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Fan Bingbing, China’s Most Famous Actress Who Has Been Missing Since June, Now Presumed Imprisoned

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X-Men: Days of Future Past actress Fan Bingbing – described by Time Magazine as the most famous actress in China in 2015 – has been missing, gone without a trace, since June. Shocking in itself, developments are now making clear that Bingbing may have been imprisoned without trial by the Chinese government, on allegations of significant tax evasion.

Fan Bingbing, seen by many as China’s most bankable star and the face of thousands of advertisements for luxury brands, posted on her social media in June that she was visiting a children’s hospital in Tibet. She hasn’t been seen or heard from in public since. On the 6th of September, state news outlet Securities Daily briefly ran a story saying that she had been brought “under control” and was to “receive legal judgement”. The article was swiftly deleted.

The Chinese government has made no statements about the disappearance of the country’s most visible celebrity.

Rumours began to fly in May that she could be brought in for questioning, following a leak to a Chinese tabloid that reported to show that the actress had two separate contracts for a single film – one alleging that she was paid $1.5 million, and the other showing that she was in fact paid $7.5 million. Said documentations are referred to colloquially as ‘yin-yang contracts’, with the smaller contract being reported for tax purposes. Bingbing’s representatives denied the existence of such contracts – which are a poorly-kept secret in the Chinese film industry – but apparently to no avail.

China has a somewhat shady relationship with tax evasion, home as it is to approximately 590 billionaires. China’s communist government are supposedly willing to turn a blind eye to smaller matters of tax evasion, but come down firmly on more flagrantly fraudulent cases. The alleged imprisonment of Fan Bingbing has been seen by some as a significant scare tactic by the state, designed to send the message that no one – not even the country’s most valuable actress – is above the law.

No criminal charges have been formally brought against Fan Bingbing, nor anyone related to her.

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Guillermo del Toro to Direct Stop Motion Pinocchio for Netflix

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Pinocchio Movie Marker

Fresh off his Oscar win for “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro is set to make his animated feature film directing debut. Del Toro has received the green light from Netflix to film “Pinocchio,” a stop motion musical version of the classic children’s tale about a puppet who wants to be a real live boy. He will write and produce the film in addition to directing it.

According to Variety, The film will be set in Italy during the 1930’s, a particularly fraught historical moment and a time when fascism was on the rise and Benito Mussolini was consolidating control of the country. Production on “Pinocchio” will begin this fall. Del Toro previously set “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” against a totalitarian backdrop, although he placed those stories in Franco’s Spain.

“No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” said del Toro in a statement. “In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend. He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember.”

Del Toro previously collaborated with Netflix on its Emmy award-winning television series “Trollhunters,” the first installment of the DreamWorks’ Tales of Arcadia trilogy. The next chapter, “3Below,” is set to debut on in December and it will be followed by “Wizards” in 2019. He created the upcoming Netflix horror anthology series, “Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight.” Del Toro’s other credits include “Crimson Peak” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

The project comes as Netflix is investing heavily in children’s entertainment — a move that will be increasingly important as Disney prepares to launch its own streaming service. To that end, the company has backed the likes of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” along with upcoming series such as “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” and “Gabby’s Dollhouse.”

Del Toro will collaborate on “Pinocchio” with the Jim Henson Company, the company behind “The Dark Crystal” and ShadowMachine, the creator of “Bojack Horseman.” Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico, and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment will produce the film. Blanca Lista will co-produce it.

Patrick McHale (“Over The Garden Wall”) will co-write the script, and Mark Gustafson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) will co-direct the movie. Guy Davis will serve as co-production designer and the film’s puppets will be built by Mackinnon and Saunders, the team behind “Corpse Bride.”

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Aquaman Director Teases Two Of The Film’s Creatures, And Gosh They Look Silly

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So, Aquaman is a film that’s coming out. It feels like, as a culture, the general cinema-going public still hasn’t quite acclimated to the idea that an Aquaman film is just two months away. Like, y’know, a film about Aquaman. Aquaman.

One person looking to change that general perception is director James Wan, who shared new glimpses at some of the film’s mounted ocean creatures and… oh good lord, just look at them.


Click through to get an even-higher resolution look at what’s to come, but as you can see there’s a saddle-mounted hammerhead shark, and a tylosaurus (a sort-of prehistoric crocodile). Yeah.

Aquaman is due out on the 14th of December, rated 12A, and stars Jason Momoa as the titular rightful ruler of Atlantis. As the film’s PR campaign ramps up, WB released a five-minute extended trailer just a few weeks ago, which you can check out here.

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Halloween Scores Series-Best Opening, As Venom Crosses $450m Worldwide

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Jamie Lee Curtis’ rebootquel Halloween scored a domestic opening of $77.5 million this weekend, after an impressive $27.2M Saturday. Not only does that easily make it the best US opening for John Carpenter’s four-decade old franchise, but it also solidifies it as the second-best opening ever for the month of October behind Sony’s Venom, which netted $80.2M just a few weeks ago.

Speaking of Venom, the critically-derided, audience-adored antihero flick starring Tom Hardy took another $18 million in the US this week, and a further $32 million internationally, taking the film’s global total to a staggering $460.2 million – for perspective, that’s bottom-end MCU money, beating out titles like Thor ($449.3m), Captain America: The First Avenger ($370.6m) and The Incredible Hulk ($263.4m), and gaining on films like Ant-Man ($519.3m) and the original Iron Man ($585.2m). Venom is still yet to open in China and Japan.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ smash-hit musical drama A Star Is Born is still raking in the dough. Star/director Bradley Cooper’s feature, which has garnered a big push in ticket sales from the successful stunt-casting of Lady Gaga as the secondary lead, brought its tally up to $201 million internationally this week, and looks set to continue hanging on at the box office despite fierce October competition.

All three films are in UK cinemas now, with Venom and A Star Is Born both rated 15, and Halloween rather expectedly rated 18.

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