Fan Bingbing May Have Been Found, but ‘355’ Still Needs to Locate a Star

“Kill the chicken to scare the monkeys,” goes an old Chinese proverb about making an example of an individual to rattle the many.

Embattled Chinese actress and global celebrity Fan Bingbing, who last week admitted to running afoul of her government and evading millions of dollars in taxes, is “absolutely” being made an example of, Hollywood insiders and regional experts who spoke to Variety say.

After becoming the subject of wild conspiracy theories over her well-being before resurfacing Oct. 3 in a state of deep contrition, Fan is also likely to also face consequences in the very realm that could save her from financial ruin: show business.

Producers on her next gig, the international all-female action movie “355,” are prepared to fire and replace her should she not emerge from scandal in a manner that satisfies the government, film distributors and Chinese moviegoers, multiple individuals close to the project say. For now, the team is content to watch and wait, with production not expected to begin until spring of 2019.

Any decision would specifically be made to please Huayi Brothers, the entertainment company that paid a hefty $20 million in May for the rights to release “355” in mainland China when the deal was packaged out of the Cannes Film Festival.

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