Li Bingbing replaces Zhang Ziyi to star "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan"

08:29, February 23, 2010      

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Chinese actress Li Bingbing has replaced Zhang Ziyi's for the leading role in the new film "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," the producers confirmed Monday.

The Republic of Korean actress Jeon Ji-Hyun, who was previously reported to have withdrawn along with Zhang Ziyi, remained in the cast, the Shanghai Film Group Corporation announced at a news conference.

The film also stars Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who finished his shooting in Shanghai last week.

Adapted from Lisa See's bestselling novel of the same name, the English-language film focuses on the lifelong friendship between two women in remote 19th century Hunan and in modern Shanghai as well.

Chinese American filmmaker Wayne Wang, whose work includes "the Joy Luck Club" and "Anywhere but Here" directs the movie.

Wang clarified Monday that the movie was about friendship rather than a lesbian relationship.

He said he was satisfied with the performance of Li Bingbing, the latest Best Actress Award winner at the Taiwan's Annual Golden Horse Awards, and he supported Zhang Ziyi's decision to quit as lead actor and producer.

Zhang's publicist announced earlier that she quit the movie to focus on Wang Kar Wai's new martial-arts drama, "the Grand Master."

The shooting of the film is expected to finish at the end of April and will be shown in cinemas across China earlier next year.

The Shanghai Film Group Corporation and Beijing Jiali Shengshi Film and TV Production are the movie's producers while overseas distribution rights belong to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.

Different from previous reports, Wendi Deng Murdoch and Florence Sloan will not be producing the movie, said producer Xiong Xiaoge from Beijing Jiali Shengshi.

Wendi Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's China-born wife, along with Florence Sloan, the Malaysian-Chinese wife of MGM chairman Harry Sloan, formerly owned the adaptation right to the novel.

Source: Xinhua
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