Fan Bingbing to replace Song Hye-kyo in Chen Kaige film

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Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is confirmed to replace South Korean star Song Hye-kyo for the leading role in Director Chen Kaige's upcoming historical drama, "Zhao's Orphan".

The replacement came a month after the film's production team announced that Song Hye-kyo was in talks for the role of female lead.


South Korean star Song Hye-kyo

Despite claims of a normal cast shuffle, the incident led to a row over the recent statement by Song Hye-kyo's agent company denying that the star had ever received any invitation from the film's production crew or even met Director Chen in person. The statement also warned South Korea's domestic media to be cautious with the publicity stunt tactics of China's showbiz.

"Director Chen wouldn't have met with Miss Song if she hadn't had shown her interest in the film time after time," explained Qin Hong, the chairman of Stellar Pictures, the distributor of "Zhao's Orphan."

"Miss Song and the producers failed to come to terms on some details with the contract.... Did we meet a cloned Song Hye-kyo?" Qin said in defense, adding that the deed of their South Korean counterpart was a tremendous disrespect to the film crew.

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing

According to media reports, Song Hye-kyo's agent company issued the statement out of possible concern that Song's miss-out on the role is a stigma to her star power, since South Korean media had reported that the star visited Beijing a few times in an effort to obtain the part.

Besides Fan Bingbing, the stellar lineup of "Zhao's Orphan" will also include veteran actor Ge You, newly crowned "Best Actor" Wang Xueqi and Zhang Fengyi who starred in Chen Kaige's 1993 Oscar-nominated film "Farewell, My Concubine."


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