1. All The News & Rumours From Korea

    By daniel on 2001-12-06

    On November 25 we reported news that had leaked from Korea about the cast and plot of Bond 20. Since then more news has come to light, including a confirmation from EON Productions that actress Halle Berry was indeed being considered for a role in Bond 20. Such confirmation obviously gave majorly credbility to the news out of Korea.

    Thanks to 'DreamLord' we've been able to round up all the Bond 20 news that has surfaced in Korea. As with such potentially plot spoiling information spoiler warnings apply so you'll have to highlight the news to read it. WebTV users, and other users incapable of highlight, view the printer friendly version above.

    Spoiler Warning (Highlight To Read)

    While reading these various news reports some links between the various stories become apparent. However, this is not to say that these links confirm that the news is indeed true. Looking back at The World Is Not Enough it was often rumoured that the climax of the film would revolve around Bond saving the Millennium Dome from terrorist action. While the Millennium Dome did feature in ‘TWINE’, it featured under different circumstances. With that in mind, please read on.

    “North Korea is the main villain in 20th 007 movie” (reported by Munwha Ilbo on November 30, 2001)

    Hollywood has set North Korea as the main villain in the 20th 007 movie planned to begin production early next year, and is contacting Korean actors for the role of North Korean terrorists. There is controversy about whether Korean actors should appear in the movie or not.

    According to Korean film industry insiders, MGM, which is producing 007 series, is planning to begin filming the 20th movie in the 007 series in January 2002.

    The main actress, an essential element of 007 series, will be played by Halle Berry, who starred in “X-Men” and “Boomerang.” In the movie’s storyline, a North Korean special agent tries to kill a North Korea general who wants peaceful reunification of the two Koreas, and 007 gets engaed in a mortal fight with the North Korean agent in order to protect the general.

    The North Korean agent will be portrayed as committing various acts of terrorism, such as trying to destroy the Great Britain’s Millennium Dome.

    Currently, Min Soo Choi, Oh Sung Yu, Kang Ho Song, and Young Chul Kim are being mentioned as possible candidates.

    These actors have one thing in common: they have all played North Korean soldiers at least once in their careers.

    It has been known that the producers are currently conducting auditions through videotapes of the actors’ past works.

    However, a source close to Min Soo Choi said that Choi has already refused to appear in the movie.

    Even though this movie will have the positive effect of showcasing a Korean actor in a Hollywood production, there are opposing views as well.

    That’s because this movie may directly disrupt the friendly mood between the two Koreas, which has been accomplished after a half century of division.

    An insider working for a film production company said “There has been reports that the United States may choose North Korea as one of the targets in the second phase of their war against terrorism, so Korean actors should be very cautious when considering the offers for these roles.”

    The report highlights correctly the potential damange which Bond 20, should it follow the rumoured plot detailed in this article, could cause. Hollywood has always had the power of influencing the real world, and it has always done so. However, it would seem safe to assume that should the Bond 20 plot resemble the rumoured plot it will have been carefully crafted as not to have an effect in the real world.

    However, it also makes a mention of the destruction of the Millennium Dome and various terrorist activites. So soon after the tragic events of September 11 in the United States it seems unlikely that Bond 20 would deal with primarily terrorist activites.

    007’s enemy is North Korea, will fight a North Korean agent in 20th movie, looking for Korean actors” (reported by Donga Ilbo on November 30, 2001)

    In the 20th 007 movie that will begin filming early next month, North Korea has been chosen as the main villain.

    An insider at the 20th Century Fox Korea, which distributes 007 movies in Korea, said, “In the next movie, North Korea will be featured as the enemy nation.”

    Even though detailed story of the movie was not revealed, it is expected that 007 will go against a North Korean special agent who does not shy away from international terrorism.

    MGM, which produces the series, is known to be looking for a Korean actor who will play the part of a North Korean military officer.

    According to the Korean distributor, MGM contacted Fox Korea in March and inquired about Korean male actors who can speak English fluently.

    The distributor said, “There were virtually no male actors who can speak fluent English in Korea, so we sent them a recommendation for ten top actors regardless of their English fluency.”

    MGM is currently known to be contacting Korean actors based on this list.

    Also, since North Korea has been chosen as the main villain, it became necessary to hire many Koreans as extras. An advertisement saying “We are looking for Korean extras for the next 007 movie” was placed in a Korean-language newspaper published in Great Britain, which is the backdrop of 007 series as well as its principal filming location.

    This report seems a generalisation of all the reports we’ve heard so far. Onto another report,

    Waiting for 007 final decision: Young Chul Kim has script” (reported by Munwha Ilbo on December 1, 2001)

    47-year old actor Young Chul Kim, who showed great acting ability as Kung Yeh in the historical television drama “Wang Gun”, is said to be the frontrunner for the role of a North Korean general in charge of the North Korean special forces in the 20th 007 movie.

    In a telephone interview with this newspaper, Kim said “Ten days ago, I received a script containing 10 minutes’ worth of dialogs in Korean language from the casting director while she was visiting Korea.” Kim also said “I heard that I was almost confirmed for the role, but I have not signed the contract yet.”

    Kim showed cautious attitude by saying “It’s not good for this news to be known outside while I’m still waiting for the final decision.”

    It has been known that the casting director has already been contacting Korean film industry insiders for the past several weeks in order to find Korean male actors who will play the important supporting roles of three North Korean military men.

    When it was pointed out that this movie might interfere with the friendly mood between the two Koreas, Kim said, “Since the casting has not been finalized, I have not had the chance to thoroughly analyzed the story yet.”

    Yet another similair report, onto the next one;

    Young Chul ‘Kung Yeh’ Kim to appear in 007 movie” (reported by Pusan Ilbo on December 1, 2001)

    MGM, which is planning the 20th 007 movie that deals with North Korea, is actively seeking to cast Young Chul Kim in the role of a North Korean military man.

    Sung Hoon Kim, president of Young Chul Kim’s management firm eStars, said, “Recently, MGM’s casting director has officially offered the role to Kim, along with giving him the storyboards, synopsis, and script of the movie.”

    Sung Hoon Kim also said “Even though there were media reports that many top Korean actors were being contacted, Young Chul Kim is the only one who received script as far as I know. Even though this is a great opportunity for him, the movie’s concept has sensitive elements, and there has been almost no discussions about contract terms, so I cannot say my clear position about whether he will appear in the movie or not.”

    He also said “It is true that we received the offer and we’re viewing it in positive terms. However, since nothing has been decided yet, I’d like to be cautious.”

    In the 20th movie of the 007 series, a hardliner North Korean special agent tries to kill a moderate North Korean general who wants peaceful reunification of the two Koreas, and 007 fights the special agent in order to protect the general. It is scheduled to be released in November 2002.

    And the final report,

    Young Chul Kim to appear in 007 movie” (reported by Chosun Ilbo on December 1, 2001)

    Young Chul Kim, best known for his portrayal of Kung Yeh, will appear in the next 007 movie. Kim will play the role of a villain against Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in the 20th 007 movie, which will begin filming on January 14, 2002. Kim’s screen time will be around 10 minutes, which is close to being a bit player. However, Kim said, “Even the top Hong Kong actor Jet Li appeared as a villain against Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 4. I’m happy to work in a world class production.”

    The title and storyline of MGM’s 20th 007 movie has not been officially announced yet. What’s known so far is that 007 will go against a North Korean soldier who commits acts of international terrorism. New Zealander Lee Tamahori will direct, and Halle Berry from X-Men will appear as a villainess.

    Kim was considered for the role when MGM asked the Korean distributor last summer to recommend Korean actors who will play the part of North Korean special agent.

    According to a source in Kim’s management firm eStars, the casting director watched the videotape of “Wang Gun” in which Kim played the role of Kung Yeh, and expressed extreme satisfaction. This source also said “The payment and contract terms are being negotiated.”

    There are a lot of reports there with a lot of details, the similarities between the reports is quite obvious. As a result it's extremely hard to distinguish the rumours, the lies and the truth in all the rumours. To discuss them please visit the Bond 20 Forums in this thread which 'DreamLord' started for us. See you there!