Interviews

Living the dream: Fan Bingbing high on ‘X-Men’, Hugh Jackman

By Zaki Jufri. Interview translated by Victoria LimMovies - 16 May 2014 4:00 PM | Updated 02 June 2014

Living the dream: Fan Bingbing high on ‘X-Men’, Hugh Jackman

The superhero movie is big business in China.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ raked in US$55.6 million (about S$70 million) in its first eight days of release — US$5 million (S$6.3 million) more than the first 2012 film.

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ broke records with total box-office takings of US$115 million (S$144 million) during its China run. It is the movie's second-highest-grossing territory after the US.

And that is not counting all the ‘X-Men’ movies.

So it is kind of a no-brainer that director Bryan Singer cast Chinese actress and fashion icon Fan Bingbing in the latest ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’.

It is a brilliant masterstroke. 

When the 32-year-old actress, stunningly dressed in a Delpozo Spring/Summer 2014 gown, stepped out of the black Mercedes S300L in Singapore on Wednesday 15 May evening, chaos ensued. 

Together with Hugh Jackman and Peter Dinklage, Fan was here for the Southeast Asia premiere of the seventh movie in the ‘X-Men’ franchise. She plays Blink, a mutant character with teleportation powers.

fan bingbing
Fan Bingbing taking a selfie with a fan at the Southeast Asia premiere of 'X-Men: Days of Future Past. Photo: 20th Century Fox 

WEEPING FANS

At the Urban Plaza at Shaw House, her fans, most of whom were waiting since 8am to catch a glimpse of her, screamed their heads off. 

Some even burst into tears – among them, a man – when the actress obliged them with selfies and autographs.

Over the past decade, Fan has acted opposite big-name Asian actors such as Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Andy Lau and Ge You.

But her last movie ‘Double Xposure’ (2012) was a psychological thriller that was not too well-received by the critics, while her brief cameo appearance in ‘Iron Man 3’ were seen just by China’s audiences, as it was cut from the international release.

A DOLL

Offscreen, Fan is known for turning heads on the red carpet from the Oscars to Cannes to fashion shows. Recently, toy brand Mattel released a special limited edition Fan Bingbing Barbie doll.

But with her role in ‘Days of Future Past’, Fan’s star is definitely going to shine brighter. And she might even get her own action figure. 

Quite possibly China’s biggest star, Fan’s casting has been big news despite the part being small. 

Fan Bingbing, in a Delpozo gown, posing for a picture. Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters

Fan told inSing in an interview conducted in Mandarin: “When I first received news that I will be acting as Blink in this movie, I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe it at first and thought that it was just a dream.” 

Comic-book fans took notice of the character Blink when she first appeared in 1995’s ‘Age of Apocalypse’ storyline.

With the next movie sequel titled ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and it being loosely based on the original comic-book story, we’re quite sure that ‘Days of Future Past’ is not the last time Fan will be in the franchise. 

‘NO ONE WOULD REALLY CARE’ 

Fan Bingbing as Blink in a scene in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past. Photo: 20th Century Fox

The model-actress, who is the face of luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Cartier, L’Oreal Paris, Chopard and Louis Vuitton, said she was at first puzzled by Singer’s casting choice.

She said: “I did a lot of homework when I got the role. While researching the character in the comics, I realised that Blink isn’t Asian. He (Singer) told me that he wanted to surprise everyone with this new character and he assured me no one would really care.”

””
Fan Bingbing is also known as a fashion icon. The actress wore a Zuhair Murad Spring 2014 haute couture guipure dress at the movie's press conference in Singapore. Photo: 20th Century Fox

 

So what was it like for to be acting alongside Hollywood heavyweights?

“I was nervous on the first day on set. But this is any actor’s dream come true, performing with people like Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and I wasn’t going to let my nerves take over,” she said with a laugh.

COMMITTED PROFESSIONALS 

Fan was very impressed by her co-stars’ professionalism. 

She recalled: “Hugh (Jackman) has to wake up at 4am every day and head to the gym. Halle (Berry) was pregnant at the time of shooting and she sometimes had to be on the harness for two hours at a time for her scenes.

That’s how committed they are… I realise that Hollywood is where it is today for a reason – that they have very professional actors.” 

Fan also talked about crossover collaborations, saying she doesn’t see “why an actor like Hugh (Jackman) cannot act in Chinese films”.

“The Chinese film industry is getting better. It is now the second largest market for box-office ticket sales. 

“Usually, we (Asian actors) will say, ‘Let’s advance our career in Hollywood’. So I think it is possible for Western actors and directors to work in China.” 

Out of the whole cast, the one person that she is smitten with is none other than Jackman. 

“He’s warm, friendly and very encouraging on set. I’m very lucky to be able to promote the movie with him and Peter (Dinklage). He is the dream man of every woman!” Fan gushed. 

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ opens in cinemas 22 May 2014

Movie Photos

20 photos
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past...
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past

    (2014)
  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Genre
    Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Language
    Eng
  • (7 Reviews)