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[movie 2008] The Chaser 추격자

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Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jeong-woo, Seo Yeong-hee

The Chaser 추격자




OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.thechaser.co.kr/

PRODUCTION: Bidangil Pictures

DIRECTOR: NA Hong-jin 나홍진

SCREENPLAY: Na Hong-jin 나홍진

MAIN CAST: Kim Yoon-seok 김윤석, Ha Jeong-woo 하정우, Seo Yeong-hee 서영희

RELEASE DATE: February 14, 2008

RATE: Over 18

GENRE: Crime, Thrillers, Action


Ex-cop pimp Jung-ho is irritated because his girls keep disappearing without clearing their debts. One night, he gets a call from a customer and sends Mi-jin. Jung-ho realizes the phone number of the customer matches that of the calls the missing girls got last. As something smells fishy, he searches for her. During his search, Jung-ho dents a car in the alley. When Jung-ho spots blood splattered on the driver’s shirt, he senses the man, Young-min, is the suspect. After an intense chase, Jung-ho catches Young-min. But because of Jung-ho’s pretense as a cop, they are both taken to the police station. At the station, the man bluntly confesses he has killed the missing women, and the last girl, Mi-jin, may still be alive. As the whole police force is obsessed with a random search for corpses, Jung-ho is the only one who believes Mi-jin is still alive. With only 12 hours left to detain the serial killer without a warrant, Jung-ho’s hunt begins, searching for Mi-jin entrapped in a place nobody knows.


Description: KOFIC

Images: Chosun, Starnews, Cine21

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Press conference on January 14, 2008

(Left to Right) Director Na Hong-jin, Kim Yoon-seok, Seo Yeong-hee, Ha Jeong-woo






Source: Cine21, Starnews

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Source: Korea Times 1-31-2008 16:59

`Chaser’ Offers Heart-Thumping Thrills

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter


A scene from “The Chaser”

Not another serial killer story ― and for St. Valentine's Day? You've got to be kidding. But "The Chaser,'' coming to theaters Feb. 14, is no joke. It's a film noir with a serious message, but is entertaining despite being ridden with social criticism from beginning to end.

While giving the much-exploited genre a novel edge, it's a classic edge-of-the-seat experience with pulsating action, cynical comic relief and elusively gripping characters. Two hours fly by in no time.

"The Chaser'' marks director Na Hong-jin's feature film debut. He made a name for himself in the international scene for shorts like "A Perfect Red Snapper Dish,'' and presents an original story that was three years in the making.

Here, the cat-and-mouse game is not between the police and criminal: In American parlance, a less-than-average Joe tracks down a serial murderer, while the corrupt police and public prosecutors prove to be rather useless.

Kim Yun-seok, the award-winning supporting actor from "Tazza: The High Rollers'' and the familiar face from "The Happy Life,'' nails down his first lead role. Jung-ho is an antihero who gives a bad first impression. He's a former cop who got fired for bribery, and now runs a so-called door-to-door masseuse service, which is really a sordid call girl business.

Jung-ho is in a sour mood as one call girl vanishes after another. When Mi-jin (Seo Yeong-hi) disappears he notices that they've gone missing after getting a call from the same client, or cell phone number.

He suspects human trafficking and sets out to catch the culprit, grumbling how much money he had paid for the girls. "4885 ― that's you, right? If I catch you, you're dead,'' he says. Jung-ho does track him down, but it's far from heroic. He accidentally crashes into the guy while driving recklessly.

"I didn't traffic them… I killed them. But that woman (Mi-jin) is probably alive,'' killer Ji Myeong-min (Ha Jung-woo) "casually'' mentions to the police. What's more, he can't seem to remember the exact number of his victims ― was it 10 or 12?

The police have hit the jackpot, as Myeong-min claims to be responsible for a bunch of unsolved serial murders. They try to put a case together in a desperate attempt to save face after a notorious incident that had literally dung-slapped the Seoul mayor.

While the cops are busy poking around in all the wrong places to retrieve evidence, Jung-ho, convinced that Mi-jin is still alive, embarks on his own investigation. It's because she is a valuable asset for business, not a sense of social responsibility.

But corrupt politics among the police and prosecutors, media play and other mishaps set the killer free. A breathtaking chase ensues.

Ha Jung-woo ("Never Forever''), whom renowned director Martin Scorsese had praised as having "as much potential as Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon,'' brazenly displays an animalistic instinct for acting. He is both passively aggressive and "aggressively passive'' as the enigmatic murderer.

Is he sexually frustrated? A failed artist? A psychopath? The film does not attempt to deconstruct the mind of the murderer nor does it provide flashbacks of traumatized childhood or such. It simply lays out the senselessly brutal act as it is. A hammer, chisel and a full swing.

The average viewer, despite having been conditioned to movie conventions that offer a solid who, what, when, where and why, have no time to demand reason. Apart from being overwhelmed by the harrowing bloodshed, one is swiftly led from one heart-pounding scene to another.

The script, while a bit rough around the edges, is smart and stylish as it paints a grimacing portrait of contemporary society with all its muck and grit.

We see ugly modern man indulge in instant gratification and easily satisfy sexual urges with one phone call. His anonymity is guaranteed, of course, for names and personal identity have degenerated into numerical digits. Corrupt authorities that are blinded by personal gain overlook his sins.

"Yes, it is,'' Na said bluntly when asked if the movie was a social criticism. "Fury prompted me to write the story,'' he told reporters following the film's press preview in Seoul. "Intentions for murder cannot and should not be justified,'' he said.

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Source: KOFIC 2008-02-06

HA Jung-woo explores his dark side

Internationally recognised actor HA Jung-woo, explores the dark side of humanity through his take on a serial murderer in Chaser. He is tracked down by a shady former detective played by KIM Yun-seok. First-time feature film director NA Hong-jin was in charge.

The dark thriller examines society and politics through a story that sees a confessed killer released unpunished while touching upon issues as prostitution and corruption.

HA commanded attention with his role in The Unforgiven, a film praised at international film festivals. He increased his international appeal opposite of Vera Farmiga in KIM Gina’s Never Forever.

KIM received praise for his supporting roles in numerous films which earned him this leading role. NA previously directed the short film A Perfect Red Snapper Dish. Chaser opens on February 14.

Yi Ch’ang-ho (KOFIC)


Original Korean Article: Chosun 2008-02-14

English Translation Credit: HanCinema

"The War of Flower" Ah Kui 'Kim Yoon-seok' becoming the national actor through his latest film, "Chaser"


The actor Kim Yoon-seok earned a great public favour for his excellent performance in his latest film "The Chaser" (Directed by Na Hong-jin, produced by Bi-dan-gil Co.).

Kim Yoon-seok left a strong impression on the audience on his previous role as evil and cruel Ah Kui in "The War Of Flower". Once again, his passionate and realistic performance in the "The Chaser" grasped the audience.

He worked a long time as a theatre performer and now he is pouring out his experience and talent into the film screen. Here upon, the audiences commented "His performance is powerful", "His not just a realistic actor, he brings the reality into the film".

Meanwhile, "The Chaser (starring Kim Yoon-seok and Ha Jeong-woo) was released on 14th February.

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Source: Variety 2008-02-19

Korea's Fine Cut counts EFM sales

Sales unit completes string of deals


New Korean sales company Fine Cut completed a string of deals at Berlin on its Korean and international titles.

"The Chaser," an actioner by first-time helmer Na Hong-jin, was licensed to Haut et Court (France), Cineart (Belgium), Seven Group (Greece) and Golden Scene (Hong Kong). Pic was released on 430 screens in Korea last week and notched up 670,000 admissions for a gross approaching $6 million in its opening weekend.

Dark fantasy "Hansel and Gretel" was licensed to Innoform Media (Singapore), A Film (Benelux) and Seven (Greece). A Film also bought two more films in post-production: Siddiq Barmak's "Opium War" and Kim Tae-gyun's "Crossing."

Fine Cut was launched this month by Suh Young-joo, who quit as head of Cineclick Asia in December but continues to consult for her former stable (Daily Variety, Feb. 7.)

On behalf of Cineclick, Suh sold "Make It Big" and "La Belle" to Taiwan's Waysen. Hong Kong helmer Pang Ho-cheung's "Exodus" was sold to Aztek Intl. (Australia), and "Fighter in the Wind" went to Barnhill Group for former-Soviet Union territories.

Megahit "The Host" was sold to MHAO Production and Management for the pic's last remaining territory, Italy. Poland's May Fly bought Kim Ki-duk library titles "Crocodile" and "Samaritan Girl."

India proved a hot territory. UTV bought 18 library titles, including "Old Boy," "3-Iron," "A Tale of Two Sisters," "Blue Swallow," "The Bow" and "Lucky Miles." Alliance M&E bought nine arthouse titles including "Tuya's Marriage," "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring" and "Oasis."

Posted: Tue., Feb. 19, 2008, 3:35pm PT


Source: KBS World 2008-02-21

'The Chaser' on Demand at Berlin Film Festival


'The Chaser,' a Korean film about a serial murderer, was sold to France, Benelux, Greece and Hong Kong at the 58th Berlin Film Festival's film market.

After two unofficial trade shows for buyers at the Berlin Film Festival market, the film was sold to French and Hong Kong film distribution companies.

The film was also sold to 'Seven Group,' the largest media company in Greece as well as 'Cine Art' in Belelux.

Show Box said production company Circle of Confusion, which collaborates with the Wachowski brothers, also showed great interest in film director Na Hong-jin.

'The Chaser' is the story of a serial killer and a former detective who chases him. The film opened in Korea on February 13th and made it to the second spot at the box office in its first week.

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Source: Korea Herald 2008.02.21

'Chaser' gives reprieve to K-cinema

"The Chaser (Chugyeokja)," a Korean thriller directed by Na Hong-jin, has sold about 800,000 tickets in just five days since its Feb. 14 release, taking it to No. 2 in domestic box office charts behind Hollywood flick "Jumper."

But the chase seems to be already over. According to ticket website Max Movie, "The Chaser" topped ticket reservations as of Tuesday, taking a 41.3 percent share. That translates into an easy victory for the Korean film in the coming weekend.

The show-stealing box-office performance of "The Chaser" came as a surprise. After all, it is a small-budget film, and its main actors are low-profile compared with those in other Korean movies in recent months. And the lengthy running time of 123 minutes is not a factor associated with stronger ticket sales here.

Defying all its negative aspects, "The Chaser" is now emerging as a major hit film in the first quarter. Critics hail the movie's breathtaking pace; viewers have expressed their pleasant surprise about the film's sheer excitement.

Following the filmmaking traditions of well-made thrillers, "The Chaser" exhibits a tight plot, impressive acting and relentless speed.

Director Na has made two fine choices in setting up his film. First, he ignores the motivation of the murderer. Social conditions are not treated as an important driver; instead, a critical view is presented against the authorities, who have lost their role and function as protectors of the public. Second, the overall anger about the incident is expressed through Jung-ho, an ex-detective played by Kim Yun-seok ("Tazza: The High Rollers") in a very personal fashion.

Jung-ho is now a pimp, but he confronts a strange situation in which many of his girls are simply disappearing. He finds a clue about the case when he goes after another missing girl named Mi-jin and even comes across the murderer, Young-min (Ha Jeong-woo). But the police do not care about Jung-ho's concern about Mi-jin, and everything begins to break down at a fast pace, sparking a wave of overwhelming emotions.

Meanwhile, the movie's production house, Bidangil, said it signed preliminary sales contract at the Berlin International Film Festival which ended on Feb. 17. After two screenings for buyers at the film market, "The Chaser" secured contracts for sales in France, Greece, and Hong Kong, as well as Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Bidangil said.

"French distributors competed to get the right for 'The Chaser' and American distributors also showed strong interest in the movie itself and in remake rights," said Seo Young-ju, president of Fine Cut who is in charge of the movie's overseas sales.

The advance of "The Chaser" offers a reprieve to Korean cinema which has struggled to defend its position against the onslaught of Hollywood blockbusters. In recent months, many Korean films starring high-profile actors tanked at the box office, raising concerns about the overall competitiveness of the domestic film industry.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com)

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Source: JoongAng Daily

Gritty psycho-thriller pursues audiences

February 27, 2008


Kim Yun-seok stars in “The Chaser.” By Kim Tae-seong

Na Hong-jin’s thriller “The Chaser” is now running at full throttle after a quiet start at the box office. Since its release on Feb. 14, 1.7 million viewers as of last Sunday have bought tickets, edging the Hollywood sci-fi thriller “Jumper” from top spot.

The film was also sold to France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Greece and Hong Kong at the Berlin Film Festival this year.

The film’s success owes much to Kim Yun-seok, the award-winning supporting actor from “The War of Flower” (2006), “Like a Virgin” (2006), and “The Happy Life” (2006).

Kim, 40, plays former detective Jung-ho, who gets fired for taking bribes. He’s now a pimp in charge of a bodobang, an illicit “happy ending” massage parlor. When the prostitutes under Jung-ho’s management start to vanish, the former cop starts his own investigation. He discovers that Young-min (Ha Jung-woo), posing as a customer, has seduced and killed them.

The JoongAng Ilbo interviewed Kim Yun-seok in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul earlier this month, before the movie attracted so much attention.

The actor said Jung-ho was his first lead role. “I’ve been physically exhausted for the past five months but at the same time I am very happy with the way things are going,” Kim said. The shoot was tiring because filming went two months over schedule ― bad weather caused huge delays ― and the scenes were physically demanding. “Most scenes were shot in the dark and in heavy rain,” Kim said.

The role also required Kim to be in peak physical condition. As suggested in the film’s title, there’s a lot of running around in the film. The script demanded that Jung-ho chase Young-min half-way around Seoul after Young-min demands a ransom for one of the abducted hookers (Seo Young-hee). The chase sequences mainly take place in Mangwon-dong, but Kim’s role demanded that he spend a good portion of the film sprinting through Oksu-dong, Pyeongchang-dong and Bugahyeon-dong. Then there were the fight scenes. “The bloody punch-up between Jung-ho and Young-min at the end of the movie took 40 hours to shoot,” Kim said.

Jung-ho is possibly the most complex role Kim has taken on. “He [Jung-ho] knows how to play around with law, order, ethics and morals,” Kim said. The interesting aspect of the lead character lies in his ambiguous morality. Is he a good or a bad guy? Or is he everyman?

“Jung-ho is a selfish character,” Kim said, noting how the character leans more toward the dark side. “But every man contains evil deep in his heart,” Kim said. “In that respect, Jung-ho is as ordinary as other men.”

Kim praised Na’s commitment to getting the film made, explaining that Na devoted his early 30s to the feature, from initial concept to final production. “I truly felt Na wrote from the heart,” Kim said.

The Chaser follows in the footsteps of Bong Joon-ho’s mystery thriller, “Memories of Murder” (2003). Both are well-made murder-mysteries, but the connection runs deeper. Song Kang-ho, 41, who plays Detective Park, the main character in Memories of Murder, is one of Kim’s best friends. The two met when Kim came to Seoul from Busan to start an acting career. They both worked at Theater Yeonwoo, an underground experimental theater company set up in 1977 that staged some political dramas in defiance of the military government at the time. The two spent time together in Daehangno in central Seoul, sticking up posters advertising their plays and living on instant noodles. These were tough times and Kim quit acting and went home. Song eventually persuaded him to come back, and cinemagoers are grateful.

At the end of the interview, Kim quoted the American actor and director Sean Penn, who once said there are no rules in acting. “You just have to accept the world as it is, the smooth and the rough,” Kim said.

“As an actor you have to maintain complete control. Everything falls to pieces if an actor’s mind is distracted.”

By Ki Sun-min JoongAng Ilbo/ Lee Eun-joo Contributing Writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]


Source: Variety Mon., Feb. 25, 2008, 10:59pm PT

'Chaser' brings in $4.7 million

Pic up 23% at S. Korean box office


SEOUL -- Serial murder pic "The Chaser" is kicking up a storm at the South Korean box office, rising 23% in its second weekend to take the No.1 slot with $4.7 million.

The modestly budgeted debut film by Na Hong-jin has won broad support from local critics, and local auds have started to follow suit. Pic has now grossed $11.8 million in ten days and has widened its release to 505 screens, almost a quarter of the nation's total.

The unexpected success of the film, which features no big-name stars, has helped to re-inject some life into the Korean film industry after a moribund 2007. Another unexpected hit from January, handball drama "Forever the Moment", recently passed the $27 million mark. The two films have helped Korean cinema to maintain a 60% market share in the year to date.

Meanwhile "Jumper" is also enjoying a strong run, having grossed $8.8 million in ten days. The Hayden Christensen starrer dropped 43% in its second weekend.

Japanese film "L: Change the World", a spin-off of the popular "Death Note" series, took $1.0 million in its first week. Although a step down from the other "Death Note" films, this still placed it significantly ahead of Oscar contenders "Atonement" ($600,000), "Juno" ($210,000), and "No Country for Old Men" ($89,000) which also opened this weekend.

Mexican-Spanish horror film "The Orphanage" also took $178,000 in its second weekend to bring its total to $1.1 million.

"Once Upon a Time in Corea" remained the strongest among a string of local films released ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. Pic has now grossed $10.4 million.

Posted: Mon., Feb. 25, 2008, 10:59pm PT

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Box Office [2008.02.15 ~ 2008.02.17]

1. Jumper (U.S.)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 559,489 / 709,362

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 3,717,987,500 / 4,684,327,500

Screen : 424

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Doug Liman

Main Cast : Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Diane Lane, Max Thieriot

2. The Chaser (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 527,882 / 647,653

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 3,584,507,500 / 4,334,552,500

Screen : 497

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Na Hong-jin

Main Cast : Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jeong-woo, Seo Yeong-hee

3. The Spiderwick Chronicles (U.S.)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 167,466 / 194,086

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 1,069,895,000 / 1,245,207,500

Screen : 205

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Mark Waters

Main Cast : Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn

Source: KOBIS (Figures represent 97% of nationwide box office)


Box Office [2008.02.22 ~ 2008.02.24]

1. The Chaser (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 646,267 / 1,724,466

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 4,408,338,000 / 11,559,714,000

Screen : 505

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Na Hong-jin

Main Cast : Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jeong-woo, Seo Yeong-hee

2. Jumper (U.S.)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 321,193 / 1,292,960

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 2,122,416,000 / 8,473,035,000

Screen : 401

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Doug Liman

Main Cast : Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Diane Lane, Max Thieriot

3. L: Change The World (Japan)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 154,081 / 203,359

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 958,079,500 / 1,229,719,500

Screen : 301

Opening Date : 2008/02/21

Director : Hideo Nakata

Main Cast : Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Mayuko Fukuda, Bokuzo Masana, Renji Ishibashi, Sei Hiraizumi, Shingo Tsurumi, Yuta Kanai, Erika Toda, Shunji Fujimura

Source: KOFIC


Box Office [2008.02.28 ~ 2008.03.02]

1. The Chaser (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 627,749 / 2,895,001

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 4,285,818,000 / 19,405,329,000

Screen : 490

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Na Hong-jin

Main Cast : Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jeong-woo, Seo Yeong-hee

2. Vantage Point (U.S.)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 353,834 / 458,091

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 2,335,261,500 / 2,978,223,500

Screen : 353

Opening Date : 2008/02/28

Director : Pete Travis

Main Cast : Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, Zoe Saldana

3. BA:BO (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 333,292 / 434,016

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 2,166,467,000 / 2,787,992,500

Screen : 342

Opening Date : 2008/02/28

Director : Kim Jeong-kwon

Main Cast : Cha Tae-hyeon, Ha Ji-won, Park Hee-soon, Park Ha-seon

Source: KOFIC

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Source: Variety 2008-03-06

Warner Bros. to remake 'The Chaser'

Studio picks up rights to South Korean hit



South Korean hit pic 'The Chaser' is being remade by Warners.

Warner Bros. has picked up remake rights to South Korea’s surprise hit “The Chaser,” and already the project is taking on the aura of the studio’s last major Asian remake hit, “The Departed.”

Early discussions are underway for William Monahan to write the script, with Leonardo DiCaprio circling to star, but no deals have yet been set.

Monahan won an Oscar for “The Departed.”

Dan Lin, Doug Davison, Roy Lee and Monahan will be producers, with DiCaprio possibly ending up in some producing capacity as well.

Studio bought the project from Na Hong-jin, in a deal that was announced in Seoul on Thursday. WB paid $1 million plus various incentives based on the remake’s box office performance. Kim Su-jin, head of production house Bidangil Pictures, will also receive a co-production credit.

The mid-budget thriller has earned more than $20 million in 20 days of release.

Pic is based loosely on the exploits of a real-life serial killer, played by Ha Jung-woo (“Never Forever”).

Suh Youngjoo’s new sales company Fine Cut unveiled the film at a private screening at Berlin’s European Film Market in February and subsequently arranged a screening in Los Angeles.

Sales deals have already been clinched for France, Hong Kong, Greece and Benelux.

Monahan and DiCaprio just worked together on “Body of Lies,” the Ridley Scott-directed WB thriller that also starred Russell Crowe.

Posted: Thurs., Mar. 6, 2008, 6:33pm PT


Source: THE Hollywood REPORTER 2008-03-06

Warner Bros. chases rights for thriller

March 06, 2008

By Mark Russell

SEOUL -- Warner Bros. has bought remake rights to the South Korean thriller "The Chaser" for $1 million, international sales house Fine Cut said Thursday.

Directed by Na Hong-jin, the relatively small-budget film was a surprise hit when it was released Feb. 14. In three weeks, it has grossed about $25 million in Korea and is still No. 1 at the boxoffice.

Fine Cut said that a "top-class Hollywood writer is showing strong interest," but that Warners is not ready to announce details of the project.

"The Chaser" received much attention at the European Film Market in February and already has been presold to France, Benelux, Greece and Hong Kong.

Fine Cut was launched earlier this year by Suh Young-joo, who previously founded successful international sales house Cineclick Asia.

Fine Cut focuses on international sales, co-productions and co-financing.


Source: Arirang 2008-03-07

Rights to Korean Film 'The Chaser' Sold for $1 Million

After attracting over three-million movie-goers within a month of its home release last month, Korean thriller "The Chaser" has received attention from Hollywood. Filmmakers signed a deal this week to sell remake rights to major US studio Warner Brothers for one-million dollars.

Based on a real-life serial killer, the movie was well-received at the Berlin Film Festival last month and plans are in the works to show the film in Europe and Hong Kong.

Under the deal, the Korean production company's name will be credited alongside the US producers.

MAR 07, 2008

Reporter : hshin@arirang.co.kr

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Source: Variety 2008-03-05

On the rise in Asia

Asian Film Finance/Filmart


From directors to actors to multihypenates, Asia is producing some new stars.


Na Hong-jin

Yuya Ishii

Film director

Breakthrough: Ishii scooped the grand prize and music award for his first feature, "Bare-assed Japan," at the 2007 edition of the Pia Film Festival -- Japan's most prolific incubator of indie directing talent for three decades. This 24-year-old helmer has since released three features -- "Rebel, Jiro's Love" (2006), "Girl Sparks" (2007) and "Of Monster Mode" (also 2007). All four pics were screened at the 2008 Rotterdam film fest and are skedded for release in Japan this year. To top off his miracle year, Ishii will receive the first Edward Yang New Talent Award at the 2008 Hong Kong Intl. Film Festival.

What's next: Not yet decided.

-- Mark Schilling

Na Hong-jin

Film director

Breakthrough: At first, expectations on Na's debut film "The Chaser" -- a low-budget thriller with no stars, loosely based on local news reports -- were rock bottom. However, once distributor Showbox saw the completed print, it pushed up its release to early February, and the critical and popular response has been explosive. Despite its smaller scale, many compare it to Bong Joon-ho's "Memories of Murder" (2003), and it may well beat the latter's box office of $25 million.

What's next: Not yet decided.

-- Darcy Paquet

Jaycee Chan

(aka Jaycee Fong, Chan Cho-ming)

Actor, musician

Breakthrough: As the son of Jackie Chan, he has a foot in the door anywhere within Asia. But Jaycee achieved his own breakthrough with a trio of well-respected movies last fall. He played a wimpy but ultimately heroic cop in "Invisible Target," the straight-arrow son in Chinese fantasy "The Sun Also Rises" and the solo star of "The Drummer." Born and raised in L.A., the door to Hollywood is also open.

What's next: Undecided

-- Patrick Frater

Tian Yuan

Actor, musician, novelist

Breakthrough: Since winning best new artist kudos at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005 for her debut in "Butterfly," Tian has avoided the spotlight and quietly developed a solid career by working with China's top helmers. She starred in Wang Chao's Un Certain Regard award-winning "Luxury Car" and Tang Danian's "Young and Clueless" as well as appeared in shorts by Jia Zhangke and Yan Yan Mak while completing college and having her second novel published in 2007.

What's next: The 22-year-old can be seen in Wang Xiaoshuai's "In Love We Trust," and has recently completed filming for Barbara Wong's upcoming feature, the sequel to "Truth or Dare: 6th Floor Rear Flat." Tian is now prepping her second album, skedded to be released later this year.

-- Vicci Ho

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Source: Korea Herald 2008-03-06

Deluge of foreign films drowning Korean releases

One of the intriguing (or disturbing) signs about where Korean movies are headed is the near absence of press previews this month. For instance, except for a screening of Yoo Ji-tae's short titled "Out of My Intention" on Tuesday, there's nothing going on this week. No screenings yet either next week.

The declining number of domestic film releases is in sharp contrast to the surging demand for foreign films. According to the Korean Film Council, the Korean cinema imported 404 films from abroad in 2007, up from 289 in 2006 and 253 in 2005.

The rating agency handled as many as 72 foreign films in the first two months of this year, up 36.8 percent from the same period last year. The momentum comes not only from the major Hollywood distributors but also from small film importers, encouraged chiefly by the unexpectedly respectable box-office success of "Once" and "Lust, Caution."

The foreign movie boom is setting off alarms in the domestic film industry, which is already finding itself in a rut due to rising production costs and a dearth of box-office hits.

In fact, the March-April period is traditionally a slow movie season as the key audience -- college students -- is largely busy taking care of back-to-school affairs.

Exacerbating the problem is the reluctance of local production houses who want to push back the release date of their forthcoming movies in order to avoid the slow season. For the March-April period, only seven local movies are scheduled to hit theaters, significantly down from 16 in the same period last year.

For March, only three Korean titles are expected to fill up the slots. "My New Partner," a sort of buddy-and-detective movie featuring Ahn Sung-ki and Jo Han-sun is being released today nationwide, while "Humming," a romantic flick staring Lee Chan-hee and Han Ji-hye, is slated for March 13 and "Fate," a tale of betrayal where Song Seung-heon and Kwon Sang-woo compete for the spotlight, is set to be released on March 20.

Meanwhile, the producers of a host of Korean movies, including "Girl Scout" and "Kill Me," have decided to wait until May or June.

The only relief at the box office now is the trailblazing performance of "The Chaser (Chugyeokja)," a Korean thriller directed by Na Hong-jin. Ticket sales have surpassed the 3 million mark.

Since its Feb. 14 release, the film has maintained its lead at the box office, even outsmarting other Hollywood flicks.

The box-office performance of "The Chaser" is regarded as a surprise because it is after all a small-budget film and its main actors are low profile compared with those in other Korean movies released in recent months. Even the lengthy running time of 123 minutes was deemed a negative factor. But despite all the bad press, the movie has solidified its position as a "must-see" for mainstream audiences.

However, the euphoria sparked by "The Chaser" is limited as prospects for Korean film releases are unlikely to brighten for a while. In recent years, about three to four Korean movies were released per week. But the figure steadily declined to two in mid-February, and is now standing at the much-feared one or zero.

Many of the foreign films imported in 2007 are waiting to secure theater slots. In March alone, about 30 foreign movies, big and small, are getting ready to be released. Oscar-winning films such as "There Will be Blood" as well as small-budget titles are expected to dominate theater schedules.

Last weekend, foreign films led by "Vantage Point" and "Jumper" clashed with "The Chaser" and "Babo," a Korean film based on a popular online comic book of the same name that was released on Feb. 28.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com)

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Source: THE Hollywood REPORTER

Monahan catches 'Chaser' redo

By Borys Kit

March 7, 2008

William Monahan is in discussions to adapt "The Chaser," a Korean thriller whose remake rights were just picked up by Warner Bros. for mid-six figures.

Leonardo DiCaprio is circling the lead role of an ex-cop who goes on the warpath trying to find a missing girl. The girl, who may or may not be alive, is being used by a serial killer to taunt the police.

Vertigo Entertainment's Roy Lee and Doug Davison, who specialize in bringing Asian fare to American audiences, will produce along with Dan Lin, the former Warner exec who in January segued to producing. Monahan also will produce.

"Chaser," from director Na Hong-jin, has been a hit in Korea, grossing more than $20 million, and was pre-sold to France, Benelux, Greece and Hong Kong at Berlin's European Film Market last month.

"Chaser" would reunite the team behind the Oscar-winning hit "The Departed." DiCaprio starred in that adaptation of the Hong Kong hit "Infernal Affairs," for which Monahan won a best adapted screenplay Oscar. Vertigo executive produced the movie, which was overseen at Warners by Lin.

Matt Reilly will oversee for Warners.

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man this movie was so fast paced, and ha jung woo and mr. popcorn from rebirth were amazing. their acting gave me creeps. i am glad they are getting good attentions.

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man this movie was so fast paced, and ha jung woo and mr. popcorn from rebirth were amazing. their acting gave me creeps. i am glad they are getting good attentions.

are you in korea? ... :lol: i'm glad this film is getting a postive response from viewers and critics. i kinda want to see it now. reading the reviews, i feel like this is gonna be like a grittier version of Memories of Murder.

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Credit: Rubie

March 6, 2008

Rejected with "It's not going to do well".. Found to be an entertainment success?

These days, the entertainment rule, "The movie that everyone says is going to fail actually succeeds" is well-known.

It is said that the movie "The Chaser" was rejected by many investors at the producing stage because of a new director, and the eerie topic of a serial killer. In reality, the movie is counting down until they reach an audience of 3 million.

However, this movie is breaking records in various entertainment categories and is moving toward an overall number one spot in the entertainment industry.

Director Na Hong-jin, who was in charge of the script and producing, apologized to the residents of Mang Won Dong, saying that the value of the land may decrease. But the scenery of Seoul, Mang Won Dong, is what enabled the movie to succeed in the entertainment industry.

The start for this year's best hit movie, Forever the Moment, was not smooth either.

It was because of the bias that movies about sports do not do well, or that movies with only females do not do well.

The final investment came in only after the preview, and after many complications, the movie attracted 4.1 million viewers.

In addition, movies with the top stars, "Venus and Mars" and "A Man Who Was Superman" only stopped at 400,000 and 560,000 viewers, respectively.

It has proved once again that the key to success in the movie industry is not top stars, advertising, or marketing, but a good piece of work.

Original article at news.empas.com

English translation by hancinema.net

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Dude. I absolutely LOVED this movie.. though it kind of put me in a state of paranoia for a few days after I saw it. I caught the 10:40 PM screening with a friend and by the time we got out of the theater it was around 1AM. I was fine because I live right across the street from the theater and in the building next to the police station, but my friend had to walk through a few alleyways to get home, haha. I think it was creepier cuz it's based on a real person, but yeah..

AWESOME movie. I had to look away during some parts because I don't handle blood too well >< But the story was awesome and the acting was AMAZING. Would definitely recommend it to.. pretty much anyone.

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Box Office [Friday 2008.03.07 ~ Sunday 2008.03.09]

1. The Chaser (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 339,895 / 3,413,194

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 2,339,756,000 / 22,908,165,500

Screen : 393

Opening Date : 2008/02/14

Director : Na Hong-jin

Main Cast : Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jeong-woo, Seo Yeong-hee

2. Vantage Point (U.S.)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 151,601 / 688,328

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 1,029,982,500 / 4,519,243,000

Screen : 247

Opening Date : 2008/02/28

Director : Pete Travis

Main Cast : Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, Zoe Saldana

3. BA:BO (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 148,581 / 656,359

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 988,118,500 / 4,250,451,500

Screen : 260

Opening Date : 2008/02/28

Director : Kim Jeong-kwon

Main Cast : Cha Tae-hyeon, Ha Ji-won, Park Hee-soon, Park Ha-seon

4. My New Partner (South Korea)

3-day Adm / Total Adm : 90,966 / 111,450

Gross / Total Gross (won) : 607,297,500 / 715,958,000

Screen : 232

Opening Date : 2008/03/06

Director : Kim Jong-hyeon

Main Cast : Ahn Seong-ki, Jo Han-seon, Jeong Seok-yong, Jo Jin-woong, Choi Il-hwa, Park Cheol-min

Source: KOFIC

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Kdramafanusa, thx for starting this thread, I started too many and somehow gave this one a miss !

related links - http://movie.daum.net/movieInfo?mkey=43874

and http://www.film2.co.kr/moviedb/default.asp?mkey=41696

photos (including press conference) - http://movie.daum.net/movieInfo?mkey=43874&mode=4

2 trailers & 7 special VODs - http://movie.daum.net/movieInfo?mkey=43874&mode=5

and more at http://www.film2.co.kr/moviedb/movie_webcast.asp?mkey=41696

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