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“Transformers 4” to Include Chen Kun, Huang Xiaoming, and Tong Dawei?

By on April 5, 2013

“Transformers 4” to Include Chen Kun, Huang Xiaoming, and Tong Dawei? thumbnail

On April 2, Paramount Pictures announced that it will be partnering with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to co-produce the fourth installation in the Transformers <變形金剛> series, making Transformers 4 the highest-profile collaboration between Hollywood and China in the past few years.  Recently, director Michael Bay expressed his hope that mainland Chinese actors would be able to audition. Rumors followed that Chen Kun (陳坤), Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明), and Tong Dawei (佟大為) may appear in the film.

In 2012, China officially surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest film market. Moreover, the popularity of Hollywood movies among Chinese audiences has spurred film companies to come up with better ways to enter the Chinese market.   In particular, the Transformers franchise is one of the most successful films at the mainland Chinese box office, with Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon, grossing $165 million USD in China. It was natural for Paramount to seek out Chinese collaboration to increase the market appeal of the latest movie.

In his statement, Michael Bay said that he was “proud and honored by how Transformers has been embraced by Chinese audiences,” and that he is “look[ing] forward to working with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to help reach more people here and deepen their passion for this ongoing story and its characters.”

According to the Los Angeles TimesTransformers 4 will be partly filmed in China, with the possibility that some of its post-production work will be completed there as well. The film will also include Chinese actors, although no names have been confirmed.

When asked about the rumor that Huang Xiaoming would act in Transformers 4, Xiaoming’s manager replied, “It is not convenient to answer.” Apart from Chen Kun and Tong Dawei, it is also possible that mainland Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (范冰冰), who appears in the Chinese release of Iron Man 3 <鋼鐵俠3>, may act in Transformers 4 as well.

Transformers 4 is slated for release in June 2014 and will star Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor. Earlier reports indicated that Transformers 4 will feature a darker tone and a different storyline from its predecessors.

Sources: QQ.com, Hexun.com, LATimes.com 

This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.

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  • Readers' Comments (31)

    1. Jayne says:

      Very excited by “Transformers 4″! Instead of Chicago, maybe there will be robot destruction in Beijing or Shanghai?

      Hopefully Chinese artists will have larger roles in “Transformers 4″.

      • went says:

        Yup, let’s hope even thou I am NOT a fan of the former 3 prequels? Hahaa… I am NOT a Shia fan. LOL…

        • Jayne says:

          went,
          The robots are the stars and it’s the steel-crunching that audiences go for. Although the action sequences in Transformers 2 and 3 were too similar.

      • asianguy says:

        I hope Asian actors and actresses in the USA get a chance to audition as the USA is always white washing Asians roles. The Las airbender is one of lastest movies to white wash. Now it looks like they have to change.

        • Alf says:

          Not only US Asian actors… I’m a struggling Asian actor in Australia and we have it worse here because the film/tv industry here is so small

      • singALong says:

        lets see how much screen time they will get..?

    2. Susan says:

      Yippy, no more Shia, the movie syp “As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control – all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his crosshairs. The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues.” Chen Kun & Huang Xiaoming in 1 movie… I am in heaven…

    3. Ric says:

      I don’t see the point of Chinese actors. If the roles don’t even have a minute of screen time those actors won’t have much room to excel anyway. I’ll wait for Hollywood to actually cast Chinese actors in significant roles.

      They dropped the ball not casting a Chinese actor for Mandarin in Iron Man. Even though the comic character is Chinese, Marvel made the movie character not. Instead they just cast Fan Bingbing in what will probably be a short cameo role. If they won’t even cast Chinese actors for actual Chinese characters why would anyone think they would cast Chinese actors in other significant roles?

      • Jayne says:

        Ric,
        This is the first step. The language barrier may be a big reason for the minor roles now. If Chinese actors are truly ambitious to score bigger roles in Hollywood productions, then they will need to work harder to improve their English.

        • Ric says:

          Hard to believe they couldn’t find anyone in China, Taiwan, HK, or even US who could speak English and is of Chinese descent. They just didn’t want to.

          Iron Man is not the only example in recent memory. The Last Airbender was a prime example. Almost every role should have been Asian, yet we can count on one hand how many Asian actors were in it.

      • Addy says:

        The Mandarin isn’t even full Chinese anyways so I wasn’t bothered by the Mandarin’s casting at all. However, I think it’s more because I am quite fond of Ben Kingsley.

        The Last Airbender was terrible in all aspects. I was very disappointed, because I am a huge fan of the original series. But I was more disappointed with The Last Airbender’s direction rather than the casting itself. I thought the kid who played Aang physically resembled him. If the script wasn’t so out of character, the kid would have done an excellent job.

        But back on topic, I enjoyed Transformers 3 but I’m not liking the idea of a Transformers 4. And I’m not a fan of co-productions with China, but I do quite like Chen Kun, although I was never a fan of his movies.

      • what says:

        “They dropped the ball not casting a Chinese actor for Mandarin in Iron Man.”
        not really mandarin being play by a chinese actor will just be another fu manchu character

        • SD says:

          They don’t really need a Chinese actor for him. He’s half Chinese half English and a descendent of Genghis Khan so he’s a mix. Plus Iron Man isn’t like Dragonball where it has all the Eastern elements to it.

          Michael Bay saying Transformer has a story is so funny, I don’t think anyone really cared much for the story of the humans opposed to all the stuff blowing up and Transformers going at it. Guy needs to realize story =/= visual effects (South Park in case you missed that one)

          I hope the Chinese companies didn’t have to invest too much money to get the actors whatever little screen time they’ll have. Hardly a first step imo, more like trying to knock on the door to get that foot stuck in.

      • Ric says:

        Yes Mandarin is half Chinese but Kingsley doesn’t look Chinese at all. It doesn’t resemble any comic portrayal of the character. The Mandarin character was inspired by Fu Manchu. I don’t see the problem with that at all. Bottom line is people should stay true to the source material.

        • SD says:

          Bottom line is most people in the West won’t care and that’s where the main audience is. Two things come to mind if they tried to an Asian actor which is they don’t have a credible one who has a high international profile and they run the risk of him looking like some comical villian more then a badass super villian which I think Ben Kingsley pulls off just fine here without losing too much of the connection.

        • Ric says:

          All these articles keep talking about China being the second top box office and how Hollywood to trying to cater to them. That’s just not true. Like you said, the West is the key market and all these small roles production companies give Chinese actor is incidental. It means nothing and Chinese roles being cast with non-Chinese actors proves it.

        • SD says:

          I agree, this has to do with China not being able to keep up with their soft power like I mentioned somehwere here. American culture has been disseminated worldwide since World War 1 Ended and has reached more people then most realize.

          Even though China is 2nd, they’re still a huge margin off. Not only would they need to beat US Domestic ticket sales, Western European/Canada and such would be the total monetary value they would need to beat. It’ll probably take deacdes to come but I think Hollywood is taking some first steps just to appeal to this huge potential market atm.

          Some other factors would need to be taken into account as well such as Chinese Movies willing to depart from their domestic box offices and take a step onto the world stage of filmography like South Korea has, etc.

          But overall, I agree that until that day comes then these roles can probably be done without an Asian actor. How many of these superstars in Asia are well-known internationally compared to Hollywood ones, etc.

        • Funn Lim says:

          I have no problem with Ben Kingsley as Mandarin. LIke you said, Mandarin is half Chinese. If Ben Kingsley can play a jewish man, a white man and whatever not, he can certainly play a half chinese. He is a fantastic actor and I am glad that he is finally in a huge franchise movie.

          As for the question..

          “Furthermore, show me ONE mainland Chinese actor who has even a fraction of the cinematic clout and WORLDWIDE recognition that Ben Kingsley brings to the production. ”

          Is Chow Yun Fatt considered Mainland Chinese? Jackie Chan? Jet Li? I think Jet Li can do it, he can fight and all that.

          But seriously, isn’t it obvious what Hollywood is doing is to insert a famous chinese name here and there with bit parts for the sake of box office revenue in Asia? Disgusting isn’t it? But it is reality.

          Yeah… why not Jet Li eh? Of course Ben Kingsley can outdo Jet Li in acting dept. I really have no problem with Ben. My problem is with Gwyneth Paltrow.

        • SD says:

          Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan and Jet Li were from a different era though. They all made it in Hollywood because they went the stereotypical norm that a Western audience had wanted to see. Only Chow Yun Fat had some more serious acting roles and they never really took off or got him anywhere.

          As for reality, money is king so I agree. Until the day Chinese culture projects itself like America does then Chinese Actors will always just be tagging their names. We’re talking decades away though. not even sure if I’ll be around to see it.

      • Rex says:

        If they cast an actual Chinese actor (especially one from China) in the role of the Mandarin, the film probably wouldn’t get released in China at all without all the sequences involving the Mandarin being removed, or subtitled to suggest he’s Japanese or Korean!! Wouldn’t want the world thinking that a Chinese person, a character, is capable of evil or corruption now, would they?

        You can’t have it both ways. Maybe if mainland China produced more movies set in contemporary times with memorable villain roles we might get an idea of who would be suited to an role like The Mandarin (an AMERICAN creation, no matter where you think he’s “really” from).

        But, since Chinese filmmakers can only crank out one overblown safe “pre-1949″ period spectacle after another, or one bland modern rom-com after another, it will still be MANY years before we see actors capable of the kind of diversity and versatility that Hong Kong performers were demonstrating for decades while China was wasting its time and its people on decades of doomed ideology, some of which they STILL cling to.

        Furthermore, show me ONE mainland Chinese actor who has even a fraction of the cinematic clout and WORLDWIDE recognition that Ben Kingsley brings to the production. I don’t care how “big” Chinese cinema thinks it is right now (and outside of China, it’s really not), there isn’t one actor who can bring global recognition (beyond the Chinese diaspora) to such a role, let alone deliver dialogue in flawless ENGLISH as the character requires. For these reasons alone, it should be obvious why “top” Chinese stars should be grateful to be (AWKWARDLY) shoehorned into only the biggest American blockbusters with the largest potential global appeal, the kinds of movies they haven’t a hope of making on their own soil. To be honest, though, such measly cameos will do little for their prospects in Hollywood simply because they don’t speak fluent English and for the most part, no one knows or cares who they are outside of the Chinese diaspora and a small number of non-Chinese consumers of Asian cinema.

        Sorry, Chinese film fans, but you’re NEVER going to see mainland actors in anything BUT cameo roles in American movies the way their Hong Kong forerunners were, and the only reason they’re cast in these largely superfluous roles in the first place is for the PR traction Hollywood gains in China as a result. You can look to the fact that some (and possibly more) of these performances aren’t even SEEN outside of China as the most damning evidence that the roles aren’t even necessary and are little more than kiss-ups to the Chinese government and business interests who pony up a portion of the production money with strings attached.

        Kinda pathetic, really.

        I’m overjoyed that Kingsley is playing the Mandarin. He’s PERFECT for the part, and there has been NO concentrated backlash against his casting (or even his Indian heritage – “Ben Kingsley” isn’t even his real name, people!). Even if you COULD convince me that there’s a mainland Chinese actor good enough to play such a role, I can guarantee you that he won’t have anywhere NEAR the international appeal (and history) of Ben Kingsley, and that matters at the box-office. Even in China.

        So deal with it, I say. Chinese actors, especially on the Mainland, will ALWAYS be limited to cameo roles in Hollywood shows. Fine and dandy if Hollywood money wants to partially bankroll a Chinese production with a Chinese story and Chinese characters in a Chinese setting, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you’re talking about iconic characters which BARELY EXISTED to the Chinese people 30 years ago. They belong to US in the west (white, black, Asian, latino, you name it). We GAVE them to the world. China just wants to latch onto them because nothing homegrown has the same kind of legs overseas, and won’t for a long time to come.

        Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t China start making its own superhero movies based on its own comic books and cartoon shows? Not movies about kung-fu fighters, sword fighters and the like (there’s enough of that out there already thanks to HONG KONG cinema’s decades-long head start over the mainland), but real BONAFIDE comic book superheroes, mutants and alien protectors (or even battling robots)? Oh yeah, that’s right, they CAN’T, and when they try (KUNG-FU CYBORG, FUTURE X-COPS), the results are laughable because China simply has NO worthwhile fantasy pop culture older than the last 10-15 years or so. And yet they expect America to capitulate and give their top actors major roles in Hollywood productions? Sorry, China, shoulda been with the program decades ago. Maybe then your top talent of today might enjoy something better than BIT PARTS normally played by Asian-American day players over here. ;-)

    4. RaySimpson says:

      I suspect they will get about 30 seconds of cameo appearance… total.

      Just like that Cloud Atlas oscar award potential mainland actress.

    5. sehseh says:

      Btw Hollywood, stop playing oriental music everytime an Asian character appear onscreen. And we don’t regularly spew quotes of wisdom.

    6. Funn Lim says:

      It is interesting how Hollywood now over glamourise and over publicise what are essentially ke-le-fe roles. With the robots, Mark Wahlberg and bombs and cars flying everywhere where got time for others?

      And.. Shia not in this?

      • SD says:

        It’s probably more about giving China face so that they can continue to boost sales and tap into the growing China market. It’s all about money in the end until the day China actually projects its soft power international like Western Countries do.

        As for Shia…well, it’s “Transformers” and not “”The Adventures of Sam Witwicky”. His story was kind of done anyways and I doubt Michael Bay cares about character development.

        • Funn Lim says:

          No offense but Mark Wahlberg is not a competent actor. I shall miss Shia and his major super nervous type of acting.

        • SD says:

          No offense taken, I was just trying to point out that whoever plays the human role is more of a side-story anyway.

          At the heart of it, we just want to watch big robots fights and release the inner child. I like Shia myself too and definitely more then Wahlberg.

    7. truman6 says:

      Transformers should & only be a robot movie..u guys never watch transformers series before when you were small?..it shouldn’t have many actors at all..just a few 1 will be enough..just focus on the robots..

    8. Jeff says:

      The evil money grubbing jews always try to keep Asians down.

    9. jeffie says:

      Mark Wahlberg in China? Hope he go berserk and start bashing up people, for his own sake, the asian hating racist

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