Friday, 14 March 2008

Hallyuwood films sweep into Hollywood

While surfing for all things Korean, I stumbled upon some articles on Korean movies being remade in Hollywood.

Movies such as Addicted, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, My Sassy Girl and A Tale of Two Sisters are getting a Hollywood version of their own.

Il Mare (2000) – The Lake House (2006)

However, there’s a Korean flick which has already been remade in Hollywood, and it stars none other than hottie Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.

Yup, I’m talking about the 2006 fantastical romance The Lake House, which is a remake of Shiworae/ Il Mare (2000). The original version stars Lee Jeong-jae and Jeon Ji-hyeon.

Fantastical romance: Shiworae/ Il Mare (left) and The Lake House

I have not seen the original Korean movie, but being a Keanu Reeves fan, I made a beeline for The Lake House when it opened.

The story is about an architect and a doctor whose romance transcends time and space. He is from the past – 2004, while she is from the present – 2006 (at that time). They communicate with letters sent through a special letterbox by the lake house.

Addicted (2002) - Possession (2008)

Meanwhile, Lee Byeong-heon’s thriller Addicted (2002) is also being remade. It will be called Possession and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace.

I’ve seen the original Lee Byeong-heon/ Lee Mi-yeon version and it is good albeit a little creepy.

Creepy thriller: Addicted (left) and Possession

The story revolves around two brothers, the elder one is already married. Both brothers are involved in separate road accidents on the same day and when the younger brother regains consciousness, he mysteriously develops traits and characteristics of his elder brother! Did a soul switch occur?

The Hollywood version, Possession, is reportedly being previewed in the US in March 2008 and a quick check at revealed that the movie’s release date has not been announced.

Addicted review here!

My Sassy Girl

Not much information on this remake. All I know is that Elisha Cuthbert is taking on Jeon Ji-hyeon’s role in My Sassy Girl.

Cha Tae-hyun’s character will be played by Jesse Bradford and the film has apparently completed filming. It will be released in the fall of 2008.

I’ve seen the original 2001 flick and while the movie got a little long-winded, it’s unexpected and pleasant ending made it all worthwhile.

My Sassy Girl review here!

A Tale of Two Sisters

The US version is currently in post-production and Arielle Kebbel and Emily Browning play the titular sisters. It is set for release in the fall of 2008.

Family affair: A Tale of Two Sisters original movie poster (left)
and a movie still from the US remake

The original 2003 version stars Moon Geun-young and Im Soo-jung. It's about two sisters who return home after a stint at the mental hospital. However, strange things start to happen at home after their return.

A Tale of Two Sisters review here!

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Apart from that, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron recently announced that she will be making a remake of Korean thriller Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). Theron is reportedly starring in and directing the Hollywood version.

The original stars Lee Young-ae as a convict who is wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years for the kidnap and murder of a 6-year-old boy. When she is released, she hunts down the man (played by Choi Min-sik, the protagonist in Old Boy) who is really responsible for the boy’s death.

The film is the 3rd installment of director Park Chan-wook’s popular Vengeance Trilogy. The other two are Old Boy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.

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jehan said...

i've seen both the Il Mare and The Lakehouse and i thought Hollywood didnt make a good remake. as for the other 3 movies, i hope they'll make good remakes. i love sympathy for lady vengeance a lot-- the only project lee young ae had after her dae jang geum days... i mean, its really sacred for me, haha! i hope they wont butcher it again....

Chingu said...

I LOVED 'Sympathy'. Also, 'Two Sisters' was pretty good. And I saw 'Addicted'. I wasn't crazy about Addicted until things started to pick up towards the end--the ending has a twist and was a real surprise!

In a way I feel angry that these good movies are being remade. At the same time as Hollywood will steal film ideas from Asia (they remake a bunch of Japanese movies as well) they do NOTHING to promote the place of Asian cinema on the international stage. Because Hollywood steals all the good Asian movies, many people don't even realize they are remakes.

Anonymous said...

chingu, Hollywood has run out of ideas... Recent movies are so disapointing so if borrowing Asian movie plots will help spice things up I see nothing wrong with it. Sure, they could promote the originals more but they don't want to take away from their own movies and avid movie fans will be curious about the original anyway... so there is indirect promotion there.
Also, Asian movies have been very much influenced by Hollywood and I'm sure 'taken' a few things... It's not like 1 is giving and the other is just taking. I don't know how good American remakes of Korean movies are but I do know that I totally prefer American remakes of Japanese horror like the Ring and Dark Water (I found the originals to be illogical and boring).
I just hate waiting for these movies to come to light... The American 'My Sassy Girl' was finished last summer and is not coming out til THIS FALL? *pouts*
I didn't know the Lake House was based on a Korean Movie... I saw that movie also because I was so excited to see Keanu and Sandra work together again but I thought the ending was disappointing. I am really excited about the American remake of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance but my only concern is what made the movie so great was Park Chan Wook's style of directing and attention to detail... I can't imagine the Hollywood one comparing to this amazing movie.
I also heard Joint Security Area was supposed to be remade -- and something about Mexican-American border officers and undocumented immigrants crossing. Which to me makes no sense and is not really comparable because people are not at war defending enemy states while sharing a very strong ethnic identity... There's not the same tension and gravity there.

shluverr said...

I actually thought it was so cool for Hollywood to create remakes.. But I have to agree with 'jehan' about "The Lakehouse". It wasn't very good, and I liked Il Mare much better.

I just noticed,is "Juno" a remake? From a Korean movie called, "Jenny, Juno" On this movie, Juno is actually a guy. I haven't really watched the whole movie,but its seems similar.

Edward said...

I talk about Korean as well as Asian remakes on my blog as well. Anyone interested can take a look here:

Thanks. Will get off my soap box now... ;)

Anonymous said...

did i just read that correctly?? theron is DIRECTING the vegence movie? are you kidding me?? does she have any directing experience?? what?? they are going to butcher it!! no!!

ladida said...

i saw The Lakehouse but i thought it was just ok.. i love to hate and hate to love The Ring. That film left me unsettled for weeks! Dark Water was alright for me; it was less (much less!) frighteniing.

Anonymous said...

instead of an uncreative hollywood, i think this points to something in korean movie industry: they will (gladly!) sell for $$, so hopefully this doesn't become the goal.

Chingu said...

How the hell can Juno be remade with a guy?? Juno is a pregnant girl.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I don't understand why the Americans have to do remakes of asian flicks, esp horror flicks and not to mention their horrible remake of Infernal Affairs, which was downright crude. Are they running out of ideas for movies or are they looking for a tried and tested way to earn $$ from REALLY good asian films?

jicks said...

I like Hollywood remakes of Asian movies because I enjoy the comedic value of seeing how badly they stuff it up.

Although I must say Charlize Theron playing LYA's role in Lady Vengeance does interest me the most.

jehan said...

as for horror movies, they say Asian horror movies are the best... coz they are really scary.. while as western horror movies for me are not scary, just yucky== things that dont make you eat, you know...haha! while Asian horror movies dont make you sleep alone for nights...sigh...

Clammy said...

I love My Sassy Girl, but talking to some of my friends about it, none of us think an American remake will work at all. Too much of My Sassy Girl is so culturally specific. We laugh at it because we get a lot of the Korean etiquette references and what-not. I suppose the fact that the movie is received so well even to non-koreans means that it doesn't need all that nuance to be funny but I don't think the jokes will work well (or at all) completely set in an American culture.

Juno is not a remake, it won for best original screenplay (written by an ex-stripper). If it was a remake, it would be in the Best Screenplay adapted from previous works category.

My Sassy Girl the american version is currently listed as being In Production although it had previously been listed as completed in the Summer. They probably had to go back and change some stuff with reshoots and what not. And also, with the 3+ month writers strike, there would not only have been a delay if there had to be a re-write of any part, but studios have been rescheduling a lot of releases to make up for lost time.

I always used to say Asian horror flicks are scary because the idea of the situation itself is terrifying. American (current) horror flicks are really thriller flicks that rely on instant shock tricks to startle the audience rather than truly frighten the psyche.


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