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For a Bigger Chinese Box Office, Hollywood Hires Chinese Actors

Fan Bingbing in Iron Man 3
Fan Bingbing in Iron Man 3Photograph courtesy of Marvel

Do you want to be cast in the next Transformers movie? All you have to do is win a reality show—in China. Paramount Pictures, in an effort to sell more tickets in China, will be casting more Chinese actors. They’re doing it through the plainly titled Transformers 4 Chinese Actor Talent Search Reality Show. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show will air in June. Four winners, two with acting experience and two without, will score roles in director Michael Bay’s movie.

The reality show is a unique twist on a practice that’s actually been going on for a while: Chinese-ifying American blockbusters. Last year, China surpassed Japan as the second-largest cinema audience in the world, with ticket sales of $2.7 billion. But its censor-happy government only allows 34 foreign films to screen in the country each year. Producers hope that if they can just break into the market, they’ll be able to make a fortune. And so, Hollywood’s wooing of China has begun.