Missing Actress Fan Bingbing Reappears, Apologizes For Tax Evasion

For months now, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has been the subject of much speculation. The actress, who is a massive star in China, is probably best known in the U.S. for her role as the mutant Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Recently it has seemed like Fan Bingbing disappeared through one of Blink’s portals because, following news that linked her to a possible tax evasion scandal, the actress vanished and hasn’t been seen in public or on her social media platforms since July. Now the actress has resurfaced, and is offering a full apology and accepted responsibility for her actions. You can read part of Fan Bingbing’s letter of apology below:

As you can see, Fan Bingbing is deeply apologetic and regretful in this letter. She admits to putting her own desires in front of her civic responsibility by committing tax evasion on multiple projects. The time spent under investigation by the taxation authorities seems to have changed her outlook. She claims to see now that as a public figure she must set a better example, and not give in to temptations that result in law breaking. Elsewhere in her apology, as reported by Variety, Fan Bingbing says that in the future, she will uphold the law and accept responsibility. Bingbing also begs for everyone’s forgiveness and credits the country and its people for her success, especially the ruling Communist Party and its policies.

Fan Bingbing was suspected of, and has now fessed up to, tax evasion that is reportedly very common in the entertainment industry in China. The highly paid actress was allegedly signing multiple contracts for the same job. This practice is known as “yin yang contracts” or “split contracts.” This process gives a person one contract for a job, like a role in a movie, for a lower rate that they can present to the government for taxation purposes. They also receive a second contract with better pay that they don’t report, which means they are essentially making all that money under the table. Fan Bingbing and her companies now face $129 million in back taxes and fines, which she vowed to pay.

Rumors have abounded about what happened to Fan Bingbing over the past few months, with many assuming that she was being detained by Chinese authorities either in prison or under house arrest. Some rumors had even said that she fled the country, though those proved unfounded. It should be noted that although Fan Bingbing has made this public statement and apology, thus breaking the months-long silence from China’s highest-paid actress, she has not yet been seen in public.

It’s hard to know whether or not these legal issues will affect her upcoming film slate but in addition to her Chinese films, Fan Bingbing has been attached to star in 355 for director Simon Kinberg. The film is an all-female spy film featuring a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and Lupita Nyong’O.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in movie news and check out our release schedule to see all the biggest movies heading to theaters this fall.

ReelBlend Podcast #40: Venom Reviews, And Jake Breaks The First Man Tie

The big movies are coming. And that means ReelBlend is the place to be all October. This month balances awards hopefuls with ticket-peddling blockbusters, and the ReelBlend hosts are the right people to keep you up to date and informed on everything you need and want to know about the world of cinema. So dig in!

On this week’s episode, Sean, Kevin and Jake are finally able to settle their First Man tie — with Kevin loving it and Sean just liking it. Jake caught the movie during the recent press day at NASA in Florida, but does he side more with Kevin, or fall into Sean’s (space) camp. Listen and learn.

Sean also saw Venom this week, and gives a non-spoiler breakdown of the film, letting you now if it’s worth your time this weekend. Kevin and Jake are catching it after we recorded, so they will weigh in next week, when we can really dig into Venom, with spoilers.

During the news portion of this week’s show, the guys also discuss the announced PG-13 rating on a new Deadpool movie… which FOX plans to drop into theaters in December. Is it a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2? Something entirely new? Everyone seems confused, so we try our best to figure it all out.

At the end of the episode, there’s a tease for a review of Bad Times at the El Royale. It’s great, and we’ll explain why… with more to come next week.

Finally, the #Blend game stayed in the Halloween mood with #MonsterBlend, and Kevin had a controversial pick. By “controversial,” we mean “a pick that pissed Jake off.” But we don’t recall him trying to quit the show this week. So we’re making progress!

ReelBlend is a LIVE podcast that we do on CinemaBlend’s Facebook page. As soon as we are done on Facebook, you can download the latest episode (and all of our past episodes) for FREE on our iTunes page! Visit. Subscribe. Like and comment. Review! Apple loves when you have star ratings and reviews, so if you listened, and you liked it (or even if you didn’t), let us know. We also are on Spotify. And Google Play. And basically everywhere that you download podcasts. So download us!

Meanwhile, follow the guys on Social Media! We have an official Twitter feed for the show, so follow @ReelBlend. In addition, follow the guys at @Sean_OConnell, @JakesTakesand @KevinMcCarthyTV. We will be back at it next week, LIVE on CinemaBlend’s Facebook page. See you then!

Could The Flash Bring Mark Hamill’s Trickster Back? Here’s What The Showrunner Says

The Flash is gearing up for its fifth season, but is it gearing up for another appearance from Mark Hamill’s The Trickster? While the villain made his debut in Season 1 and appeared a few times since then, it has been a while since fans have caught a glimpse of The Trickster. Well, The Flash‘s showrunner, Todd Helbing, has provided an update on the possibility of his return. In doing so, Helbing also reminded fans of the connection that exists between The Flash, Hamill, and another series. Helbing said:

One brother’s loss is another brother’s gain. It may not be the answer fans of Mark Hamill’s scene-stealing villain The Trickster want to hear, but it is nevertheless the situation at hand. One crucial part of Todd Helbing’s answer to TVLine regarding a Mark Hamill reprisal is that he does want it to happen. With the strong possibility that The Flash could zoom towards a sixth season following its latest, it stands to reason that Hamill could eventually reprise the role, either in an upcoming season or sometime before the end of Season 5.

Hopefully, the brothers can work something out, and, given that they have a strong working relationship, there is compelling reason to believe they can. Aaron and Todd Helbing have worked on The Flash together as co-showrunners before the former took a new job. Back in August, it was announced that Aaron Helbing would be taking over as the series showrunner for Knightfall in Season 2.

Mark Hamill joined the cast of the medieval drama in a crucial new role. Thus pumping the breaks on his returning as The Trickster. Hamill’s most recent appearance as the character was in Season 3, Episode 9 of The Flash in 2016. It does not sound as if fans will need to worry about The Flash closing the door on The Trickster completely, though. Scheduling and commitments have just put a wrinkle in plans for Hamill to return to the role for now.

Production on Knightfall is scheduled to run for around six to seven months, so it may not work out for Mark Hamill to even make a brief appearance in Season 5. While we can probably cross The Trickster off the list of villains for The Flash‘s upcoming season, the show will still be in strong supply of them. The superhero drama is set to introduce a new one, and the Arrow-verse in general will be brimming with new baddies throughout the respective runs of each show, so stay tuned.

Fans will have a while to wait until they get to see Mark Hamill in his new Knightfall role. In the meantime, the fifth season of The Flash will begin Tuesday, October 9 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Lucky for us, the speedy superhero series will not be the only one returning or premiering on the superhero-heavy network, this fall.

Billy Baldwin Wants To Raffle Off His Plus One To Justin Bieber And Hailey Baldwin’s Wedding

Do you want the chance to attend the wedding of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin? You might have that chance, thanks to Billy Baldwin. The actor teased the notion of offering his plus one to his niece’s upcoming wedding to an adoring fan, allowing himself the chance to score a whole lot of dough for the chance to see a wedding ceremony they will never forget. You gotta admit, it’s smart business on Billy’s end. Will it be approved by Justin Bieber or Hailey Baldwin? We’ll have to see, but it might be for a good case. But we don’t know that for sure. Here’s the comment from Billy Baldwin.

Well, that’s certainly one way to get a quick buck (or several million). Of course, it should be noted that Billy Baldwin’s wedding ticket comments to TMZ are most likely a bit tongue-in-cheek. He doesn’t seem to have any plans to sell these tickets. He doesn’t even have the tickets in hand yet, presumably, because the ceremonial wedding plans are still quite a few months ahead. But it sounds like Baldwin is cooking up a scheme in his brain.

Then again, it wouldn’t be surprising if that plan came into fruition, potentially resulting in a lot of money being funneled the actor’s way in exchange for a chance to sit next to him at the big wedding. His potential date would also experience firsthand the union of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin, as they profess their love for one another in front of their friends, family, acquaintances and various business affiliates. You gotta admit, that would be one hell of an opportunity for a fan. It should also be noted that Billy Baldwin would want to do this for charity, not merely as a chance to get some extra money inside his own pocket.

Furthermore, during Billy Baldwin’s conversation with TMZ, the actor admitted that he recently had a chance to have lunch and/or brunch with Justin Bieber. It was one of the first times he actually got to talk and interact with the mega-famous pop star beyond a few appearances on the red carpet. He claims that Bieber is “a cool guy,” as he suspected, and Billy Baldwin said it was nice to actually get to talk to Bieber and get to know him a bit more.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin are reportedly already interloped. The deed was allegedly done a little less than a month ago in a courthouse in New York City. The celebrity couple rushed at the opportunity to tie the knot, even though they previously proposed the notion that they wouldn’t get married until later on, presumably in 2019. Alas, Bieber and Hailey Baldwin already appear to be husband and wife. If the official wedding ceremony does come into play, it’ll be more of a symbolic gesture rather than the real deal. But Bieber and Baldwin are interested in hosting an official wedding ceremony at some point. If that happens, you should be on the lookout for Billy Baldwin’s high-stakes wedding ticket raffle.

Although Russian Trolls Tweeted About The Last Jedi, The Numbers May Not Be As High As They Seem

Although it performed excellently at the box office and won over many critics, Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved to be incredibly divisive among fans, and 10 months after its release, the movie continues to be a source of arguments and debate. It doesn’t look like that will die down anytime soon, and the discussion around The Last Jedi‘s polarizing reactions took a turn earlier this week when a study conducted at the University of South Carolina found that many of the users who criticized The Last Jedi on social media were actually Russian bots. The research paper went so far as to say that more than half of the dissenting tweets against The Last Jedi were politically motivated or not even human, but it turns out that in the case of these bots, they were actually responsible for closer to one in 10 of such tweets.

Having analyzed Morten Bay’s research paper on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, CNET noticed some faults in his approach, particularly that Bay’s collection method only relied on tweets that were sent to director Rian Johnson. Starting with 1,273 tweets, Bay cut that number down to 967, 206 of which expressed a “negative sentiment” towards The Last Jedi. Of that 206, “61 were real people reported to have a political agenda, 11 were bots and only 33 appeared to be trolls.” In the group of 33, only 16 appeared to resemble Russian troll accounts, hence why it’s really only one in 10 tweets rather than over 50%. Had the parameters been expanded (like including tweets directed at Mark Hamill, who has a much larger following than Johnson), maybe that number would increase, but working off just these findings, we’re hardly near ‘more than 50%’ territory.

The conversation surrounding Star Wars: The Last Jedi is certainly complicated, particularly with regard to the negative opinions of it. Many fans had legitimate problems with the story and/or characters, while other criticisms have been politically fueled. So it’s rather difficult to gauge just how much of the Star Wars fanbase disliked The Last Jedi, let alone how many of those dissenting reactions are artificially constructed. As Morten Bay acknowledged, he was working of a “proportionately small sample size” that’s prone to bias, but he also said the main takeaway from his research paper should actually be that pop culture debates can take political turns, and that one can look at fandoms to gauge how political messaging can be “propagated” online. Wherever you fall on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one thing is certain: the movie will continue to be disputed, likely even after Star Wars: Episode IX wraps up this era of the franchise’s history.

The Skywalker saga will conclude when Star Wars: Episode IX is released on December 20, 2019. As for what else is in store for a galaxy far, far away on the big screen, head over to our Star Wars movies guide for that information.

One Marvel Side Character Who Definitely Isn’t Getting A Spinoff

With 20 films under the MCU so far, there are certainly a lot of characters in this shared universe. Among them, a handful of fan favorites have come out of the woodwork to unexpectedly steal the show from their superhero co-stars. Recently in Ant-Man and the Wasp, the hilarious fast-talking Luis made a triumphant return to the franchise. The character, played by Michael Peña, was an unmistakable highlight of 2015’s Ant-Man, providing some additional comedy to the series, and thankfully the character was given a place in the sequel. While many fans would love to see more of Luis, it looks to be no use to daydream of a standalone movie for Peña’s character, according to Ant-Man series director, Peyton Reed. Here’s what he said:

Peyton Reed tweeted out the comment during a fan Q&A with Fandango when a Twitter user asked if Luis will ever get his own standalone movie or Marvel One-Shot. Although Reed’s quite definite answer regarding a starring role for Luis is disappointing, it’s nice to know that there is some additional footage with the character. In the earlier days of the MCU, characters such as Agent Phil Coulson and Agent Carter were given some time to shine outside of their movies in short films created for the bonus features sections of the Blu-ray releases. Both of these fan favorites traded in their starring roles in Marvel One-Shots for their own television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, respectively.

Considering there’s interest from fans for Luis to get some additional screen time outside of the Ant-Man franchise, a television show for his character could be a great idea to contemplate instead. CinemaBlend’s Mike Reyes recently pitched the idea to give Luis and his heist crew Dave (Tip “T.I.” Harris) and Curt (David Dastmachian) their own series following the security company, X-Con, which was introduced in Ant-Man and the Wasp. The superhero comedy series could be a refreshing addition to their television content, potentially finding a place with Disney’s upcoming streaming service launching in 2019.

The infinitely-expanding MCU has many facets, one of them being its often brilliant use of comedy thanks to talent such as Michael Peña. Although Peyton Reed recently confirmed that Luis won’t be getting his own film, we hope to see the Comic-Con footage soon. Until then, you can see Peña in the upcoming season of Narcos on November 16 and catch him as Luis in Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is currently available on digital, and will be released on Blu-ray October 16.

Is Rambo 5 Turning Sylvester Stallone Into A Cowboy?

When you think of John Rambo, Sylvester Stallone’s iconic and badass Vietnam War vet, what image comes to mind? Chances are it’s a longhaired Rambo, shirtless and diced to the socks, rocking a bandana and wielding a bow and arrow, a big knife or an even bigger gun. An image that you probably don’t think of when you think of Rambo is that of a cowboy, and yet that is exactly what Sylvester Stallone’ looks like as Rambo 5 is set to begin filming. Take a look below to see John Rambo as you’ve never seen him before.

If you didn’t know that Sylvester Stallone was filming Rambo 5, you’d have to think that this was a look from an entirely different movie, like a neo-Western in the vein of No Country for Old Men or Hell or High Water. Yet this image from Sylvester Stallone’s Instagram apparently shows the actor as he may look when he reprises his role as John Rambo in Rambo 5. Apparently gone is the long hair, the tank top and the bandana, and in their place is a cowboy, complete with riding chaps and the requisite cowboy hat. Simply put, this does not look like Rambo.

This outfit isn’t just for show either. It looks like Sylvester Stallone will actually be doing some horseback riding as Rambo for the new film. Check out Sylvester Stallone’s post from the set of the film below:

While these images may not be an official confirmation of Rambo turning into a cowboy, Sylvester Stallone is really teasing the fans with the concept. And if you remember the ending to the last film in the series, 2008’s Rambo, this new look actually tracks. That film ended with John Rambo, at long last, returning to the United States and making his way to Arizona to visit his father. In that ending scene we see that the Rambo homestead is a ranch with horses on it. So if the new film follows that narrative, it makes sense that with no more wars to fight, Rambo probably settled down in that rural home and helped man the ranch. Like Sylvester Stallone himself, Rambo has gotten older and the character’s look has changed with age and with his occupation. He’s no longer a guerrilla war fighter; he’s just an older guy living a simple life. Or trying his best.

Wars always find Rambo, and there are always people in need of saving. Rambo 5 will find the vet taking on a Mexican cartel. So he will probably be minding his own business on the Arizona ranch when violence spills over the border, and he finds himself once again having to take matters into his own hands. We’ve seen Rambo fight all over the world, so this new look and new setting should give this film a different look and feel. The character and the franchise has the opportunity to evolve, and if Rambo 5 has the gritty modern Western shown in these images, it will be breaking new ground.

Rambo 5 is scheduled for release next fall. To see all of the biggest movies coming to theaters next year (there are a lot of them), check out our 2019 release schedule.

Where Gotham’s Season 5 Timeline Will Pick Up

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about crossing that 87-day time gap is fans will assumedly be seeing a vastly different Gotham City in the upcoming premiere, since it will have been stuck in a state of near-lawlessness a fourth of a year. That might not seem like a long time in and of itself, but just imagine if your own neighborhood had heavies like Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Jeremiah and more running everything, and that they had been wreaking havoc since June. Not a lot of silver linings to be found for innocent people, assuming there are any left.

Why Lethal Weapon Wrote Off Bowman

Now, to be honest, I haven’t personally seen a ton of similarities between Wesley Cole and Zack Bowman so far. Bowman’s most notable characteristic was bringing soup to crime scenes, which was a fun quirk, to be sure. He’s also upbeat, but Cole has only been in one episode so far and he’s already far more fleshed out than Bowman ever was. In the coming weeks, maybe it will be clearer why Bowman is out and the new character is in.

Damon Wayans Says He Is Quitting Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon went through a big change between the end of Season 2 and beginning of Season 3 thanks to the departure of Clayne Crawford as Riggs. Crawford was ousted after allegations of misconduct on set, and footage released of co-star Damon Wayans clashing with Crawford on set. While the legendary Riggs/Murtaugh partnership wasn’t going to be part of the series in the third seasons, all signs pointed toward a fun fresh dynamic between Murtaugh and new partner Cole. Now, that doesn’t look to be the case, as Damon Wayans says he’s quitting the show. Here’s how Wayans dropped the bombshell:

Damon Wayans didn’t mince words when he shared his plans with EUR, and it seems quite clear that he wants to leave Lethal Weapon because the demands of working as co-lead of an action series at his age and with his health issues are more than he wants to handle. His comments nevertheless will come as a shock to fans who have only had two episodes to get used to a Lethal Weapon without Riggs; what could Lethal Weapon look like without Riggs and Murtaugh?

The actor went on to confirm that he’s “done” with the show and even cited Murtaugh’s legendary line: “I’m too old for this.” Damon Wayans is looking to spend more time with his family in real life rather than his TV family. Still, we have to wonder if there was more to Wayans’ frustration on Lethal Weapon Season 2 than just his issues with Clayne Crawford’s behavior.

As much as it’s difficult to imagine any incarnation of Lethal Weapon without at least Murtaugh or Riggs, Damon Wayans’ comments don’t indicate that he necessarily expects the show to end with his departure. His reference to “the initial 13” may mean that he expects the door to be open for Season 3 to potentially receive an order for more episodes or perhaps for the show to score a renewal for Season 4. He also mentioned in the interview that he was “giving them enough time to find a replacement.” The end of his time on Lethal Weapon may not mean the end of Lethal Weapon altogether.

It’s worth noting that Lethal Weapon just announced the casting of a very Riggs-esque character as a partner for Bailey, and this new character is set to debut in the sixth episode of the third season. Is Lethal Weapon attempting to recreate the Murtaugh/Riggs dynamic with Bailey/The Gute and continue beyond Damon Wayans’ departure? If Bailey and her new partner do become the focus of Lethal Weapon, that would leave newcomer Cole as the odd man out. We’ll have to wait and see. This isn’t the only casting change happening in Season 3, so it feels like anything can happen. Well, except for a return from Riggs.

We’ll have to wait and see. Murtaugh will still be around for at least 11 more episodes, and you can find him on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.