Gillian Chung apologizes to fans

Hong Kong’s celebrity sex scandal is becoming more like a bad movie every day.

Monday saw Gillian Chung, actress and one half of the formerly wholesome pop duo Twins, hold a press conference to apologize to her fans for her part in the PR debacle that has consumed the Hong Kong public for nearly two weeks.

Several hundred photos of B-list actor Edison Chen in flagrante with a string of female stars have trickled out on to the Net. To the extreme embarrassment of those concerned, these have been plastered across front pages of local newspapers for days on end.

Chen could soon find himself cut out of the business. He stars in “Jump,” a pic produced by Stephen Chow’s Star Overseas and bankrolled by Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia.

Hong Kong papers have reported that the pic will now reshoot and leave Chen’s scenes on the cutting room floor. A Columbia spokesman would not confirm, but said that a release date had never been fixed. He told Variety, “Star Overseas asked us if we want them to re-edit and trim some scenes, and we are exploring that option now.”

Chen is also due to appear in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” and his role there may also come in for review.

Most pressing is some kind of decision on “Sniper,” an actioner backed by Media Asia that is due for release in March, but over which now hangs serious question marks.

It has emerged that “Sniper” is one of the pics made with Mainland China that are now affected by tight new co-production regulations and cost the Weinstein Co’s “Shanghai” its shooting permit (Variety, Feb 11.)  

In an anti-decadence backlash sparked by “Lust, Caution” and “Lost in Beijing,” Zhao Shi , vice minister and the head of the State Administration for Radio Film and Television, is to take personal responsibility for approving all foreign co-productions.

Zhao is understood to be reviewing all outstanding co-productions, not just those at script stage. Previously approved screenplays may also be re-read after the Chinese New Year break. One other movie believed to be re-examined is “The Shinjuku Incident,” a Japan-set actioner starring and co-produced by Jackie Chan.

While the number of nude photos had climbed and the impact on actors’ personal relationships become acute, the vigor of the Hong Kong Police has not been universally welcomed.

Over the weekend there was a demonstration of some 300 people against the police’s heavy handed tactics, which some commentators have suggested are more in line with a murder investigation.

The Police have told Internet Service Providers to eradicate all traces of the photos or risk fines of $1 million ($120,000) and three year prison sentences, even though the territory struggles to adequately define what constitutes obscenity or the definition of publishing in the Internet age.

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