One of China’s favorite actresses, Fan Bingbing, has signed with CAA, leaving her former agency WME. The move comes at a time when Chinese influence in the entertainment industry is growing as they make multiple investments in Hollywood. CAA also is landing the actress at a time when the Middle Kingdom is openly looking for “Chinese elements” to be put into co-productions.
The actress and producer probably is best known to U.S. audiences for her role as Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. When she contracted on, she was set for four of the X-Men films. But in China, she has been popular since the mid-1990s, when she starred in the local hit TV series My Fair Princess, a comedic drama. In 2003, she starred in Cell Phone, which became the highest-grossing film of that year in Chnia. She also is a producer, having started her Fan Bingbing Studio in 2007 to create fare that she also stars in. One of those, The Empress of China, was known as one of the most expensive productions ever.
The actress, who also is a fashion icon in her country, now has about 30 film credits to her name, including Renny Harlin’s Skiptrace, in which she starred with another China and U.S. favorite, Jackie Chan. That film opened to a whopping $62M in the Mainland (chalking up Chan’s best live-action movie opening there) and has gone on to make about $134M to date. She also starred in I Am Not Madame Bovary. Directed by Feng Xiaogang, that film bowed stateside in Toronto, and she won Best Actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Bovary opens theatrically on November 18 via Well Go USA.
Bingbing, who is also a pop singer, ranks fifth on Forbes’ 2016 list of the highest-paid actresses in the world; she was the only Chinese actress to make the list. She also topped the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list for both 2013 and 2014 and last year was ranked the fourth-highest-paid actress in the world, only behind Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie.