- Fan Bingbing, one of China’s most prominent actresses, vanished in early July.
- She was accused of tax evasion alongside Feng Xiaogang, a director she had worked with.
- Feng’s cameo appearance in another film was mysteriously deleted, and his name edited out of the credits.
A Chinese director with close ties to the vanished actress, Fan Bingbing, had his appearances mysteriously edited out of an upcoming film.
Feng Xiaogang made a cameo appearance in the film, “Ash is Purest White,” which showed at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals in May and last week respectively.
But the Toronto showing of the film was five minutes shorter than that in Cannes, which ran at 141 minutes. The Toronto screening ran at 136 minutes, the Chinese-language news site Duowei News reported on Tuesday.
Newly released posters, and credits at the end of the film, also removed all mention of Feng’s name, Duowei said.
The premiere of the film, which was originally scheduled to take place on September 14 in Shanxi, China, was also temporarily cancelled, Chinese movie portal Mtime reported.
Business Insider contacted Toronto Film Festival and MK2 films, the movie’s co-investor and international sales agent, for comment.
An MK2 spokesman told Variety on Monday: “This is a normal process which improves the flow of the narrative. It is always a rush to prepare a film for Cannes.”
Jia Zhangke, the director of the film, avoided questions about Feng at another screening on Monday and described the situation as “complicated,” according to Mtime.
But there may be a more sinister motive.
In late May, shortly after the Cannes Film Festival, Fan was accused of evading Chinese tax by signing a secret contract in her upcoming film, “Cell Phone 2,” which was directed by Feng.
Cui Yongyuan, a former TV host with the state-owned China Central Television, suggested that the actress had signed two contracts: One of 10 million yuan ($US1.5 million), which was used for her taxes, and another for 50 million ($US7.3 million) yuan, which was kept secret.
These are referred to as “yin-yang contracts,” likely named because one contract is public and the other is not. In Chinese, yin means dark and yang means light.
Fan’s office has denied allegations that she signed yin-yang contracts, and accused Cui of insinuation and defamation.
Feng, who was accused of being complicit in Fan’s alleged scheme, has also denied allegations of tax evasion.
Fan has not been seen in public for more than two months, and many of her fans speculate that she is being held by the Chinese government over the tax evasion allegations.
China’s state-run Securities Daily reported earlier this month that she was “under control, and will accept the legal decision.” That article has since been deleted, and other social media posts about her appear to be censored.
Fan is one of China’s most prominent actress, and played Blink in the 2014 film “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” She was also due to appear in a spy film, “355,” alongside Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, and Lupita Nyong’o.
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