China Begins Blacklisting Hollywood Actors As Trade War Continues
The studio system in China starts dumping actors in tense atmosphere
Many of the actors believe that being blacklisted from the Chinese studios is retaliation to the ongoing trade war with the US.
The actors that have been blacklisted are primarily people who moved to China to meet the demand for non-Chinese actors in the burgeoning film industry, rather than stars who dabble in occasional Chinese production.
Currently, China has more movie screens than the US and its box office is a significant source of revenue, which sometimes produces top-grossing movies that go virtually unseen in America.
The studio system in China also has a high demand for actors who can play foreign roles while working alongside Chinese production crews.
Actor Matt William Knowles claimed his contract in China was expressly terminated due to the trade war, according to the FT.
“I can only assume it looks bad for them to be working with an American,” he said.
“The Chinese film industry has afforded me opportunities that I never dreamt possible. No matter what happens, I will never give up [on] China. That is why what is happening with this political climate is so hurtful to me,” Knowles added.
Though other American actors said they could still find work in Chinese film and television productions, they admitted the environment as tense.
China's blacklisting became noticeable in May when Foreign Policy acknowledged the entire film and TV projects had been canceled for relying too heavily on American actors or locations.
Meanwhile, other projects wrote American actors out of film roles.
Breitbart reports: According to Foreign Policy’s sources, Chinese media executives have not been explicitly ordered to avoid employing Americans, but they consider such orders could be issued at any moment, so they are proactively dropping Americans to evade drawing the attention of the Communist Party.
An American actor told the South China Morning Post that he was dumped from three different television roles in a matter of days and was told by casting agents that orders have been quietly issued to avoid employing American actors.
Entertainment products from other countries, such as South Korea and Japan, have been implicitly or explicitly banned in the past to support Beijing’s foreign policy agenda.
Sometimes the bans take the form of highly convenient “technical difficulties” that prevent foreign media from being screened or televised in China.
The Chinese entertainment industry is nervous and dazed after a string of such crackdowns forced them to shoulder significant financial losses.