By Kim Tae-jong
Director Kim Yeong-joon
said he learned a hard lesson from his debut film "Out Live (Bichunmoo)" in 2000 but he believed it is sure to help his upcoming epic action melodrama appeal to local and international audiences.
"I promised myself not to make an epic action film ever again since I had to deal with so many problems and went through many trials and errors making my first film", Kim said Monday during a news conference after the preview screening of his new movie "Shadowless Sword
"But I also thought that the experiences from my first film were too precious to just put to waste", he added.
The director admitted that most local epic action films, including his first film, have not been commercially successful even at the domestic box office. On the other hand, many Chinese films that combined martial arts with melodrama were internationally acclaimed.
But rather than following the formulas found in such successful films as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero", Kim said he tried to come up with a different approach.
"I think `Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and `Hero' focused on showing slow, beautiful and elegant action scenes, so I tried to show more dynamic, faster and tougher action scenes in my film", Kim said.
Although it took him almost five years to make his second film, this time he showed more confidence as he had a bigger production budget, together with more time, support and, most importantly, experience.
With a production cost of about 8 billion won, the film was shot in China over six months. And the martial arts team from the famous "Once Upon a Time in China" series were brought in to help train main actors and demonstrate breathtaking acrobatics.
"The most difficult part of making the film was to stay in a foreign country for such a long time. The staff and actors had difficulty getting used to Chinese food, cold weather and suffered homesickness", Kim recalled.
But when he shot his first film in China, everything was challenging and they couldn't even finish shooting some scenes due to poor preparation and a lack of experience, Kim said.
New Line Cinema, a major Hollywood distributor that was also in charge of the international distribution for "The Lord of the Rings" series, invested in "Shadowless Sword
" and will also take part in distributing it worldwide. The film will be the first non-English movie for the company to distribute internationally.
The film stars Lee Seo-jin
, Yoon So-yi
and Shin Hyun-joon
. Set in Korea's ancient kingdom of Palhae (698-926), the film revolves around Jeonghyun (played by Lee), the last prince of the ancient kingdom who was abandoned when he was young.
Jeonghyun lives hiding his royal identity but is placed on the verge of being assassinated by a rebellious group who try to succeed to the throne. And swordswoman Soha (Yoon) tries to guard him to sit on the throne saving from threats by an assassination group led by Kun (Shin).
The film will be released on Friday at local theaters, and next year it will be screened in more than 60 countries including the United States and European countries.