Original director Lee Myeong-se and the cast of The Spy:Mr. K

Action/comedy ‘The Spy’ (스파이) gets a trailer

Original director Lee Myeong-se and the cast of The Spy:Mr. K

Original director Lee Myeong-se and the cast of The Spy/Mr. K

Superstars Seol Kyeong-gu (설경구) and Moon So-ri (문소리) are again teaming up for the big screen, this time with Daniel Henney (다니엘 헤니) for an action/comedy tentatively titled The Spy: Undercover Operation (스파이/협상종결자). 

The film – initially called Mr. K – has been in development for quite some time and has been surrounded in controversy, chiefly due to the very public disagreements between original director Lee Myeong-se (이명세) and the production team, whose visions for the blockbuster apparently differed wildly. Director Lee, whose credits include M (엠) and Duelist (형사), is an excellent filmmaker and one of the few genuine auteurs working within the Korean film industry today, however it was always something of an odd choice to have such an artistically-minded person at the helm of a big summer film. With director Lee’s departure, new director Lee Seung-joon (이승준), who was the assistant director on action film Quick (퀵) was brought on board, and now finally a trailer has arrived.

The Spy: Undercover Operation sees top Korean spy Kim Cheol-su (Seol Kyeong-gu) on a mission to solve a terrorist attack that occurs in Seoul, with the investigation taking him to Thailand. Yet being the best has meant neglecting his flight attendant wife Young-hee (Moon So-ri), putting a strain on the relationship. However while undercover in Bangkok, Cheol-su spots his wife with handsome rival Ryan (Daniel Henney) and begins to go against orders to discover what his wife is up to.

It’s quite a departure for the Seol/Moon team-up that brought audiences powerhouse performances in Oasis (오아시스) and Peppermint Candy (박하사탕). Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Advertisements
Film News
Dr. Daniel Martin, director Lee Myeong-se, and the very talented translator

London-Korean Film Night, Jan 2012 – ‘Duelist’ (형사) and Q+A with director Lee Myeong-se (이명세)

On Thursday the 26th of January, the Korean Culture Centre in London held the first of twelve planned Q+A film nights with legendary Korean directors.

A month dedicated to director Lee Myeong-se (이명세)

A month dedicated to director Lee Myeong-se (이명세)

For January’s edition the director in question was Lee Myeong-se (이명세) in conjunction with his 2005 film ‘Duelist’ (형사). Presiding over the event was Dr. Daniel Martin who introduced both the film and the director, giving the history and context to Lee Myeong-se’s (이명세) illustrious career and auteuristic sensibilities.

The film was very well-received by the audience, and during the following Q+A Lee Myeong-se (이명세) was in good humour throughout and very entertaining.

Dr. Daniel Martin began the Q+A with some questions about Lee Myeong-se’s (이명세) career, and particularly the actors that he has worked with. The director replied that he wanted to work with Ahn Seong-gi (안성기) as the actor had a very strong image as a good man in Korean cinema, and that his roles were limited due to typecasting. Director Lee wanted to change that and play with such preconceptions and cast him in Nowhere to Hide. In addition, Director Lee also cast his own mentor in a comedic role, as he had always had ambitions to be an actor; yet his mentor later revealed the role reversal, where Director Lee had to give instruction, had made him rather uncomfortable. In regards to using younger actors, Director Lee said he was impressed with Ha Ji-won’s (하지원) TV drama work and Kang Dong-won (강동원) had acted well in a prior film and had the ‘look’ he wanted.

For his next project, Director Lee stated he is planning an action film titled ‘Mr. K’ and jokingly claimed that it will surpass the James Bond films.

Dr. Daniel Martin, director Lee Myeong-se, and the very talented translator

Dr. Daniel Martin, director Lee Myeong-se, and the very talented translator

When asked about why he is concerned with the artificiality of cinema rather than attempting to achieve realism, Director Lee answered that he didn’t watch films when he was young which he is now grateful for as he wasn’t exposed to the conventions of cinema. Instead he is inspired by poetry and other creative works in discovering ‘what makes a film’.

In regards to the wide variety of music from other cultures and eras within ‘Duelist’ (형사), Lee Myeong-se (이명세) replied that if he likes music and it fits with his vision within a film, then he will use it regardless of faithfulness to an era.

Quizzed about his own martial arts prowess, Director Lee explained that he, like all Korean men who have undertaken military service, is a black belt in Taekwondo. However if he were to give a display, it would be highly comedic.

Following this, the director very kindly gave autographs and pictures to those who attended – including me!

Me with director Lee Myeong-se!

Me with director Lee Myeong-se!

Next month, the Korean Cultural Centre will be dedicated to director E J-yong with the Q+A to be held on February the 23rd alongside the screening of his 2009 film Actresses (여배우들).

Festival News