Tang Wei to play Mao's girlfriend

Formerly banned actress set for propaganda film

HONG KONG -- Talk about political rehabilitation.

The Chinese star of "Lust, Caution," Tang Wei, has been cast as one of Mao Zedong's early girlfriends in a propaganda film to commemorate the 90th anniversary of China's Communist Party, marking her full comeback after a reported blacklisting.

The protege of Taiwan-born director Ang Lee reportedly offended Chinese authorities after playing a student activist who falls in love with a Japanese collaborator in Lee's 2007 World War II-era spy thriller "Lust, Caution." The Japanese military's wartime atrocities remain a hot-button subject in China.

Tang's first film since "Lust, Caution" came this year, a Hong Kong-set romance, "Crossing Hennessy."

The actress is now set to play Mao's girlfriend, Tao Yi, in the production "The Founding of a Party," the news website of state-owned China Film Group reported on Wednesday.

Letting the actress play the love interest of communist China's founding father means that Chinese film officials are ready to welcome her back into the local market.

Hong Kong director Peter Chan has also reportedly cast Tang alongside action star Donnie Yen in his upcoming kung fu movie.

Mao is being played by Chinese actor Liu Ye, best known to Western audiences for his roles in "Curse of the Golden Flower" and "Dark Matter," which co-starred Meryl Streep.
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