Film star Fan Bingbing will return to the big screen after being detained by Chinese authorities last year and fined over $127.4 million in tax evasion charges.
The 37-year-old will start filming in two weeks on 355, an all-female spy thriller directed by Simon Kinberg. She will join the star-studded cast which also includes Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Chastain and Diane Kruger.
It was first announced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 as a James Bond-inspired action thriller about a group of female spies from agencies across the world who join forces to create their own team named 355.
In May 2018 it emerged that Fan was double-billed for her work on Cell Phone 2. She was paid $1.6 million in one contract and $7.8 million in another. Known as a ‘Ying-Yang’ contract, this is common practice in China’s film and TV industry. The lower figure is submitted to tax authorities and the larger amount is paid secretly.
As a result, the actress – who earned $17 million in 2016, making her the world’s fifth highest-paid female actor – was detained and interrogated by Chinese authorities at a remote location last July. Her disappearance prompted a worldwide frenzy and she didn’t emerge until October, taking to social media to apologise for tax evasion. She told fans she was “ashamed and guilty” but would pay the $129 million she owed.
She has starred in over 50 films including Iron Man 3 and X-Men: Days of Future’s Past, and is China’s second highest paid actor behind Jackie Chan.