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March 29, 2016

LEE Byung-hun and KONG Hyo-jin Begin SINGLE RIDER Shoot in Australia
Wonder Girls’ AN So-hui Joins Cast of Mystery-Thriller

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz


AN So-hui has joined superstars LEE Byung-hun and KONG Hyo-jin in Single Rider (working title), the second Korean production for Hollywood major Warner Bros. The film, which marks the directing debut of LEE Joo-young, a graduate of the Korea National University of Arts, began filming in Australia on March 21st.
LEE Byung-hun, who recently starred in the hit political thriller Inside Men and will soon be seen in Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven remake, features as the branch manager of an investment firm who disappears when he becomes embroiled in a scandal. Crush And Blush (2008) star KONG, who will next appear in the thriller Missing Child, plays his wife, an ex-violinist who lives in Australia with their son. AN, a former member of K-pop group Wonder Girls who will appear in the horror-action title Train via Busan this summer, features as a student who goes to Australia on a working holiday.
Single Rider is the second foray for Warner Bros. in Korea, following KIM Jee-woon’s still shooting Colonial Era action film Secret Agent, with SONG Kang-ho and GONG Yoo. Rival Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox has also been active in Korea, as they prepare to release their fourth locally-produced title in May, NA Hong-jin’s eagerly awaited Goksung.
Following the completion of Single Rider, which is being eyed for a late 2016 release, LEE Byung-hun is expected to start filming the upcoming crime-action film Master, alongside GANG Dong-won and KIM Woo-bin.

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April 4, 2016  user posted image

Gong Hyo Jin’s Chinese Fans Surprise Her With Birthday Wishes and Cake

Source: Soompi by an0ya 

Gong Hyo Jin’s Chinese Fans Surprise Her With Birthday Wishes and Cake

Actress Gong Hyo Jin thanks her Chinese fan club for sending her a birthday cake — all the way to Australia!

On April 4, she left a sweet message on her Weibo account, expressing her gratitude for her Baidu fans’ thoughtful gesture. “Baidu bar friends, thank you for sending your birthday wishes all the way to Australia. Today was unforgettable,” she writes. Today (April 4) is her birthday.

gong hyo jin

The smiling actress is seen posing in front of a large birthday poster from her fans, looking effortlessly beautiful in her casual attire. She also shared a picture of her custom-made birthday cake covered in rose buds and strawberries.

Meanwhile, Gong Hyo Jin is currently in Australia to film her upcoming movie “Single Riders.”

Happy Birthday, Gong Hyo Jin!

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April 11, 2016

When in Sydney, Lee Byunghun catches the train too
Sohee, Gong Hyojin and Lee Byunghun are in Sydney!

By SBS PopAsia HQ 

It's a humbling thought, but even if you are a Hollywood and a Hallyuwood star, sometimes the only way to get by is by public transport. Actor Lee Byunghun was snapped on a Sydney train a few days ago.

lee byunghun

He was also spotted filming!

lee byunghun

Lee is thought to be in town to film "Single Rider." Gong Hyojin and former Wonder Girls' member Sohee are also in the movie and were also spotted about in town from late March. 

wonder girls

The girls shopped up a storm a few days ago.

Meanwhile, Sohee's been spotted out filming. XD

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July 27, 2016

Warner Bros. to Expand Korean Film Production

Sonia Kil Variety.com

warner bros WP Warner Brothers

Korean-language movies “Bad Lieutenant” and Lee Byung-hun starring “A Single Rider” are next up on the local language slate of Warner Bros.

The Hollywood studio’s Korean production drive is poised to get off to a dramatic start with Kim Jee-woon’s “The Age of Shadows,” which has its commercial release in South Korea in September and will bow at the Toronto festival.

The studio is seeking to expand its local-language production initiatives in the country and appointed local executive Jay Choi as head of local production.

Choi’s hiring followed the appointment of Monique Esclavissat as Warner’s executive VP of international production and acquisitions, and Marc Gareton as exec VP of international production.

“We are making Korean films for the Korean market,” said Esclavissat at a presentation in Seoul on Wednesday. “It is really a long term plan.”

Warner is already involved in production in other territories including Germany and Japan. “The logic is the same (in Korea), a strong market for content, put operations in place, our job is to support Choi,” said Gareton. “We’ve been in Korea for 27 years releasing Hollywood movies. We have some knowledge.”

“We have two titles in preparation, and then will look to make between 2-4 per year after that. It is more about how appropriate they are, than how many we have to make,” said Choi. “Local box office in Korea is highly material.” said Gareton.

Budgets are expected to be capped at KRW10 billion (approximately US$9 million,) with those expenses required to be recouped from the local market. Esclavissat said that all other distribution mechanisms are possible in markets outside Korea, with the rights sales to third party distributors also conceivable.

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July 27, 2016

Warner Bros. to Increase Local Film Production in South Korea

by Lee Hyo-won THR

Korean-language films 'The Bad Lieutenant' and 'A Single Rider,' starring Lee Byung-hun, are in pre-production stages, as part of a slate of up to four local productions for 2017.

Warner Bros. will release two South Korean films in the country this year and up to four in 2017 as part of its long-term commitment to making Korean-language films for the Asian market.

A Single Rider by first-time writer-director Lee Ju-yeong, starring Asian superstar Lee Byung-hun (RED 2) and actress Gong Hyo-jin, is in the works, while casting is in progress for 2017 title Bad Lieutenant.

The projects will follow the Hollywood studio's first Korean project, The Age of Shadows by Kim Jee-woon (The Good the Bad the Weird). The 10 billion won (about $9 million) actioner hits Korean theaters nationwide on Sept. 7, around the same time it bows at the Toronto Film Festival.

"We have two titles, The Age of Shadows and A Single Rider, lined up for this year, and possibly two-to-four for next year," said Jay Choi, a seasoned Korean producer and former executive of several local investment/distribution firms, who has stepped in as head of local productions.

The sum of 10 billion won is considered a blockbuster budget in Korea, and the budgets for Warner's other projects are expected to match local standards as expenses are expected to be recouped from the local market.

Choi's appointment in 2015 has been follwed by that of Monique Esclavissat as Warner's executive vp of international production and acquisition, and that of  Marc Gareton as executive vp of international production.

The execs on Wednesday in Seoul emphasized that local productions are ensured full creative freedom, and the appointment of a local veteran such as Choi reflects Warner's vision to create local films for local audiences.

"We are aiming to make Korean movies for Korean audiences," said Choi. "There was a lot of creative freedom, and all we had to do was translate the script [from Korean to English]. For Age of Shadows we went into production last year and are releasing it this year, which is very efficient for any industry standard. In fact, there was actually a lot more creative freedom compared to Korean studios, because Warner Bros. has less [in terms of] stereotypes about the local market and [less pressure to export films to neighboring markets like China]."

Adds Gareton: "Korea is a valuable market and local box office is one of the largest in the world. It is important for us to be in this market and support Jay's endeavors telling the best stories."

The studio also hopes to help encourage younger filmmakers to make films.

"Warner Bros. is well known for having established relationships with filmmakers on the long term even at the studio level, and we replicate the same thing at the local level," said Esclavissat. "We want to be the home for filmmakers but we also want to be the home for new talented filmmakers, and be an additional option in the Korean market."

The execs hope local productions will create synergy with the studio's distribution business, which has been operating for a long time. "We've been in Korea for 27 years releasing Hollywood movies. We have a lot of knowledge," says Gareton. Adds Esclavissat, "Korea has been a very successful market for Warner Bros.' studio films and has been among the top 5-10 markets. But we're also conscious of the fact that local productions dominate half or more of the share. It's fun and exciting to have local films in addition to the studio films."

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July 27, 2016

Warner Bros ramps up Korean production

By Jean Noh | ScreenDaily

The studio is plotting to release two to four films next year, with Joo-young Lee’s A Single Rider set to be the first.

Warner Bros is planning to increase its Korean-language production, releasing two films this year and between two and four next year, according to Warner Bros Korea director, local productions, Jay Choi.

In addition to its previously-announced Korean debut, Kim Jee-woon’s Age Of Shadows, the studio will also release A Single Rider, starring Lee Byung-hun (RED 2) and Gong Hyo-jin (Crush And Blush), in 2016. The film is the feature debut of Joo-young Lee.

“It’s a small-size movie, completely the opposite from Age Of Shadows,” said Choi, referring to Kim’s period action thriller as being in the $8.8m (KW10bn) budget range.

The company is also investing in The Bad Lieutenant, for which Man From Nowhere director Lee Jeong-beom is writing and directing an original script. The film is currently in casting and expected to go into production next year.

Age Of Shadows has been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival and is scheduled for Korean release on September 7.

Warner Bros execs emphasised they are looking for Korean films targeted at the local market, greenlighting only films that can do well in Korea, coupling their savvy from 27 years of distributing Warner Bros titles in the local market with Choi’s veteran experience as a hit producer of films such as The Good, The Bad, The Weird and The Attorney.

“Korea has been a very successful market for Warner Bros titles and has been among the top ten, top five markets for us. But we are very conscious about the fact that local films take around 50% of market share. We are making a long-term commitment to the market and infrastructure and making sure [Choi] has the resources,” said Warner Bros executive vice president, International Production, Marc Gareton.

In terms of how Korean filmmakers might have to adjust to working with a Hollywood studio, Choi said: “Aside from needing time to translate the scripts, there isn’t much difference between how we work and a Korean studio works. In a way, we have more creative freedom because the head office doesn’t have prejudices about how Korean films should be and they will work with a wider range of talent, including rookie directors.”

Monique Esclavissat, executive vice president, international production and acquisitions, Warner Bros Pictures International, said: “Warner Bros is quite well-known for establishing long-term relationships with filmmakers on the studio level and we like the idea that we will be a home for filmmakers in the Korean market as well as new talented filmmakers.”

Gareton also remarked on the possibility of remaking films from other territories “which happens a lot in Latin America, Spain and Europe” or taking film IPs to the games space since “Korea has a very strong games industry.”

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August 3, 2016

Warner Bros. Expands Korean Production Slate

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

With the release of their first local Korean production, KIM Jee-woon’s The Age of Shadows, imminent, US studio Warner Bros. has announced plans to ramp up the scale of their Korean production slate in the coming years. Starting in 2017, the outfit plans to release two to four Korean titles per annum.
First up next year will be LEE Joo-young’s debut picture A Single Rider, which went into production back in March in Australia with LEE Byung-hun and KONG Hyo-jin starring and completed production in early May. Warner Bros. Korea director CHOI Jae-won calls it “a small-size movie, completely the opposite from The Age of Shadows,” which was produced for around KRW 10 billion (USD 9 million).
Another project scheduled for next year is The Bad Lieutenant, an original story (apparently not connected with Abel Ferrara’s 1992 cult classic) from The Man From Nowhere (2010) director LEE Jeong-beom. With casting already underway, the film is expected to shoot early next year.
Prior to these, Warner Bros. will debut as local producer with KIM’s period action-thriller The Age of Shadows, which stars SONG Kang-ho and GONG Yoo. The film opens in Korea on September 7th and has already booked festival dates for the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals.
"Warner Bros. is well known for establishing relationships with filmmakers on the long term at the studio level," said Monique Esclavissat, Warner's executive vice president of international production and acquisition. "We want to be a home for filmmakers but also to be the home for new talented filmmakers, and be an additional option in the Korean market.”

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September 12, 2016

(News Focus) Hollywood studios' foray into Korean market to stir up 'catfish effect'

By Shim Sun-ah and Cho Jae-young

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- "The Age of the Shadows," the latest film by director Kim Jee-woon, has dominated the local box office over the weekend, drawing an audience of more than 2 million in just five days of run, a market tracker said Monday.

The success of the Korean historical film is meaningful to the local film market as it was first produced and presented in Korea by Warner Bros. Pictures, a major Hollywood studio. Many have forecast that the film, if it succeeds, will encourage more investment from Hollywood studios into Korean films.

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

Earlier this year, the Korean supernatural thriller "The Wailing" produced by 21st Century Fox International Productions, attracted close to 7 million viewers in South Korea.

Industry insiders predict that the possibly massive arrival of Hollywood capital would bring about "the catfish effect" in Korea. When a catfish is introduced to a tank of sardines, the sardines become more active and develop stamina while trying to avoid the predator. The catfish effect is a term used in human resource management to describe how groups are motivated by the addition of a strong competitor.

Set in 1920s Seoul and Shanghai, "The Age of Shadows" portrays the story of a talented Korean-born Japanese police officer who happens to work as a double agent for Japan, infiltrating a group of Korean resistance fighters during Japan's colonial rule over Korea. It stars top actors Song Kang-ho as the police officer and Gong Yoo as a key leader of the resistance group "Uiyeoldan."


Director Kim Jee-woon speaks during a news conference for "The Age of Shadows" in Seoul on Aug. 4, 2016. (Yonhap)

Director Kim Jee-woon speaks during a news conference for "The Age of Shadows" in Seoul on Aug. 4, 2016. (Yonhap)

The film is expected to become another 10 million seller for this year after "Train to Busan," a rare Korean zombie thriller, judging how quickly it is surpassing major audience marks. Released on Wednesday, "The Age of Shadows" passed the 1 million mark on the fourth day of its run and the 2 million mark the following day.

Jeon Chan-il, a movie critic, was optimistic about Hollywood's increasing presence in the Korean film market.

"I positively view this trend as it can diversify sources of investment in Korean films," he said. "Although the Hollywood investment may be concentrated on relatively high-quality directors and film projects, they will likely be far more aggressive than local investors."

   The 21st Century Fox, for instance, came forward to boldly invest in director Na Hong-jin's "The Wailing" while domestic investors side stepped it, unsure about the film's potential. It then performed beyond expectations, he said.

He emphasized that Korean investors need to take a more aggressive approach in order not to lose the market to foreign competitors.

Kim Hyeong-ho, a market analyst, also said that increased foreign investment would help diversify the subjects of Korean films.

"I think Hollywood capital will be able to serve the 'catfish' role of motivating the Korean film industry," he forecast.

The advance of the Hollywood players into the domestic market has already affected the production of Korean films.

The official poster of the Korean film "The Wailing." (Yonhap)

The official poster of the Korean film "The Wailing." (Yonhap)

Kim Jee-woon, who already experienced the Hollywood film production system for his debut English-language film "The Last Stand" in 2013, said that the Hollywood system is reasonable and efficient but he felt more comfortable with the Korean system.

"Combining the strength of the two different filmmaking systems is to make a foreign studio film in Korea," he said during a press conference for "The Age of Shadows" held on Aug. 4.

The Hollywood studios' foray into the Korean film market is also expected to help the films reach wider audiences around the world.

"The Age of Shadows" was chosen to represent South Korea in the foreign-language category of the 82nd Oscar Awards set to open in February, next year, and was invited to the Venice and Toronto international film festivals. "The Wailing" also has been imported to various countries around the world after it received favorable reviews during this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Boosted by the success of the historical film, 21st Century Fox is currently working on its fifth Korean-language film tentatively titled "Daeripgun." The movie is about young men hired as substitute soldiers for those who want to avoid hard military duty during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

Directed by Chung Yoon-chul of "Marathon" (2005) and starring Lee Jung-jae and Yeo Jin-gu, the film is set to open in South Korea next year.

Warner Bros. Pictures is to present "VIP" by director Park Hoon-jung and "Bad Lieutenant" by Lee Jeong-beom in that order following the release of mystery thriller "A Single Rider" starring Lee Byung-hun and Kong Hyo-jin this year.

This compiled photo shows the cast of the Warner's upcoming Korean-language film "A Single Rider." From left: Lee Byung-hun, Kong Hyo-jin and Ahn So-hee, a former member of K-pop girl group Wonder Girls. (Yonhap)

This compiled photo shows the cast of the Warner's upcoming Korean-language film "A Single Rider." From left: Lee Byung-hun, Kong Hyo-jin and Ahn So-hee, a former member of K-pop girl group Wonder Girls. (Yonhap)


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Finally a new photo from the movie but it'll only be released in 2017. Looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer.

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October 6, 2016

Busan: M-Line picks up Warner Bros Korea drama 'A Single Rider'

By Jean Noh | Screen


Lee Byung-hun (RED 2) stars as a successful fund manager who uncovers a shocking truth.

South Korean sales company M-Line Distribution has picked up Warner Bros Korea local-language film A Single Rider, starring Lee Byung-hun (RED 2). Also featuring Gong Hyo-jin (Crush And Blush), Joo-young Lee’s feature directorial debut is launching sales in Busan’s Asian Film Market (Oct 8-11).

Due for release in spring 2017, the film follows Lee as a successful fund manager suddenly faced with losing everything who goes to visit his wife and son in Australia only to find a shocking truth.

M-Line has a strong slate in the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) with Zhang Lu’s humorous drama A Quiet Dream opening the fest tonight (Oct 6). The film stars Han Ye-ri (Haemoo) with director-actors Yang Ik-june (Breathless), Park Jung-bum (The Journals Of Musan) and Yoon Jong-bin (The Unforgiven, Kundo).

Making their world premieres in the Korean Cinema Today - Vision section: Hyeon’s Quartet, directed by New Currents winner Ahn Seongkyoung (Pascha) and previous Cannes Cinefondation award-winning director Son Tae-gyum’s feature debut Baby Beside Me.

In Korean Cinema Today - Panorama, M-Line has the world premiere of Lee Seong-tae’s action noir Derailed (a.k.a. No Way To Go) starring Choi Min-ho (from K-pop boy group Shinee) and Don Lee, as well as E J-yong’s senior citizen prostitute drama The Bacchus Lady, starring Youn Yuh-jung.

The company also has Jung Sik’s post-liberation period thriller The Tooth And The Nail, starring Ko Soo, Kim Joo-hyuk and Moon Seung-keun

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October 14, 2016

Lee Byung-Hun Stars In New Korean Thriller “Single Rider”

By Ella Palileo  Asian Movie Pulse

Korean mystery film Single Rider is poised to set the world ablaze with a superstar cast and an exhilarating story. Screen Daily reports that the film debut of director Lee Zoo-young has already won a deal with Korean independent sales house, M-Line Distribution.

Single Rider follows Jae-Hoon, a branch manager of an investment firm who send his wife, Soo-jin, and his son to Australia. Soon he suspects his wife of adultery and begins to follow her. All hell breaks lose when a shocking truth unfolds.

Korean superstar Lee Byung-hun takes on the role of Jae-hoon. Many know Lee for his critically acclaimed roles in I Saw The Devil, Masquerade and Inside Men among others. This year, he played knife-wielding assassin Billy Rocks in the big blockbuster Hollywood remake of The Magnificent Seven.

Soo-Jin will be played by the beautiful Gong Hyo-jin. Gong is best known for her roles in the films Crush And Blush as well as Boomerang Family. She hasn’t appeared on the silver screen since early 2013 so fans are doubly excited to catch her in Single Rider.

An So-hee, a former member of the K-pop group Wonder Girls, plays a supporting role. Recently, An So-hee played Jin-hee, the high school cheerleader in the zombie hit Train to Busan.

Lee Byung-hun, Gong Hyo-jin and An So-hee are reportedly excited over their collaboration on such a thrilling film. “I am well aware of Lee’s acting capabilities. This is something I am looking forward to.” Gong said in Korean JoongAng Daily.

Single Rider is produced by Warner Brothers – who just recently ventured into local Korean productions in Korea.

Shot in Australia, Single Rider is a uniquely intense Korean film that is sure to titillate its audiences. Currently in post-production, the movie is set for a theatrical release in spring 2017.

M-Line Distribution @ 2016 Asian Film Market 20160321_sydney12.jpg

Source: M-Line Distribution (thanks to PlanetBH0712 for the highlight)

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