UPDATED: Paramount said when it announced in April that it was teaming with two China-based companies on a “cooperation agreement” for Transformers 4 that it would add Chinese talent. Now the fourth pic in the Michael Bay-directed tentpole series has done so, tapping Li Bingbing to join a cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz and Sophia Myles. The film has a June 27, 2014 release date set in North America and around the same date is expected for its China bow; the last Transformers pic, Dark Of The Moon, was huge in China, grossing $165M locally. Some of the movie will shoot there as well as in the U.S. when production begins this summer. The agreement with state-backed China Movie Channel and U.S.-China streaming company Jiaflix was a first for CMC and a major motion picture from the West. The move follows a similar one by Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3, a China co-production with DMG. That pic featured Chinese stars Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing — though they had larger roles in the film’s official China version than what U.S. audiences saw. Li’s recent Chinese film credits include Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame and 1911, and in the U.S. she co-starred in Resident Evil: Retribution, Snow Flower And The Secret Fan and Forbidden Kingdom. She is repped by UTA.
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