Director Chen Kaige's much-anticipated blockbuster 'Mei Lanfang' finished post-production in Tokyo on Monday. Scenes involving controversial actress Gillian Chung were removed. The actress withdrew from the project at short notice following her involvement in an explicit photo scandal earlier this year.
Sina.com quoted the film's producer China Film Group as saying on Monday that Hong Kong actress and singer Gillian Chung's performance as Mei Lanfang's wife, Fu Zhifang, were cut. Director Chen expressed his regret over the decision and said he appreciated the effort Chung had put during filming.
The star-studded film featuring Chinese mainland actress Zhang Ziyi and Hong Kong singer-actor Leon Lai has been under the spotlight since shooting started. There was public speculation whether Chung's scenes would be withdrawn after the naked photo scandal came to light.
The task of eliminating Chung's scenes from the production was said to be incredibly difficult. The director is reported to have used computer techniques during the scenes of Mei Lanfang's wife, Fu Zhifang, played by mainland actress Chen Hong, to capture her development over time.
The article adds that director Chen said Chung had presented her acting talent and professional ethic during filming. He hoped people would focus on the film itself and show understanding for the actress.
It is not known yet whether the deleted scenes will be available in the film's DVD version.
Reportedly, family members of the late master Mei Lanfang had expressed their dissatisfaction with Chung's presence in the film in the wake of the scandal and massive public backlash.
The film's first trailer, which is 2-minute long, will be screened at midnight on November 5, when another anticipated hit, the latest in the James Bond series, 007: Quantum of Solace, kicks off nationwide.
The biopic about the late Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang is due out on December 12 this year.