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There are always a handful of insanely talented foreign directors around whose successes have led to visits from Hollywood representatives thirsty for hot names to pimp, drain, and discard. Hong Kong’s John Woo is one of the more famous examples of course… after making two very highly regarded action pics in Asia (The Killer, Hard-Boiled) he came to America, had a few pretty impressive hits followed by a couple bombs, and then returned home with his head down, shoulders slumped, and doves dead in his pockets.

They often aren’t accustomed to the way the system works over here including the lack of artistic control, the test audiences, the multiple cooks in the kitchen… Woo still faired better than many others though who got just one shot before having their return ticket stamped. Chen Kaige went from beautiful and moving films (Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine) to the ridiculous Killing Me Softly. The creatively witty Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, Amelie) was tasked with reviving Alien: Resurrection. For every success story there’s probably five directors who are immediately put back on the boat.

So after that long winded introduction the actual news in this post is that one of Korea’s top directors is making the move towards a US production. Kim Ji-woon, he of the excellent The Good the Bad the Weird and A Tale of Two Sisters, has chosen Max and the Junkmen as his first English-language film. It’s a remake of a French thriller, will start shooting in the US early next year, and he hopes to cast Clive Owen and Sienna Miller in the leads. Head on over to Twitch for more information.

Enough imported directors have done well in the US that I’m not necessarily expecting disaster here, but I won’t be holding my breath either. Korea’s other two top-tier directors, Park Chan-wook (Joint Security Area) and Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder), have both been offered similar deals but have so far been very adamant about saying no to the loss of control.

Do you like seeing foreign directors take a stab at Hollywood? Who’s your favorite foreign import?


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