The fourth instalment of the Chinese blockbuster franchise Tiny Times will not feature Taiwanese actor Ko Chen-tung, after he was arrested for drug use in Beijing in July, state media reported.
The 23-year-old actor, also known as Kai Ko, served 14 days in detention in Beijing for drug offences after he was detained along with Jaycee Fong Cho-ming, son of Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan.
China’s media watchdog has warned mainland production companies not to use stars involved in prostitution, gambling or drug abuse. China Radio International reports that Ko’s scenes in Tiny Times 4, due for release in February, are being reshot, reports South China Morning Post.
The Tiny Times franchise, which has been called China’s ‘Gossip Girl’, has been hugely successful. On its release in July, the third film knocked Transformers 4 off the top of the Chinese box office, taking more than 306 million yuan in its first four days and setting a record for a 2D film.
Writer-director Guo Jinming said earlier this year he might have to cut Ko from the fourth film, though he later denied he was in talks with an actor to replace him.
“The movie has to be submitted for censorship and it’s beyond my ability,” Guo told the Beijing News in September.
Ko, who made a tearful confession of drug use on state TV in August, has already lost a number of high-profile endorsement deals, including with Canon, KFC, and Quaker Oats.
The actor will also reportedly be cut from ‘Monster Hunt’, the live-action debut of Chinese director Raman Hui, who previously co-directed ‘Shrek the Third’.
Jaycee Chan was formally arrested in September on suspicion of “accommodating drug users” and potentially faces as much as three years in prison.
Jackie Chan, who was named a Chinese anti-drug ambassador in 2009, has publicly apologised for his son’s behaviour and blamed his failings as a parent.
“I am always a father. I used to be an unqualified father. Now, after this event, I want to be a qualified father,” Chan told reporters last month.
Ko and Chan were detained as part of an ongoing anti-drug campaign. This week Chinese police announced that more than 100,000 drug users had been "investigated" and 12 tonnes of narcotics seized in the past 50 days alone.