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[Movie 2012] Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King 광해:왕이된 남자 Masquerade

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August 29, 2017


The Faster, the Higher
The Time Taken by Surpassing 10 Million Viewers


by CHO Meanjune / KoBiz




The speed at which popular Korean films are passing the 10,000,000 viewer “blockbuster” mark has tripled. At least this is the case in a simple, parallel comparison of the time it took Silmido (2003), the first Korean film to accomplish the 10 million admissions feat, and A Taxi Driver, the 15th and most current film to do so. The amount of days needed for a film to become a blockbuster has gradually and steadily been decreasing over the past 15 years with a few, but notable deviations. The fastest to reach the over 10 million admissions mark is Roaring Currents (2014), becoming the highest grossing local film of all time with 17,615,039 moviegoers while CHOI Dong-hoon’s independent fighter action flick Assassination (2015) surpassed 10 million viewers on the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan on August 15th, 2015.


There is a close correlation between the time taken to exceed 10 million viewers and the number of screens. Masquerade (2012) and Miracle in Cell No.7 (2013), which had 810 and 787 screens respectively, took more than 30 days to surpass the milestone while The Thieves (2012), which was shown on 1,072 screens, managed the feat in only 22 days. The three Korean movies that surpassed the 10 million viewer mark within 20 days all started off with more than 1,500 screens. Among the 10 million viewer toppers, TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016) recorded the highest screen share with 1,788 screens.

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August 8, 2018


Yeo Jin-gu up to star in drama version of Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King


by girlfriday Dramabeans.com

Come on, let’s be real. You had me at Yeo Jin-gu (Reunited Worlds, Circle) playing a king. There’s a drama adaptation in the works at tvN for the hit movie Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King, also known internationally as Masquerade, and an offer is out to Yeo Jin-gu to headline in the dual role as King Gwanghae and the clown who will take his place on the throne.


The 2012 film by Choo Chang-min was a massive box office and critical success, and is still the ninth-highest grossing domestic film in Korea with over 12.3 million tickets sold. Lee Byung-heon starred in the eerie historical melodrama as a paranoid Gwanghae who knew that his opponents were trying to poison him, and tasks his trusted advisor to find a double who will act as his stand-in and protect him from assassination. They find a clown who is the spitting image of the king, and when an assassination attempt nearly takes the king’s life, the clown must assume the throne while the king recovers. The problem is that he might be a better king than the real king, and a man that the queen could actually love.




Obviously the drama adaptation plans to age down Gwanghae and the clown if Yeo Jin-gu is up to play the lead. He’s already played this specific king in the film Warriors of the Dawn, but that version of Gwanghae was idealistic and heroic, while this one will be shrewd and twisted. The clown is really the heart of this story, as the commoner with a natural warmth who breathes life into the previously cold and frightening palace. His character is described as a survivor who was abandoned as a child and became a traveling clown, and he’ll come to enjoy his time masquerading as a king.


The drama will feature a love triangle between the king, the clown, and the queen, and is about a love that transcends class and the law. I’m sure it’ll draw comparisons to Ruler–Master of the Mask, but hopefully the associations end at the prince and pauper premise, because that drama was disappointing in so many ways. This one has a successful film as its backbone, so it already has a leg up. Directing will be PD Kim Hee-won of Warm and Cozy, Dazzling Temptation, and Money Flower.


Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King is being planned for a January 2019 broadcast on tvN.


Via IS Plus, Xports News



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November 3, 2018


Big Movies Saturate Korean Cinemas Over Holiday, Damaging the Box Office


By SONIA KIL  Variety.com

The outlook for South Korea’s film box office business is decidedly guarded. Over Chuseok holiday period, overall sales increased but business ended up being a zero-sum game.

According to the Korean Film Council’s report, box office managed to sell almost 32% more tickets in September, compared to the same month a year ago. That’s partly because of the holiday, which fell in October in 2017.


Kofic’s box office tracking service Kobis showed that the number of admissions in local theaters was up about 4 million to 16.81 million in September, with revenues up by 42% to $127 million. The number of admissions for homegrown titles grew by 5.78 million to 11.76 million, with revenues increased by 113.6% to $88.23 million.


Big homegrown films release during the holiday week in all likelihood contributed to the hike. Over the past few years, the Chuseok holiday season has grown to one of the peak seasons for the South Korean box office, especially for domestic fare. In 2012, the Lee Byung-hun-starring costume drama “Masquerade” led the Chuseok box office and crossed the 10 million admissions mark. Afterward, tentpole films such as “The Face Reader” (2013), “The Throne” (2015), “The Age of Shadows” (2016) and “The Outlaws” (2017) were released during the holiday period and became hits. The only Chuseok release that did not manage to sell 5 million tickets was “Tazza — The Hidden Card” in 2015.


Entertainment, Lotte Cultureworks, Megabox and Next Entertainment World released mega-budget titles involving high-profile casts during the period, including “Monstrum,” “The Negotiation”, “Fengshui” and “The Great Battle.” Apart from “Monstrum,” which opened in theaters a week ahead of the Chuseok season, “Negotiation,” “Fengshui” and “Great Battle” all opened on the same day (Sept. 19).


Such a release pattern is seen as one of the major reasons for the zero-sum game. The four films cost almost twice the average budget for local productions. Big budget means a higher break-even point. Among the four titles, however, only “Great Battle” managed to make profit at the box office.




“Monstrum” kicked off the race. The period monster actioner opened Sept. 12 and ended up grossing $5.34 million from 723,000 admissions. CJ Entertainment’s “Negotiation” centers on a story of a negotiator from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s crisis negotiating team and an arms dealer who kidnaps two Koreans hostages. The film is known to have been made with a budget of $8.8 million. It finished its theatrical run with $14.88 million box office gross from 1.96 million admissions.


Another costume drama, Megabox’s “Fengshui,” cost some $10.5 million, but has only grossed $15.64 million from 2.08 million admissions and has been pushed out of the top 10 chart at the box office. Made with $19.25 million, Next Entertainment World’s “Great Battle” was the most expensive film of the season. According to Next Entertainment World, “Great Battle” crossed the breakeven point as of Oct. 22. It has grossed $40.49 million from 5.43 million admissions.


“Although ‘Great Battle’ has won the holiday battle, its triumph was not an overwhelming victory,” a local exhibitor told Variety on the condition of anonymity. “Too many big-budget films were released all together. In order to make profit at the box office, films like ‘Monstrum,’ ‘Negotiation’ and ‘Fengshui’ had to sell more than 3 million tickets, but the market cannot afford multiple big movies in the same season.”


The reason behind such excessive competition is simple: there are too many films with budgets over $9 million. The return on investment by Korean commercial films has been in the black since 2012. In 2016, the average rate of return was as high as 17.6%, but almost entirely owing to big-budget films — and 80% of those big films made a profit, with an average rate of return of 40.9%, whereas films made with budgets less than $4.38 million made negative earnings.


As a result, in 2017, the number of big-budget films grew from five to eight, and, in parallel, their average production budget increased from $11 million to $12.87 million. Their average rate of return was about 39.3%. This means that films such as “Monstrum,” “Negotiation,” “Fengshui” and “Great Battle” were not only supposed to reach the break-even point, but also make up for the loss, or low profit, from smaller films this year. However, since all four films were released on the same weekend they failed to do so.


“Another problem is that many tentpole films tend to stick to the formula for hit films from the past,” the source told Variety. “Since ‘King and the Clown’ and ‘Masquerade,’ costume dramas with a star cast and a light touch of comedy have been prevalent among the big holiday films, and audience might be getting tired of many similar films dominating cinema screens.”



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Running a tribute to MASQUERADE from MR.SUNSHINE (2018)


Hoping for happiness at the end of the road.. 



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Thanks to the highlight & English translation by mistymorning at LBH soompi ~


December 20, 2018


Exhibition: Creating faces in movie - extensive records of Korean Movie make-up by Cho Taehee


Source: Interview365


Movie make up artist exhibition, who's specialized for historical movies. He did make-up and hair for the movie Gwanghae and Fortress. Exhibition "Exhibition: Creating faces in movie - extensive records of Korean Movie make-up by make-up artist Cho Taehee" will be held in Dec 29th 2018 to Apr 23rd, 2019 in Ara Art Center in Insadong, Seoul.


This exhibition will show concept drawings, special wigs and mustaches, accessories and other high quality make up techniques, in the movies he worked on starting with the movie "Gwanghae"(2012), The Fatal Encounter(2014), The Throne(2015), The Fortress(2017), Park Yul(2017), The Great Battle(2018), total of 15 movies and main characters in those movies. 


From Cho's instagram, the exhibition poster.






Dragon hairpin used in the movie Gwanghae





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January 7, 2019


tvN begins 2019 with period drama 'The Crowned Clown' 



Actors Yeo Jin-goo, left, and Lee Se-young, pose during a press conference for tvN's new period drama "The Crowned Clown" at Imperial Palace Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of CJ ENM


By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times


Popular cable network, tvN, ran hit period dramas "Mr. Sunshine" and "100 Days My Prince" last year, so viewers were pleased when the network unveiled its drama lineups this year with its newest period drama "The Crowned Clown."


The much anticipated drama, starring Yeo Jin-goo and Lee Se-young, is an adaptation of the popular 2012 film "Masquerade" which attracted over 12 million moviegoers. 


Set in the middle of the Joseon era, when upheaval and power struggles surrounding the throne reached a high, the drama, premiered on Monday, tells the story of Yi Heon, played by Yeo, the king who brings a clown that looks identical to him and puts him on the throne to escape those who try to kill him. 


The 21-year-old Yeo plays the double role of the King Yi Heon and the clown Ha-seon, which was formerly performed by veteran actor Lee Byung-hun in the award-winning original movie who gave an impressive performance portraying the bizarre King Gwanghae and the humble clown. 


Yeo, despite accepting that viewers' comparison to original film is unavoidable, says his depiction of the king and the clown will be different from that of Lee by a large margin.


"Unlike the movie, I tried to widen the gap in acting the two men to their extremes. Also, drama version includes melodrama that was unseen in its original. It has romance between the two men and the queen So Woon," said the actor during a press conference at Imperial Palace, Seoul, Thursday. 


Actress Lee, on the role of the queen, says "Apart from settings, I would say a lot of things are different from the original. Lead characters' ages have become younger and I worked hard on creating a romantic chemistry with the two men." 


Upping the expectation of drama fans is that tvN's new drama is the latest from director Kim Hee-won, who was highly praised for her skills in her 2017 directorial debut drama "Money Flower." It is her first drama with tvN, after leaving MBC. 


Kim previously said he had some reservations for the period drama genre since it is required to "create something new out of blank" compared with modern-set dramas, but decided to challenge the genre because she really liked the characters' coming-of-age and dreaming for better world story plot. 


"Although some settings in the first two episodes may overlap with the original film, after incidents that incur the clown-made-to-king wanting to become a real king, the rest of the story will be very different," said the director. "If my previous work was more critical and cynical to the world, I would say my new drama is a warm story. It includes characters who want to change the world on their own will and in doing so, create new human relationships and that will be distinctive point of this drama." 


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Source: movieface_korea


Newspaper articles on the 'Screen Drawing Make-up' exhibition (The Korea Times, The Hankyoreh, MBN Star interview)






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January 28, 2019


Interview: CHO Tae-hee, Movie Makeup Artist
“One day, I would like to open a museum on movie makeup”

by SONG Soon-jin KOFIC




The film technicians who contribute to increase the production value of movies, whether it is in locations or production design, music or sound effects, constitute valuable assets to a national film industry. CHO Tae-hee, who has just opened an exhibition that presents his work in some of Korea’s foremost period drama films (Masquerade, 2012; The Fatal Encounter, 2014; The Throne, 2015; Anarchist from the Colony, 2017; The Fortress, 2017; Monstrum, 2018), stands as one of the most important of such assets. The exhibition “Facial Creation in Movies”, which bears the subtitle “Makeup Artist CHO Tae-hee – An Extensive archive of makeup in Korean film”, has been welcoming visitors in the Ara Art Center (www.araart.co.kr) in Jongno District, Seoul from December 29, 2018, and will continue to do so until April 23. The displays are filled with information that are sure to foster interest in the enigmatic world of movie makeup, but also in Korean period drama films to a larger extent.


It’s not often that the makeups employed in Korean films receive some limelight, but when it does, it’s usually because some prosthetics were used to make an actor look older or fatter. The more common makeups don’t receive as much attention. So, first of all, what do you think we should understand by film makeups?
A lot of people must have a certain understanding that this job consists in applying beauty makeup, but we are actually in charge of everything that is applied onto an actor’s face, which requires very elaborate skills. For instance, just for the wigs used in period dramas to hide the actors’ actual hair, this entails measuring the head’s shape for each actor, designing them with consideration of the weight and size of the hair accessories that will come on top, and then produce them. Regarding the head accessories, many people, even within the film industry, think that they pertain to the field of costume or prop designers, but everything that has to do with the actor’s head is the responsibility of makeup artists. We have to find the right color and tone for a binyeo (traditional ornamental hairpin) in accordance to the shape of the head, and also choose its length so that it fits the head. However, the gwanmo (traditional headwear of officials that would come in different styles according to status, rank and occasion) and the gat (traditional hat worn by noble men during the Joseon period) fall within the competence of the costume designers. So, what is funny to see on a film set is, let’s say we are shooting a scene with blood spraying, then the art department will be in charge of the stains on the floor, while the blood on the sword will be the responsibility of the prop department and the splatters on the face that of the makeup department. Technicians belonging to several departments will each modify and oversee only the blood on their own respective turf, never crossing the border.




It is quite unusual to see an exhibition about cinema outside of the Korean Film Museum operated by the Korean Film Archive. When did you start working on this exhibition?
I’ve had this idea for a while, but I started really gathering the items eight years ago. I rented a small warehouse USD 310 a month, and after gathering there all the things I created, the quantity gradually increased to the point I eventually expanded with another warehouse reaching 150, 165 square meters. This one too got full, and I thought now I might as well bring them to an exhibition hall. There are several movies for which I have invested a lot of my own money to producing these accessories. The props used in makeup, like the tiny head accessories, can be found ready-made or sponsored, but I’ve made most of them myself. Above all, because I always had in mind my exhibition project, I thought this would be my way of showing appreciation to the visitors who would pay to see it. But there is another reason I decided early on to avoid as much as possible receiving them sponsored. Since such props are made to circulate around several movies, from the point of view of the visitors, they would have found the same props here and there. I think such thing would have been deceitful towards the visitors. Basically, I make so that there is almost no redundant accessory appearing in every scene.


The exhibition is centered on Masquerade, The Fatal Encounter, The Throne, The Fortress and The Great Battle (2018). Are we to assume that these are your major titles?
They are all titles I’m attached to. After Masquerade, many people in the industry started looking for me. For that reason, this film is very important to me. The Fatal Encounter is one of the opportunities I was offered thanks to Masquerade was. It was the film with which HYUN Bin made his comeback after he was discharged from military service, so the stakes were high for both of us. I have a lot of memories of that period and the deep affection we shared. I still have regular contact with some actors, like LEE Byung-hun, HYUN Bin, SONG Kang-ho, ZO In-sung, PARK Hae-il, since they all made their first period drama with me. In that regard, too, all these films mean a lot to me.





Looking at the exhibition, I was impressed by all the enthusiastic help you received from people who have been working with you, and not only actors but also composers (Mowg, BANG Jun-seok) and still photographers (YANG Hae-seong, NO Ju-han). What were the difficulties in holding this exhibition, and what kind of help did you get?
In this exhibition, photographs are very important. Whatever efforts you might have made in creating these props, there is no way to know how they were used in the movie if you don’t show it. That’s why it was important to solve the question of the portrait rights for the still images, and this alone took me one year. The distribution company, the production company and the management agency each hold a third of the rights. Almost all these companies gave me the authorization free of charge, despite the fact this was for a paid exhibition. As they are people I’ve been meeting on the set for the last ten years or so, it seems they didn’t see this exhibition with skepticism. Someone told me it was about time one such exhibition got held in Korea and encouraged me. I thought again a lot about what it means to be a film professional. I take great pride in making films. I’ve never thought even once of trying another path. No lassitude. I think I was lucky.


Period dramas take an important place in your filmography. What interests you the most in period dramas?
The extent to which the actors reinvent themselves in these movies is impressive. They take completely new directions through period dramas. I find this enjoyable. I feel great joy in seeing the things I visualized in my head and sketched come into existence as a character. I regularly choose to work in period dramas as it gives me much room to transform the actors. My first experience in film was a two-weeks assignment on IM Kwon-taek’s Chunhyang (2000). Filming in Changgyeong Palace for two weeks is something I will never forget.


I guess you must have a certain direction you want to pursue in your work?
If you come on the set, you can see how pretty the actors can be even without makeup. Don’t you find it strange when in a close-up on the face of an actress crying you can see some mascara on her eyelashes? That’s why, when I apply makeup, I don’t use mascara and go easy with the foundation. I had this discussion with HAN Hyo-joo while on the set for Masquerade. I suggested that she do it without any makeup. HAN Hyo-joo agreed, she said, “Alright, I can do it”, and so her natural face showed up in the movie. Preserving the traditional aesthetic and the concept of the movie is my motto.




Last year, you participated in a lot of blockbusters like The Great Battle and Rampant (2018). Can we expect the same this year?
Over the last year alone I’ve worked on seven films. I was sleeping so little I had to hire a part time worker to drive me around. It seems like this year will be no different. There is the period drama Clowns (working title) that will open in May, Gibang Bachelor (working title) with LEE Jun-ho from boy band 2PM and JEONG So-min, Long Live the King from THE OUTLAWS (2017) director KANG Yun-sung, and I also took part in PERFECT MEN with SUL Kyung-gu and CHO Jin-woong. And I’m currently studying the scenario for Paper Flower (literal translation) which will star AHN Sung-ki.


Last question: having seen your exhibition, it seems like it could be pretty successful abroad. Do you have any plan to export it?
I had the intention of opening the first exhibit in Japan, but since the portrait rights are a much complicate affair over there, I’m thinking of making it a success in Korea before bringing it to Japan and China. Ultimately, the goal is to establish a museum, create a proper structure that would include wigs, jewelries... I wonder whether I can even achieve this in my lifetime.

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More Masquerade pics at the exhibition


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