I thought she was back? Miami Vice doesn't count? lolReturn of A Screen Goddess 2010-06-04 10:45:04 China Daily Web Editor: yangliu
Gong Li is to star in a Chinese remake of Mel Gibson's What Women Want, marking her first performance in a local production since her role as the queen in Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower in 2006.
However, cinema-goers will be able to see her on the big screen before then, playing opposite John Cusack and Chow Yun-fat in Shanghai, a film set in the city during the chaotic 1940s, in which she plays a singer in a night club who is the lover of Chow's ganglord.
In What Women Want, Gong will play the creative director of a Beijing-based advertising company, and Andy Lau a chauvinistic single father who also works in the company.
Gong's manager Christopher Tseng told the Hollywood Reporter that the contract would be signed in a few days, and Chen Daming, the film's director, confirmed the news.
Rumors say that Gong is replacing Fan Bingbing, a much younger mainland actress, in the role.
Chen says that Gong is the best choice.
"The woman is facing problems in marriage and family and worried about the future," Chen tells China Daily. "Fan is too young. Gong is closer to the role. And Gong is the best actress in China. I would even change the script for her."
Another factor in the decision was that Lau and Fan co-starred in Future X-cops and Battle of Wits, so their pairing is not that fresh for viewers, Chen says.
The plot of the remake will stay fairly faithful to the original. Lau, in Gibson's role, gets the ability to read women's minds after an accident.
"To remake that film into a Chinese one is very interesting, because in China male chauvinism is more prevalent than in the US," Chen says.
But Chen says the Chinese film will add some context to Lau's role to make him more reasonable, such as the death of his mother during his childhood, which makes him eager to know women and win their attention.
Chen has also invited Gibson to be a guest star and is waiting for his response.
An actor-turned director, Chen most recently directed One Foot Off the Ground in 2006, a black comedy about grassroots folk opera actors.
According to Yu Dong, CEO of Polybona, the mainland production and distribution company bankrolling the film, the filming has started, but he declined to reveal any more details about the project.
Chen says he expects the film to be released on Valentine's Day next year.
The original film starring Gibson and Helen Hunt grossed more than $300 million globally in 2000.
Gong has kept a low profile in China after becoming a Singaporean citizen in 2008, showing up in a few fashion shows and celebrity parties.