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From I Saw the Devil to Hollywood

Dark thriller I Saw the Devil was one of the past summer’s hit films, and one of five Korean films to screen at the latest Toronto Film Festival. Coincidentally enough, all three of its major players are now looking at Hollywood prospects simultaneously, though not with each other. (Those three are actors Lee Byung-heon and Choi Min-shik and director Kim Jee-woon.)

And by “Hollywood project,” we don’t mean no-name projects that are hyped by the Korean press that nobody ever hears about; there are some impressive names involved in the following movies:

For instance: Actor Choi Min-shik is considering accepting a role in Hollywood movie Safe House, which stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. The plot unfolds when a CIA agent (Reynolds) transporting a dangerous prisoner (Washington) must go on the run after their safe house is attacked, and head to South America.

Choi Min-shik received the casting offer from the U.S. casting director, having impressed the producers with his roles in I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. As the concrete details of the role have not been given yet, Choi plans to meet the casting director in the States. Safe House is produced by major studio Universal and The Wolfman’s Scott Stuber, and directed by Easy Money’s Daniel Espinosa.


Devil’s Choi Min-shik, Kim Jee-woon, Lee Byung-heon

Then there’s director Kim Jee-woon, who was lauded for his work directing “kimchi Western” The Good, The Bad, The Weird. He will direct the action movie Last Stand, starring Liam Neeson as a drug cartel boss who escapes his trial in a race car and speeds toward the Mexican border. Only a small-town sheriff stands in his way; hence the “last stand.”

The movie is being touted as a mix of car-race-themed The Fast and the Furious and classic Western High Noon, so I can see how Kim Jee-woon fits in with his kimchi-Western-action-thriller roots. Transformers producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura will produce, and Kim is currently busy traveling back and forth to the States as he works on the movie, which is in pre-production.

Last but not least: Lee Byung-heon will be reprising his role as baddie character Storm Shadow from 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in the sequel, where he will reportedly have a bigger role than in the first film.

Lee is currently taking a break after finishing I Saw the Devil, and G.I. Joe 2 plans to begin filming in early 2011. There’s even a possibility that he’ll crank out one film in Korea before that begins — gotta love how speedy the production machine is in Korea, compared to in Hollywood.

The following photos are of Lee Byung-heon and Choi Min-shik in stills from I Saw the Devil, then director Kim Jee-woon at the film’s press conference.

Via Star News

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"The Wolfman" was pretty lutzy, so I'm sort of afraid for Choi Min Sik...But hopefully, even if that flops, he will have more connections in Hollywood and further his career here. After all, everybody loves Oldboy!

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a flop movie with DENZEL WASHINGTON in it? i highly doubt that's going to happen. PLUS it's not just denzel, but ALSO ryan reynolds will be in it!

i'm actually excited to hear about choi min shik being in the same movie as these 2, especially of denzel washington's acting calibre.

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AND i can't wait to see lee byung heon in g.i. joe 2!!! he was totally hot in the first one, hopefully he'll also have more "speaking" lines. although, him just staring is quite enough.

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wht? he wasn't in The Wolfman.

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Uh, isn't Ryan Reynolds more famous for his action figure body than his acting? And Denzel Washington always act the same way in every movie.

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errrmm this sounds good... but I'd love to hear news like these a lil more often with other ppl than good ol' boys

Korean is full of talented actors... and some of them even better than some of Hollywood stars ...too bad that not so many of kstar speak English in an acceptable manner

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Not a fan of I Saw the Devil but I am looking forward to Choi Min Sik's Hollywood flick! Hmm...wondering what role he's play though...

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I fell out of love with Denzel after him always playing characters with similar characteristics (heh), where they are strong and forceful and are almost always right. But after The Book of Eli - which a lot of people hated, and I think its understandable since some of it was kind of iffy - I rediscovered my appreciation for the guy (it also helps that I did find the movie itself meaningful on some levels). So he will be reason enough to watch some of these.

As for G.I. Joe? *barf* Sorry, hated the cartoons. But I'll give the first movie a try and I'm hoping to be impressed enough to try the sequel.

But go South Korea for always expanding beyond borders. I love seeing the world come together, even if it is just in films. X) Here's to World Peace! What? I loved Miss Congeniality.

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It'll be interesting how they bring back Stormshadow. But you know that Lee Byung Heon, immaculate conception and staying alive after being shot more than 50 cent. It's what he does!!

"The plot unfolds when a CIA agent (Reynolds) transporting a dangerous prisoner (Washington) must go on the run after their safe house is attacked, and head to South America."

Love to see Choi Min Sik play a Colombian drug lord.

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A lot of people are wondering how Storm Shadow will return .. here's the hint from the GI Joe forum.. ^^

***Just to clarify, the director does admit in the DVD commentary that Storm Shadow isn't dead. They said Snake Eyes deliberately missed his heart and then SS fell into freezing water... And they slipped in the commentary, stating that it was to be revealed in that final fight scene that SS didn't kill his and Snake's master when they were kids, but that he's innocent, something they want to explore in the sequel***

For the popcorn flick Storm Shadow+Snake Eyes definitely the best thing.. can't wait for him.. it's no oscar material.. even a razzie-magnet.. but who cares.. it didn't flop for a good reason.. we have a sexy Storm Shadow.. that saves the movie.. and more are interested watching LBH's Korean movies because of this.

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Just saw 'I Saw the Devil' last night at the London Korean Festival. There was a Q&A with Kim Jee-woon he was really funny and interesting, even signed my friend's programme. I cant wait to see his future work, this project sounds like it will suit him.

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Thanks so much for this update rehanu.. so Dir. Kim was indeed in London for the screening.. he's been busy.. goes everywhere (Toronto, San Sebastian and London, etc). If you're a member at soompi, please share your experience/review at the 'I Saw the Devil' movie thread.. that'll be so cool and highly-appreciated.

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This is so great! :) Kudos to all three!

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So korea promoted this movie as a thriller but when the audience watched it, we all realized it was a horror film. There were too many graphic scenes- people left the theatre. I felt tricked and disgusted at the end of the movie....

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There's a reason why so many reviewers are hailing this as the best thriller since Silence of the Lambs. It's fdfhgsd brilliant. Watch it.

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This is so cool.. what a great Monday morning surprise.. I Saw the Devil update.. an awesome 3-in1 post, javabeans. Thanks so much. I sure hope Lee Byung Hun will have another movie in Korea in the meantime waiting for GI Joe sequel.. a BJH feature, perhaps.. pleasepleaseplease! ^^

Coincidentally.. there was news that Denzel Washington might be doing 'A Bittersweet Life' remake.. maybe that didn't happen. Phew.

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I actually liked The Book of Eli. It's different from other DW's previous movies. It made me thinking philosophically (btw, I don't dwell with philosophies, my mind chants 'be practical, be practical' all the times!

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I Saw the Devil actually did below expectation, something like 1.8 million admissions. For its budget of ~7 mil usd (is that right, rubie? ;)), it needs at least 2.5 mil to break even.

Good thing they wrangled Choi to terrorize RR/Denzel. He needs no audition!

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Hi ed, sorry I didn't see this much earlier.. didn't realize someone had replied. Gosh.. my very limited Korean-guessing really doesn't help much (not sure about the budget) but yeah.. I Saw the Devil didn't do so well but imo, still better than some other non-violent feel-good movies. Saw the movie, to be honest.. really don't feel watching the second time although (bias as I am ^^) Lee ByungHun was perfect in the movie.. his expressions and everything. The character might by paper-thin but I think it works well for him and Dir. KJW knows that he had cast a credible actor to go against CMS). Love his interview with easternkicks. Anyway.. please share more updates with us at the thread, anytime.. you'd know so much better about the Korean movies.

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I'm allergic to horror movies, even the cheesy hk ones. Last one I watched was hollywood's The Ring, and I couldn't sleep with the lights off for two months (tv in room didn't helped much)

But those Hollywood projects sounds good. I like to watch action movies in cinemas :D

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I Saw the Devil was one of the most disturbing but amazing movies I've eve seen. I came out of the theater literally shaking and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. Both the acting and cinematography are top notch, not to mention that Lee Byung Heon is gorgeous :P. The stills they chose to show on this page are probably the only parts of the movie they can actually show, since it was gory to the extreme of the Saw movies (if not worse). It was more psychologically disturbing than outright scary, although there were a few parts that made me jump and I felt tense through the whole movie. It's 2.5 hours long but didn't feel like that AT ALL. Go see it if you're ok with a lot of gore, it's such a well done movie.

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