Following her 2012 film I Do, Li Bingbing disappeared from public sight for almost a year until a special screening party for Resident Evil: Retribution on March 16 of this year, when she returned from America to meet her Chinese fans.
Over the past year, in addition to shooting the big budget action flick, the actress spent nearly six months studying in United States and living alone in Los Angeles. Her life abroad left as deep an impact on the actress as shooting the movie.
In July 2011, when Li was promoting Snow Flower and the Secret Fan in the U.S., she happened to meet Paul W.S. Anderson, the director of Resident Evil, and the two discussed working together. After tailoring a role for her, Li was cast as Ada Wong in Resident Evil: Retribution. The actress has much to say about production modes in Hollywood, which differ greatly from what she experienced in China. “In China, the relationship between the entire production team really matters,” she explains. “In Hollywood, the law matters.” Li recalled a day during the shoot when she felt sick to her stomach. After she mentioned this to a colleague, a doctor arrived quickly. She asked to continue working, but was politely refused.
“I was told if I didn’t rest and get better, the entire production would be affected,” she recalls. Li was “required” to rest. “To be honest, I was a little bit surprised and flattered.”
Ada Wong is certainly a selling point and highlight of Resident Evil: Retribution.
But still, Li often faces hard questions such as “With so many Chinese actresses in Hollywood relegated to minor roles or negative Chinese characters, were you ever worried about how your role in Resident Evil: Retribution would work out?” Li’s answer was frank. She remarked that although Chinese actors and actresses are indeed far from mainstream in Hollywood, the situation is identical for foreign actors in China. In an era of globalization, all actors and actresses become international.