Subscribe to the APA Newsletter
Bong Joon-ho's Korean pic destroys box-office records, Ganesha is animated, Will Smith takes on Bollywood, and two martial art power players may join forces. All this and more in the August 3rd, 2006 edition of News From Abroad.
Box-Office Magic for The Host
Bong Joon-hu's third film The Host, a monster flick about a terrifying creature that emerges from the Han River, has been a smash hit, selling 10 million tickets ($68 million) in the record time of 21 days. Along with Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War, King and the Clown, and Silmido, The Host is only the fourth picture ever to reach that mark in the history of South Korea. The film generated a bidding war after it was shown in Cannes, and currently it's generating buzz within US studios, who are already pursuing remake rights of the film. The movie being shown in 620 screens across South Korea. New Yorkers can catch a screening of The Host at the NY Film Festival in September; and Magnolia Pictures is preparing a US release of the original version later this year.
The Chan-Li Show
Rumors have been circulating for a while -- but fans who have long been anticipating a Jackie Chan, Jet Li collaboration may finally get their wish. The two most internationally recognized martial-arts stars have long been looking for an opportunity to work together; it was just a matter of finding the right script. In May, a studio made the official announcement for the undertaking that they refered to as: The J & J project. In August, Jackie Chan confirmed that, as long as the script is up-to-par and approved by both of them, they would start shooting in Shanghai next March. The plan is to bring the story of Journey to the West to Hollywood. The film will revolve around a fifteen year old boy; Jet Li will play the Monkey King, and Jackie Chan will play Lan Caihe. Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) will be directing.
Before then, Chan has an upcoming untitled Zhang Yimou martial arts film, as well as the third installment of Rush Hour and Yee Tung-Shing's Shinjuko Incident. Jet Li has completed Rogue, and is being courted by Yuen Wo-Ping to be the lead in The Great Wall.
Will Smith, the Unlikely Bollywood/Hollywood Uniter
UTV, India's leading entertainment company, announced that they will be collaborating with Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures in order to produce two movies. Budget: 30 millions dollars. Overbook Entertainment is Will Smith's production company with Teddy Zee and James Lassiter. At the press conference, Smith said that he has been fascinated with Bollywood and would love to one day work with Aishwarya Rai. Both film collaborations will be in English. One will be a live action film, and the other will be a full-length animated film.
This isn't the first time UTV has signed on for Hollywood co-productions. They've already embarked in a joint production with Fox Searchlight with Mira Nair's The Namesake, which will be released in March next year. Next, UTV and Fox Seachlight are also co-producing Chris Rock's new film I Think I Love My Wife.
Who Is This Guy?
Actor Daniel Henney (above) recently shot another round of commercials for Bean Pole Fashions with Gwyneth Paltrow in Mayfair, London. Bean Pole International is a Korean fashion brand and affiliate of Samsung. Henney and Paltrow were involved in their last advertising campaign that was telecast all over Korea in late 2005. An Asian American -- he got a business degree at the University of Illinois in Chicago -- Henney is currently turning heads all over the world as.. the really, really hot tall Asian guy in the Gwyneth Paltrow commercial. Hey, it's a start.
In South Korea, he's already a big star. A former model who worked with such high caliber designers as Gucci and Armani, Henney is just beginning to learn the acting ropes. He first captured attention for his role as a radiologist in his 2005 television miniseries My Lovely Sam-soon. Next up for Henney is his second drama Spring Waltz, and he is currently filming Seducing Mr. Robin, his big-screen debut.
Lord Ganesha in 3D
The elephant-headed Hindu God is getting his own film. Tarantella Pictures, one of Asia's biggest software producers, has been workin on this project for over three years, and this will be the very first 3d film on Ganesha. Sharad Sharan, the Indian-born Indonesia-based director of such movies as Kiss Kis Ko and Diva, is at the helm of the project. He calls the task of creating such a beautiful mythological form for the screen: "every animator's dream come true." To make sure they capture the master of intellect and wisdom to the best of their abilities, they've rounded up such talent as writers Brij Katyl, Ramchander Sadekar, and Amjad Sheikh, and Dr. Vyas (a PhD. scholar in Vedic Science).
Ko is Back
Actress Ko Hyun-jung had been on film hiatus for a while, but she is back to business, playing an independent-spirited singer-songwriter in Hong Sang-soo's Woman on the Beach (Haebyonui Yoin). Lately, she has been more known for her personal life than her work, but Ko had been an immensely popular actress all through the '90s, since her big break in the television drama Sandglass (Moraesigye). In 2005, she made a comeback in the series Spring Day (Pomnal). Although she has been acting for over ten years, this will be her film debut. Woman on the Beach tells the story of the romances between two thirty-something couples intertwining. The film opens in South Korea in September. It will also be one of the films in the 44th New York Film Festival.
Click here to watch the trailer: http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/007226.html
Kim Ki-Duk Vents and Apologizes
On a recent talk show, Kim Ki-Duk gave viewers a piece of his mind, criticizing South Korea's biggest film The Host as "the apex where the level of Korean movies meets the level of Korean audiences." Indignant that his own art-house films have gotten lackluster responses, he expressed cynicism for the Korean film industry, hinting that he may leave the country entirely. Not so classy. Backlash ignited. Later, he issued an apology, saying that his arrogant attitude was regrettable. He was just trying to explain his frustration with how difficult it is to release lower-budget films in the Korean movie industry. In this statement, he also took the chance to apologize to The Host director Bong Joon-ho, and announce his latest film, Time. But not before sarcastically vowing to stop "exporting" his films to his homeland of Korea. Apparently, still bitter...
Click here to watch the trailer: http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/005906.html
APA's 2004 interview with Kim Ki-duk
APA's review of 3-Iron
APA's review of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring
For the Canadians
The Toronto International Film Festival is set to start from September 7-17, 2006. Last year, Julie Kwan's Eve & The Firehorse (Review; Interview)screened as part of their Canada First program, and South Korean director Kang Yi-kwan won the Fipresci Prize for his film Sa-Kwa.
This year's Asian films include:
Mira Nair's The Namesake
Hong Sang-soo's Woman on the Beach
Karan Johar's Never Say Goodbye
Johnnie To's Exiled
Hirokazu Kore-eda's HANA
Ann Hui's The Postmodern Life of my Aunt
Johnnie To's Election 2
Takashi Miike's Big Bang Love, Juvenile A
So Yong Kim's In Between Days
Kim Ki-Duk's Time
Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Invisible Waves
Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet
Lou Ye's Summer Palace
Tae-Yong Kim's Family Ties
Jun-ik Lee's King and the Clown
Rajnesh Domalpalli's Vanaja
Chitra Palekar's A Grave-Keeper's Tale
Sheng Zhimin's Bliss
Bong Joon-ho's The Host
Haobam Paban Kumar's A Cry in the Dark
Tsai Ming-liang's I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century
Jia Zhang-ke's Dong
Sadik Ahmed's Tanju Miah
How much do you wish you were in Toronto right now?
Festival website: http://www.e.bell.ca/filmfest/2006/home/default.asp
Date Posted: 8/23/2006