Chinese actress Fan Bingbing is just making waves in America, but she’s already an international superstar. Western audiences will recognize her as the pink-haired, teleporting badass Blink from X-Men: Days of Future Past while her Chinese career spans a multitude of award-winning movies including The Matrimony (available on Asian Crush), Lost in Beijing, and Double Exposure.
In 2016, Fan made 17 million dollars, starring in films like the critically acclaimed I am Not Madame Bovary, and performing alongside such veterans as Jackie Chan and Jet Li in Skip Trace and League of Gods. As Forbes reported, this put her in the top five highest paid actresses in the world.
As one of the most accomplished actresses in the world right now, there’s no doubt as to why Fan would be seated on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, alongside Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, and Pedro Almodovar. Bingbing’s been attending the festival for years and had already established herself as a fashion icon there as well. As we reported in April, Fan has also produced her own movies whilst starting a charity for children with heart conditions.
Unfortunately, even the most successful, recognizable Asian performers are prone to experiencing racism, even if it is meant to be a compliment. While being introduced alongside her fellow jurors, Fan was congratulated for a movie she was not actually in.
The M.C. declared “She is one of the major stars in China. She also played in one of the X-Men series and if you haven’t seen Handmaiden, you don’t know what she’s capable of! Miss Fan Bingbing.”
Ironically, it is he who does not seem to be able to recognize Fan’s talents, mistaking her for a completely different actress and all. Later, the deservedly embarrassed man sputtered out an apology where he added, “And Handmaiden…. We should know what you’re capable of. And I’m sorry about you. It was Madame Bovary. And not Madame Bovary that we don’t know what you’re about,” leaving the other Asian panelist, Park Chan-wook, the director of The Handmaiden, awkwardly sitting there.
The presenter didn’t just mistake Fan for another actress. He conflated the achievements of two Asians of different backgrounds, genders, and jobs with one another. It’s the type of mixup, that you wouldn’t see happen to white stars in Hollywood. Can you imagine someone getting the work of Amy Adams mixed up with Quentin Tarantino?
It’s a terribly embarrassing mistake, especially when Cannes is attempting to diversify its pool of movies by involving more Asian filmmakers.
In the face of a remarkable faux pas, Fan remained graceful and composed as ever, not one to let anything distract her from her moment.
Watch this awkward video here: