It will come as a relief to her fans — and there are tens of millions of them — to know that Bai Baihe is gearing up to take one of the (human) lead roles in “Monster Hunt 2,” a sequel to the hybrid live action-animation film that last year grossed an unheard-of $380 million at the Chinese box office.
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What Chinese and other Asian audiences appear to find so attractive in Bai is how easy it is to relate to her. She is the polar opposite of China’s leading ladies: regal Fan Bingbing; untouchable Li Bingbing; or fantasy figure Crystal Liu. Rather, Bai is the pretty girl next door with decent acting chops and good comic timing. (Her acting skills were honed at the Beijing Academy as well as through those years of TV.)
Even Bai’s trajectory has a wholesome appeal, as she put family before career. She married young (to a rock star!) and had a child before plunging into performing. “Monster Hunt 2” will start shooting in the last quarter of the year, with Raman Hui again directing.