10:57 PM PDT 7/14/2013 by Clarence Tsui | The Hollywood Reporter
Han Geng, most recently seen in the blockbuster drama “So Young," becomes the second Chinese star — after Li Bingbing — to join the latest installment of Michael Bay’s franchise.
HONG KONG – Han Geng, one of China’s most well-known pop idols, will be joining the latest installment of the Transformersfranchise, according to a statement released on the online portal of the film’s Chinese co-producers.
The announcement on the Weibo account of m1905.com, owned and operated byTransformers 4 co-producer China Movie Channel, was echoed by a message on Michael Bay’s website, in which the director described Han as “one of Asia’s top stars in the worlds of music, television and movies and has become one of the most influential entertainers in China.”
“Now he’ll also be known for Transformers 4. Welcome Han Geng to the cast of Transformers,” Bay wrote.
On his own Weibo account, Han posted a message thanking Bay and the film’s production partners Paramount Pictures, Jiaflix Enterprises and the China Movie Channel and said the move is “a childhood dream coming true.”
While the actor could now claim Hollywood-sanctioned pedigree by getting the Transformers gig, his presence might also prove to be a coup on the producers’ part too.
The 29-year-old is a megastar in both his home country – he has 35 millions followers on his Weibo account – and South Korea, where he began his show-business career as a member of the chart-topping pop group Super Junior. Han was most recently seen in Vicki Zhao Wei’s So Young, one of the biggest homegrown hits of the year with box office earnings of $117 million (719 million yuan).
Han is the second Chinese star to have confirmed a part in Transformers 4, with Li Bingbing already on board the vehicle. As well as casting A-list talent, the filmmakers have also called for wannabe Chinese actors to join a talent competition. More than 70,000 applications have been filed, according to an article published on m1905.com – among them established actors such as Peter Ho and Wang Dongcheng.
One hundred contestants will be picked for intensive training programs, with the number whittled down to four by the end of August through a series of recorded competitions and performances to be edited into TV programs and broadcast on China Movie Channel.
Shooting for Transformers 4 began last month, with location shoots in China scheduled to take place in the fall. The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles and Stanley Tucci, will be released June 27, 2014.