Next Wednesday, the stellar triumvirate of Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-sung gather to start filming “The Good, the Bad and the Weird.” Simply by starring the three stars, the movie is generating huge advance buzz. The Chosun Ilbo spoke to Director Kim Ji-woon (43).
“As a movie fan, I have certain wishes. Why are there no movies in Korea like “Ocean’s Eleven” that gather an ensemble of superstars? There should be at least one such movie in my generation, never mind popularity and ambition.”
That begs the question how difficult it was. The audience may be delighted, but persuading the stars must have been a headache for Kim. Every star, after all, has a tendency to think of him- or herself as the center of the universe. Catering to the emotional needs of three solar systems can’t have been easy.
Even though the three actors are reportedly close, Kim seems reluctant to talk about the point. After some thought, he puts it this way: Lee Byung-hun is “the most questioning actor in Korea”, Song Kang-ho is “Korea’s super actor” and Jung Woo-sung has “ambitions as a director.” “Of course it wasn’t easy. For many stars acting is only possible if they understand the character, but that’s especially true for Lee Byung-hun.” How much so? Kim smiles. “Byung-hun may be unhappy to hear this, but for example, if I convince him to play the character on April 1, he calls on April 3 saying he doesn’t understand. If I convince him again the next day, he calls on April 5 saying some part is strange.” Kim adds, “As you can see, he is stubborn about his parts.”
Even though they call each other brothers — in order of Song, Lee and Jung — there is a certain tension. But Kim is undeterred. “I’m excited about the prospect of seeing Song, Lee and Jung Woo-sung in the same frame,” he says. “I’m going to give the audience a picture and a story they have never seen in Korean movies.”