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Kim Ji-woon Talks Budding Melodrama Script, Spills A Bean On 'Last Stand' With Liam Neeson

Photo of Christopher Bell By Christopher Bell | The Playlist February 26, 2011 at 5:44AM

EXCLUSIVE: Get your hankies ready, as Korean genre master Kim Ji-Woon is going for waterworks.
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EXCLUSIVE: Get your hankies ready, as Korean genre master Kim Ji-Woon is going for waterworks.

Yesterday we sat down with the filmmaker to talk about his upcoming revenge-flick "I Saw The Devil," which we reviewed a few weeks back and pretty much loved. Sporting complexities that those kind of films often lack, not to mention plenty of action and humor, 'Devil' should be appreciated by all kinds of audiences when it's released in NY and LA next Friday.

His new venture also marks the first time he's directed something not from his own page, and it seems to be the road he's going down in the near future: the Liam Neeson vehicle the "Last Stand" (more on that below) was written by newcomer Andrew Knauer, and a stalled remake of Claude Sautet's french crime-drama "Max and the Junkmen" will feature a script written by "Savage Grace" writer Henry A. Rodman. But don't worry, the man that has already spent a decade penning his own features, will continue to author his own personal works.

"There's a small corner of me that wants to do a melodrama, although I don't really have much more than a possible title and small basic plotline. The title roughly translates to something like 'I Had Loved Before' or 'When I Was In Love,' and it's about being in Winter and looking back at a romance that happened in Summer time," he explained. "What I'm trying to get at is missed connections in life, and I want to make it a bit of a poignant film of sorts, but there's not much more than that at the moment," he concluded, but we pursued asking about its tonal ideas -- Kim's the type of director that often pulls inspiration from a lot from other movies and isn't shy in talking about them.

"A film with Maggie Cheung, "Comrades: Almost A Love Story" by Peter Chan, one by David Lean starring Trevor Howard called "Summertime," that also has a similar mood… Elia Kazan's "Splendor in the Grass…" He laughs, "I never used to think of these movies, but now as I get older I think of melodramas." Normally we'd be wary, but the mention of Kazan and Lean plus his skill behind the camera should keep the project from being like the derivative junk that the genre field has spawned in the last few years.

As for "Last Stand," which apparently isn't even completely 100% with Neeson, a previous interview had the filmmaker liken it to "Die Hard," which raised some eyebrows considering its plot was very different (in fact, it's most like "Red Hill" than anything, for better or worse). "Another film I was thinking about is 'High Noon,' and that's about protecting something that needs it. When I say that it's also like "Die Hard," I mean that you have to protect something in such a drawn out process like in that movie, so this film would be in that way a very difficult and grand process of protecting something."

The action pic, which follows a sheriff and his staff in their attempt to stop a drug-cartel leader freshly busted from jail, was also mentioned to be "cheerful." Huh? "Making the film will definitely be working to death to make it a good film, interestingly enough it's about a group of people who are putting their lives on the line to fight this manufactured enemy, I guess, but overall I think it will be a much more upward-looking film than previous projects so far. If 'I Saw The Devil' was a film about having someone who was not able to protect what he needed to, this film would be about people protecting something that they fight to the death to do so. In that regard, it's a more upward looking film." Well, sure, by comparison. Either way, we're excited to see what he has to offer, and hopefully the head honchos in Hollywood give him the freedom he works best in.

This article is related to: Actors, Foreign Films, Foreign Directors, Liam Neeson, I Saw The Devil, Ji-Woon Kim


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