Xiaogang has reportedly insisted on casting Bingbing despite facing pressure to change the female lead

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Back in 2018, Chinese television host Cui Yong Yuan had taken offence to the fact that plans were underway to film a sequel to the 2003 movie, Cell Phone. The movie tells the story of a Chinese talk show host who suffers from depression and often breaks the rules, committing infidelity with his co-worker and attempting to hide the truth from his wife.

After Cell Phone aired, Yong Yuan’s reputation took a nosedive, as many believed that the main character was modelled after him. In May 2018, after hearing that Chinese actress Fan Bingbing will be collaborating with Chinese director Feng Xiaogang once more to film Cell Phone 2, Yongyuan took to his Weibo to expose the actress’s yin-yang contracts for the movie, which she had signed in order to evade taxes.

The Weibo post soon snowballed into an all-out investigation of the actress, putting her career on hold. Since then, the actress has not appeared on broadcast, despite investigations concluding late last year.

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Recently, a netizen revealed that they had spotted Bingbing in a restaurant in Beijing, China. Her dining companions were soon identified as Xiaogang and his wife, Chinese actress Xu Fan.

The trio looked to be as close as ever as they chatted over their meal. According to an insider, although Xiaogang had received requests for Bingbing’s role in Cell Phone 2 to be scrapped, he insisted on leaving it as it is, even though there is no confirmed release date for the movie.

Bingbing had received the Hundred Flowers Award for Best Actress in 2004 for her role in Cell Phone. In 2016, she worked together with Xiaogang for the movie, I Am Not Madame Bovary, which nabbed her a nomination for the Best Leading Actress at the Golden Horse Awards. The duo has always had a close working relationship, with Bingbing once saying, “He (Feng Xiaogang) is my Bo Le (an historical horse tamer known for his eye for talent), and a teacher I greatly respect”.

Photos: PBE Media

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