The Korean newsapaper "Good Day" has questioned the Hollywood Reporter's reliability on information they published about the role of Rick Yune in Bond 20. According to the newspaper it seems that some guess work may have been involved in what the Hollywood Reporter published.
Plot and character elements from Bond 20 will be dealt with in this report so as usual Spoiler Warnings do apply. Simply highlight the text to read it.
“The Hollywood Reporter” published a report stating that Rick Yune would be cast in Bond 20 as the character North Korean General Zao. As the time we assumed that General Zao was the 30 year old character that the film makers were seeking to cast. However, “Good Day” indicates that General Zao is in fact the 60 year old character and the father of the 30 year old character.
The North Korean General character, which has been one of the roles targeted for Korean actors from early stages, is supposed to be between the ages of 55 and 60. Rick Yune, who was born in 1971, will have a hard time playing the character convincingly.
The surname Zao received some attention in the Bond 20 Forums with ‘Mister Asterix’ pointing out that Zao is not in fact Korean but Chinese. It is Mandarin for ‘Good Morning’ and is pronounced ‘zow’. This is something that “Good Day” picked up on;
Actually, the question begins with the “The Hollywood Reporter” article’s use of the phrase “North Korean General Zao.” “Zao” is not a Korean surname, but a common Chinese name.
North Korea, with its focus on nationalism, is not likely to express the name of a military general, one of its top powerholders, in Chinese terms. Even more importantly, “Zao” is actually the name of the male assassin character in his early 30’s, which is another role for a Korean actor.
“Good Day” seems to have insider knowledge that Zao is in fact the male assassin who is seeking to stop re-unification of North and South Korea.
The North Korean General character must be fluent in English. However, the roles for actors in their early 30’s, which are the General’s son/the North Korean military officer character and North Korea special agent/assassin character, do not require a high level of proficieny in English. The assassin “Zao” character, especially, is a mostly action-oriented role, so he has virtually no dialog.
Despite wanting a fully Korean actor for the role it seems that the producers have changed their mind. Earlier it was reported that the Yune’s character would under go a face transformation thanks to some technology. Rick Yune’s agent in Korea has commented on both Yune appearing in Bond 20 and the face transformation plot device.
“As far as I know, Rick Yune is confirmed to appear in the next Bond movie.” Chung added, “Initially, the plan was to have a Korean actor in the movie for about 15 minutes, and after the character undergoes facial transformation, an American actor was supposed to take over the role. However, since it was difficult to find a Korean actor who is satisfactory in both language skills and recognizability areas, Rick Yune was chosen to play the character by himself.”
As Yune is American born it is easy to see why the producers would rather cast one fluent actor for a role rather than two. However, that hardly seems interesting compared to the plot information revealed there; if true. Why would a Korean assassin be making attempting to transform his looks into that of an American?
While the article itself doesn’t clearly highlight it ‘DreamLord’, who kindly translated the article, has told us that the overall tone of the original article indicates that Yune is playing ‘Zao’ who is the assassin.
A great report from "Good Day", it will be interesting to see if any of this turns out to be true in the end. One can't help think about how many reports the media circulates that simply aren't true. However, we have learnt in the past that some elements of truth do appear in some reports. During the production of The World Is Not Enough it was reported that the climax of the film would take place at the Millennium Dome with James Bond stopping it being blown up, while that never happened part of the film did take place at the Dome.