Ha Ji-won and Bae Doo-na team up in sports movie
After knocking out a super-hit drama series (Secret Garden, as if you needed the reminder), Ha Ji-won is jumping right back to the film world with a new project called Korea, which is a working title that dearly needs to be changed. (Can you imagine the aggravation of trying to find information on that movie? It’s like trying to buy That Album by That Band. Or trying to find out Hu’s on first.)
The movie is based on real-life events, centering around the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan, when for the first time ever North and South Korea played as one team and won. It’s got all the makings of a heartwarming, feel-good story, replete with odd-couple dynamics and underdog victory. Will we get another Forever the Moment? (And Take Off?)
Ha was cast early on as one of the players, Hyun Jung-hwa, and looks to be joined by Bae Doo-na (Gloria), who isn’t confirmed yet but is considering the role favorably. Bae’s character is the North Korean player Lee Boon-hee, and the partnership is sure to produce lots of conflict as well as camaraderie.
Another actress who’ll join them is a newcomer, Han Ye-ri (Paju, Road No. 1), who plays Yoo Soon-bok, another player from the North. Apparently she’s working extra-hard to nail down verisimilitude, which includes training to hit right-handed when she’s actually a lefty. If she pulls it off, I am jealous; one of my weird obsessions as a child was achieving ambidexterity. Then I got tired and gave up.
Korea plans to begin filming in April, in time to release for the busy filmgoing Chuseok holiday in the fall.