Media and Advertising

A magazine and movie scandal: FHM China, Huang Shengyi and Steven Chow

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Censorship encourages metaphor: Huang Shengyi's got milk

A dispute has erupted in the Chinese movie industry:

Huang Shengyi (黄圣依) is a Shanghai-born actress who starred in Steven Chow's (周星驰) recent comedy Kung Fu Hustle, and was signed to Chow's production company Star Overseas Ltd.

According to a Xinhua article, Huang recently informed Star Overseas that she wished to break her contract. Star Overseas is not amused:

[A]n assistant to Hong Kong actor and director Stephen Chow said Monday that the company would not consent to a contract termination.

The company said it would also consider taking legal action. According to lawyer Liu Xuedong, who represents Chow's company, the letter from Huang which indicated her wish to terminate the contract was quite vague, with no clear reason given as to why she was seeking to end the relationship.

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FHM China — finally some controversy

But it seems that Huang was already in trouble with Star Overseas after she appeared as the milk-splashed cover girl of FHM China's August issue, which apparently damaged her image as a "pretty and innocent girl" (China.org.cn). The FHM photo spread of Huang is certainly not very innocent — see links below for scans of the whole thing.

But like all good scandals in the Chinese movie industry, things may not be as they appear. Xinhua's article suggests some ulterior motives behind the spat between Huang and Chow:

The first of the theories is that Huang has been gradually falling out of favor with Chow, who has turned his attention to promoting starlet Liu Jiajie, who has been linked with a possible role in director Chow's forthcoming Kung Fu Hustle 2. Chow first spotted Liu's talent as a 16-year-old while casting for Shaolin Soccer" and rumor has it that Huang feels threatened by Liu's growing stature.

A second suggestion is that the Huang-Chow bust-up was cooked up by Huang and her company to get some extra cheap publicity ahead of the release of Kung Fu Hustle 2, which would begin shooting soon.

A third possibility is that Huang's new company was cashing in on her break from Chow. Show biz insiders think a more powerful company was behind Huang's decision to part from Chow, and that by hiring Huang, her new company had sought to kill two birds with one stone — getting a money-machine star on their books and extensive free publicity to boot.

Enjoying the publicity, FHM China told Sohu.com that their magazine was the real victim of the Huang Chow spat. According to the Sohu article, Mr Jacky Jin (aka Shou Ma or Thin Horse) editor of FHM, said that the photographer who took the Huang Shengyi cover shot is Chen Zhun, who has also shot Zhao Wei and Lin Chiling for the lads mag. According to Thin Horse, "These photographs express the charm and bewitching nature of contemporary Chinese women".

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