29 May – Once a frequently seen face in Chinese movies and TV series, as well as several Hollywood titles, Fan Bingbing has been absent from both the small screen and the big screen following her tax evasion scandal in 2018.
However, The South China Morning Post brought word that Chinese media are reporting that the 38-year-old actress might be seen again soon, in a drama series that is set to stream on China's video-sharing website, Youku.
The period drama "Win the World", previously called "The Legend of Ba Qing", is reportedly one of the most expensive TV series to be made in China.
It stars Fan as a widowed entrepreneur who assists Qin dynasty founder Qin Shi Huang (Gao Yunxiang a.k.a. Gavin Gao), also the first emperor of a unified China, in funding the Great Wall's construction.
The upcoming release of the series comes as a surprise to many considering China's tendency to permanently shelf works that feature disgraced stars, plus the fact that Fan isn't the only scandal-plagued cast member.
The series' previous release in 2018 was cancelled due to the separate scandals faced by both leads, Fan and Gao.
While Fan was in hot water due to owing more than 255 million yuan in unpaid taxes, which she and her company were later ordered to pay in full on top of the 600 million yuan imposed on them, her co-star Gao was arrested in Sydney a few months before that following a sexual assault accusation.
Gao, who was not allowed to leave Australia until the court case was settled, finally returned to China in March this year after being acquitted of two counts of indecent assault and five counts of sexual assault.
Talent Television and Film last year toyed with the idea of replacing the leads, but it is reported that both Gao and Fan will not be cut from the upcoming series after all. Though the series will now include only 60 episodes instead of 76 as originally intended.
With "Win the World" finally releasing, fans are hoping Fan's other shelved works will soon follow suit. These include the Feng Xioagang-helmed "Cell Phone 2" and the fantasy film "L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 2".
Fan also has a couple of Hollywood titles lined up. She plays a mermaid in the Pierce Brosnan and Kaya Scodelario-starring "The King's Daughter", and stars alongside Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Lupita Nyong'o and Diane Kruger as part of the ensemble cast in spy movie "355".