Monday, May 20, 2013

Li Bingbing Joins Transformers 4 Cast

The China side of Transformers 4 production has found one of their 4 or so actors professional actors by casting Li Bingbing in the movie. The actress is an A-list actress in China while a complete unknown in Hollywood with her first big role being Ada Wong in Resident Evil: Retribution.

The press release (below) for the casting, Michael Bay said "I am excited to have Li Bingbing join our cast and to be shooting portions of the movie in her native China. I have always aspired to work with the best actors and this cast is especially exciting now with the addition of Li."

The extent of the role is unknown as nothing has been revealed on exactly how the co-production deal between Paramount and China Movie Channel will impact how the movie is produced. So far the only revealed information is a currently filming reality show that will attempt to find 2 professional actors and 2 amateur actors to appear in the film. The first film to do a co-production agreement with China was Iron Man 3 which had a "China cut" of the film that basically added 4 minutes of product placement ads for Chinese only products as several Chinese actors, including Li Bingbing, were essentially background extras with a few lines. Filming for the movie is expected to start in a few weeks around the Austin, Texas area. Thanks to Wynton R for the link.

Press Release

HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 20, 2013) - Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures jointly
announced today that Chinese actress Li Bingbing ("RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION") has been cast in the eagerly awaited "TRANSFORMERS 4." The actress joins Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz and Sophia Myles in the fourth installment in the hit series of movies based on the best-selling Hasbro toyline. Paramount Pictures will release the film on June 27th, 2014.

"I am excited to have Li Bingbing join our cast and to be shooting portions of the movie in her native China. I have always aspired to work with the best actors and this cast is especially exciting now with the addition of Li," said Michael Bay.

Li's recent hits in China include the Tsui Hark-directed "DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME" and "1911." She has already begun to cross over into American films, most recently co-starring in the Paul W.S. Anderson-directed "RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION," and before that "SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN" and "FORBIDDEN KINGDOM." She was recently named Variety's "Asian Star of the Year" which was celebrated in Los Angeles last month.
"I am thrilled to get to work with Michael Bay. 'TRANSFORMERS' has influenced generations in China and the movie franchise has a massive fan base. I am very happy to be able to join this international production. Thank you Paramount for the invitation! Looking forward to it!" said Li Bingbing.

Paramount, China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises announced this past April a Cooperation Agreement regarding the production of "TRANSFORMERS 4" in China. Under the agreement, China Movie Channel, under the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT), will cooperate with Paramount in broad-based support of the production of the film in China. "TRANSFORMERS 4" is expected to be released in China on or about June 27, 2014. The parties also intend to cooperate in a number of other areas related to "TRANSFORMERS 4," including the selection of filming sites within China, theatrical promotion, and possible post-production activities in China as well as casting of Chinese actors and actresses in the film.

This agreement represents the first time that China Movie Channel will work with a western studio in the production of a major motion picture.

"We are delighted to see Ms. Li Bingbing being selected for a major role in 'TRANSFORMERS 4,' a very successful global film franchise," said Yan Xiaoming, Chairman of China Movie Channel. "Ms. Li is an excellent and famous Chinese actress with many fans in China. She has had many successful projects with China Movie Channel and in the past. We wish her every success in 'TRANSFORMERS 4' and with the worldwide audience that will enjoy her great talent."

Said Sid Ganis, Chairman of Jiaflix, "Li Bingbing is an enormously talented Chinese artist who is fast becoming a worldwide movie star and is a great addition to a stellar cast."

Shooting this summer in multiple locations in the U.S. and China, the film is directed by Bay and re-unites the filmmaking team from the hit franchise, including producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy & Tom DeSanto and Ian Bryce; and executive producers Steven Spielberg, Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. "TRANSFORMERS 4" is written by Ehren Kruger, based on Hasbro's Transformers Action Figures.

The third, and most recent installment of the franchise, "TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON," is the fifth highest global grossing film of all time with $1.124 billion dollars of worldwide box office success. The "TRANSFORMERS" movies are among the most popular films ever released in China, and Michael Bay is among the most popular directors with Chinese audiences. "TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON," released theatrically in 2011, grossed $165 million in China and more than $1.1 billion worldwide.

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