Tuesday, May 29, 2012
It’s easier to talk about Filth, which brought him back to Scotland last winter. Adapted and directed by Jon S Baird from Irvine Welsh’s novel, it puts you inside the head (and eventually inside the bowels) of a corrupt cop, Bruce Robertson, played by James McAvoy. Robertson is perhaps one of the vilest characters in print since Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and his karmic balance is a more idealistic, straight-arrow detective, played by Elliott. The film also stars Jamie Bell and Low Winter Sun’s Brian McCardie and hopes are high for the film when it opens next year. Creative Scotland used a still of McAvoy, Elliott, Bell and McCardie in party hats to invite the world’s press to their annual party at the Cannes Film festival. “I’d been wanting to work with James McAvoy since I was in drama school. I suppose there are parallels in that we’re Scottish, we went to the same drama school and share the same agent but aside from that, he’s someone I’ve looked up to. Most people in my year found him an inspiration – he gave us all hope.”
A shame then, that he punched him in the face on his first day. “It was the very first scene we shot, in a nightclub, and I had to throw a punch at Brian McCardie,” recalls Elliott. “Unfortunately James got behind Brian just as I was swinging the punch. Brian ducked in time, but I cracked James on the nose. You could hear it. First day. First rehearsal. James, not wanting to make a fuss, wandered off. He was all right in the end. I thought he took it very well.”
In Filth’s stills, the physical contrast between the two men neatly underscores their character’s rivalry; McAvoy is fair, blue eyed and grungy, Elliott is darker, dimpled, with expressive chestnut eyes crowned by strong eyebrows. Eliott was raised in Portobello by his social worker mother and his university lecturer father. The name (“Ee-mon”) is part of his father’s Persian heritage “but I see myself as Scottish too. They are both ancient cultures with an incredible history and I’m proud of them both.”
Monday, May 21, 2012
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Snow Piercer: Korea’s Biggest Transnational Co-production Yet
Korean films have taken a new leap forward with BONG Joon-ho’s
. The film stands out beginning with the way it was
produced -- as a transnational project. Local production companies did
the legwork with support from investors in countries including France,
Japan, and the United States. It is a different situation from that of
PARK Chan-wook’s and KIM Jee-woon’s , which were made squarely within the borders of Hollywood.
An Award-winning French Comic Is Coming to the Big Screen
The film’s subject matter is quite unique for a Korean film.
is based on a French graphic novel, , which took top prize at the French Angoulême
International Comic Festival in 1985. It is set in the post-apocalyptic
future, after a devastating cold spell engulfs the Earth due to abnormal
climate changes, killing many. The last survivors now travel on a train
with food, water and other supplies. The film depicts the ensuing chaos
on board. BONG fell in love with the original graphic novel in 2005
after accidentally encountering it in a bookstore where he was browsing
through new comics. He bought the publication rights immediately. After
his third feature, , became Korea’s biggest box-office
hit in 2006, BONG declared his next project.
But the unexpected happened. KIM Haeja, an acclaimed veteran actress in Korea with whom BONG had always wanted to work, suddenly told him that she wished to star in one of his films. To work with her, BONG shifted his attention to filming
(2009) instead. Only
after he completed , which debuted in the 2009 Cannes Film
Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, did the Korean director re-focus
Korea’s Biggest Transnational Co-production Project
The cast are from diverse origins: to name a few, Octavia Spencer, Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress in
Korea’s own SONG Kang-ho, who starred in (2007)
and (2009), as well as British stars John Hurt and Tilda
Swinton. More than 80% of the cast consider English their mother tongue,
and most of the dialogue is in English. The staff consists of
professionals from a variety of countries as well. Alex HONG, one of
Korea’s top cinematographers, is in charge of cinematography, working
shoulder-to-shoulder with an American computer graphic supervisor and a
Czech production designer.
PARK Chan-wook, director of
, also came on board as a producer. PARK had already
helped BONG produce . BONG said, “I like to concentrate
purely on directing, and I feel comfortable working with PARK because we
understand each other.” Moho Film, the domestic production company of
the film, was founded by PARK. And the co-production company, OPUS
Pictures, is owned by PARK’s brother-in-law, LEE Tae-hun.
A Variety of Factors Inspiring Promising Results
Not many multinational projects have succeeded in Korea. Most of these have been co-productions between Korea and other Asian countries, mainly China, Japan and Hong Kong. Cultural differences between the countries are often blamed for poor box office results. Lack of unity among the staff also blocks a productive synergy from happening. But with
Overseas responses to BONG’s films thus far have been great. According to Box Office Mojo,
grossed USD $87.22
million overseas. also earned USD $16.56 in foreign
markets. International stars have shown a favorable interest in BONG’s
work. Hollywood actress Sigourney Weaver, who visited Korea in 2010, is a
perfect example. She praised BONG’s work when she said, “ is an amazing film that stimulates one’s imagination. It’s
scary and intriguing all at once.”
About the Wonders and Brutality of Modern Technology
We can expect
to juxtapose the wonders and
brutality of modern technology by using the symbolism of the train. In
an interview, BONG said, “the fact that all is gone but ‘mankind’s
natural assets’ is what excited me.” He dropped a hint by saying, “a
train is a monstrous lump of metal and a symbol of industrialization.
But the outside world you see through the train window can feel
romantic.” Based on a western original, the film is expected to arouse
universal sentiments of savageness and lyricism. is
due to be released in the summer of 2013 and CJ E&M will be in
charge of its domestic distribution.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
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Korean Director Bong Joon-Ho starts shooting his movie “Snowpiercer” in Tirol
The very first shooting day for “Snowpiercer” took place on Hintertux Glacier in Tirol mid of March. Excellent conditions, perfect weather and extremely professional support by the team of Hintertux Glacier made it a remarkable start of principal shooting.
The story: Set in an post-apocalyptic world, a world war has ravaged the world which is now covered completely in snow. The only means for survival is to board the Transperceneige (snow train), but the train only has 1001 coaches. On the train, the poor wallow in misery in the lower decks, while the rich lives in decadence in the upper decks. Then their two worlds start to collide ...
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Chris Evans, Song Kang-Ho, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Ko Ah-Sung
Korean Director Bong Joon-Ho was selected as the president of the Caméra d’or jury during the 2011 (64th) Cannes Film Festival.
“Snowpiercer“ is produced by Snowpiercer LLC., South Korea in co-production with Stillking Films Prague / Los Angeles, supported by Cine Tirol Film Commission.
Picture: TJ Park (Producer), Sung Ho Nam (Production Manager), Dohoo Choi (Co-Producer), Alex Hong (DoP), Thomas Fuchs (Cine Tirol), Bong Joon-Ho (Director), Robert Bernacchi (Co-Producer)