Is Fan Bingbing on the verge of an unlikely comeback? That’s what some on Chinese social media are currently speculating.
Fan was at the center of one of the biggest stories of 2018 in China, after she vanished from view for several months following accusations of tax evasion. The disappearance of a star who had previously been one of China’s most ubiquitous celebrities was a story that gripped and shook onlookers around the world. Fan eventually reemerged via a grovelling apology on Weibo three months after she’d last been seen in public, and having been hit with a gargantuan 800 million RMB fine for her supposed crimes.
As 2018 wound down, there were rumors that Fan would be retiring from the public eye for good — perhaps understandably given her treatment. But now, speculation is rife that she may be attempting a comeback of sorts.
Firstly, photos for a new line of sunglasses have been leaked online with Fan as the model. The brand behind the products, Prsr, has had Fan on their books for a decade, but sources have reportedly confirmed that the shots come from their 2019 catalogue.
Photos purportedly showing Fan Bingbing modelling Prsr’s 2019 sunglasses range
Secondly, tongues have also been set wagging thanks to an article in the Taiwanese version of Marie Clarie which suggests that the Jessica Chastain-led, Simon Kinberg-helmed spy thriller 355 is pushing ahead with production — with Fan in the cast. Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, and Marion Cotillard (pictured with Chastain and Fan in Cannes above) are all signed up as well, a cast list that ought to secure a decent box office and therefore payday for those involved. Given the enormity of the fines she faces, such a move could be a welcome boon for Fan.
Whether or not Fan is able to return to the spotlight, the film and television industry in China continues to feel the aftershocks of the “yin-yang contracts” scandal that ensnared her. While it’s clear she’s been made an example of, it’s less clear whether the authorities in China will be willing to let her attempt a rehabilitation of her career quite so quickly.
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