Fan Bingbing is Blink

Updated: 2014-05-23 07:03

By Liu Wei (China Daily)

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Actress Fan Bingbing is thrilled to have worked in one of the highest-grossing movie franchises in the world. Her experience is a rare feat for an Asian. In the newest superhero X-Men movie Days of the Future Past, Fan plays Blink, a mutant with special powers.

Fan, 32, is a movie, TV and fashion icon in China but the role of Blink has raised her profile. She will be seen in the Hollywood film globally.

Fan had played a nurse in Iron Man 3, but the version with her performance was only released in China.

This X-Men has an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and Halle Berry, and audiences worldwide will get to see Fan acting with many Western stars.

Months of learning English has helped Fan become Blink. The X-Men series is based on fictional characters from Marvel Comics.

"I still feel like I am in a dream," she told a recent media conference in Beijing, attended also by Jackman and Peter Dinklage.

"I watched X-Men movies a lot, but never thought I could be part of the family, teaming up with Wolverine and other superheroes."

Fan, however, isn't the only Chinese element in the film. Some mutants seek refuge in a temple which, as the subtitles suggest, is located in China.

Although the temple in the movie bears little resemblance to traditional Chinese architecture, it is there that the superheroes fight their adversaries to complete their mission.

It is not the first time that China has featured in a Hollywood blockbuster. In the space thriller Gravity, actress Sandra Bullock returns to earth in a Chinese spaceship. In the fourth installment of Transformers to be released in July, the city of Chongqing is shown as a battlefield for the autobots.

The increased inclusion of Chinese popular culture and locations in big budget Hollywood films is a result of China's economic growth, Fan says.

"In the original comic book, my role was not even Asian. But the fact that they cast me shows the growing importance of the Chinese market and the booming of cultural exchanges between the two nations (the United States and China)," she says.

According to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and TV, China's box-office revenue touched 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) in 2013, making its movie business the world's second biggest, after the US. This year, so far, box office revenue in China has reached above 6.8 billion yuan, a 29-percent jump over the same period last year.

China was a top money-maker for Hollywood films such as Avatar and Kung Fu Panda 2, and some films like last year's release Pacific Rim earned more in China than even in North America.

Fan hopes to work in the next X-Men film as well.

"For me it was such a good chance to learn in such a professional team," Fan says.

"Jackman was always there for me, even if the camera was not on him. From him and other members of the crew I learned so much about professionalism."

Jackman, of course, seems equally delighted.

"It was not a difficult thing to look at someone like Bingbing," says Jackman, who was in Beijing last year to promote The Wolverine.

"I am looking forward to seeing her in the sequel."

The film will premiere in the US and China on May 23.

 Fan Bingbing is Blink

Fan Bingbing's role in X-Men is an example of more Chinese elements in Hollywood films. Jiang Dong / China Daily

(China Daily 05/23/2014 page22)