×

Feng Xiaogang Announces New Film, Denies Tax Fraud Rumors

Chinese director Feng Xiaogang is busy bolstering his patriotic credentials, revealing that his next film will be about Communist Party history even as he aggressively seeks to douse rumors that authorities plan to fine him 2 billion yuan ($288 million) for tax evasion.

His next venture will be a movie about the 70th anniversary of the founding Of the People’s Republic of China, Feng wrote late Tuesday night on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. Construction for the new set has begun in Movie Town Haikou, a production site and tourist theme park on the tropical island of Hainan, jointly owned by Feng and his producer, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation.

He described the set as “a towering city,” posting photos of construction progress that showed huge buildings swaddled in scaffolding. He said he hoped to recreate the vibe of Beijing in the 1950s and 60s, constructing an old drum tower street, a railway station, a cathedral, and numerous Soviet-style edifices. “Mixing and matching new and old Beijing to recover the memories of childhood. Proud to be a filmmaker,Feng wrote.

Feng’s latest film, 2017’s coming-of-age flick “Youth, also dove into recent Chinese history to tell the story of young people growing up during the Cultural Revolution as members of the People’s Liberation Army performance troupe.

Chinese movies released on the mainland are heavily pre-vetted by censors, and films dealing with political topics — especially those that reflect on the ruling Communist Party — receive particularly careful scrutiny.

Production for Feng’s new film comes at a time when movie industry figures are facing additional pressure and uncertainty in the wake of a tax scandal involving his A-list collaborator Fan Bingbing, fined nearly $70 million and forced to publicly apologize for fraud last month.

Feng was again drawn into the fallout from the incident on Saturday by a Weibo user who claimed it would “soon be announced” that authorities would fine him 2 billion yuan. The user, verified by the platform as the chairman of the Beijing Yintai’an Investment Consulting Company, later added elsewhere that his information had come from a dinner between friends over the weekend attended by the heads of the country’s tax administration and ministry of finance.

Feng himself shot back by sarcastically dismissing the user’s credibility. “Two billion is too little; it ought to at least be ten billion. These big social media accounts are really willing to commit crimes,” he told Chinese media.

On Tuesday, his lawyers issued a statement saying that they would seek legal action against the Weibo user, whose comment was “completely fabricated and ill-intentioned” and had “severely damaged Mr. Feng Xiaogang’s public image, disturbed his regular work and life, and also taken a huge emotional toll.”

Feng has a long-standing feud with Cui Yongyuan, the fast-talking television host who first posted documents that revealed a common taxevasion scheme and led to Fan’s rapid fall from grace. Cui took issue with Feng’s 2003 hit film “Cell Phone” starring Fan, saying it was loosely based on his life but made him look bad. 

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content