Ha Jung-woo to star in Park Chan-wook’s Agasshi
Buzz is in the air with the announcement of the first collaboration between Chungmuro heavyweights Ha Jung-woo (Kundo, The Terror Live) and Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Joint Security Area). Director Park is returning to Korean film after a six-year break with a new movie called Agasshi (Young Lady), an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, and Ha Jung-woo has signed on to star.
Fingersmith (meaning petty thief) is a Victorian crime novel that was also adapted for a 2-episode BBC miniseries in 2005. It’s about a young woman who’s a pickpocket, and a con artist who poses as a gentleman to seduce wealthy women. Together they plot to seduce a young heiress out of her fortune, and the story is about what unfolds as the three of them get entangled in the dangerous scheme.
Park Chan-wook’s adaptation will take the setup out of Dickensian London and into Occupation-era Korea, which I find really intriguing. I can see how setting it during the Japanese occupation creates a similar developing-urban, back-alleyway feel, while adding another layer of cultural and social conflict.
Ha Jung-woo will star as a man who begins the story as a man of conviction. But he eventually falls prey to his own ambition and chooses a different path, and he’ll end up being the con artist who seduces women for their money. The two leading ladies — the pickpocket and the heiress — have yet to be cast, and because the roles call for nudity, it’s unlikely that they’ll be casting big names. Auditions are currently being held, and the film hopes to complete casting and begin filming shortly, for a 2015 release.
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