Another first for CommanderBond.Net!
Everytime news comes across my desk I have to consider it's validity and what affect it could have on those who read it, sometimes I decide it could spoil an element to the film sometimes I decide it won't. Sometimes I even decide that the news is completely false and, hence, not worth publishing.
Well this report is worth publishing. Why? Because it is based on the writings of actor In-Pyo Cha who audition for a role in Bond 20. This report is also going to contain a spoiler alert. Why? Because it contains a major plot outline for Bond 20, it describes several scenes, several characters and even gives dialogue from the film. If you don't want Bond 20 spoiled for you, if you don't want it fresh in your face when you see it in November 2002 I suggest you don't go any further than this.
For reference: This first part of the report does reveal slight spoilers, but no major plot or character spoilers.
This report comes to us thanks to ‘Dream Lord’ who in the past has translated several reports from Korean into English. So a big thank you DreamLord, without you this report wouldn’t be possible and probably wouldn’t even receive major attention.
Korean actor In-Pyo Cha posted a story on his official website on January the 5th. It is a story entitled “007 Story” and it’s about how Cha auditioned for a role in Bond 20 while he was working on another film in L.A. My report on his story is split into several parts. First we’ll look at why Cha auditioned and why he turned down the role. Then we’ll look at the role he was to play and other information he leaked on Bond 20.
If you’d like something to wet your appetite before you read on, Cha was to play a character known as Colnel Moon. Literary Bond fans will notice the distinct relation between that name and the name of Colnel Sun; a Bond novel written by Kingsley Amis after the death of Ian Fleming. Excited? Let’s move on.
Three days after arriving in LA Cha was asked by audition for Bond 20 by the producers. Cha had to audition in front of Jane Jenkins and Debbie McWilliams, McWilliams is the casting director for EON Productions. What follows is a detailed account by Cha of the various stages of his auditioning process.
I arrived at Jane Jenkins’ office with a friend named Richard, who drove me around Los Angeles and helped me with things, and auditioned in front of her. Every movement, question and answer was recorded on camera, and I was told that, after the audition, everything will be sent to Barbara Broccoli (creator and producer of the 007 movies) and Lee Tamahori (the director of 007 20) in Great Britain.
Another casting personnel named McWilliams, who conducted the audition with Jane Jenkins, said that they were planning to audition Korean actors other than me, but the problem was English fluency. McWilliams said that, personally, she wanted me to be cast for the role.
During the audition, I told them that, since this movie is about North Korea, I could only make decisions about appearing in the movie after reading the entire screenplay. Jane said that no one had the screenplay, since it was not completed at that time. Instead, she told me the movie’s storyline for about 30 minutes. Even though it was difficult to tell precisely based on the storyline alone, Jane Jenkins emphasized that all the characters appearing in the 007 movie were specific individuals, and had no relation with the current climate in the Korean peninsula.
About three weeks later, I received an e-mail from Barbara Broccoli. It was a congratulatory e-mail telling me that Lee Tamahori has cast me in the role of Colonel Moon for the 007 movie. Subsequently, the costume department of 007 movie in Italy contacted me by telephone, asking me for my measurements. It was not just simple measurements like chest and waist sizes, but about 100 different measurements such as the distance between the end of the fingers and the back of the hand, wrist size, and the distance between the collarbones. I went to a Korean tailor in Los Angeles and had myself measured for ten dollars, and sent the measurements to Italy.
The following day, MGM contacted me, asking me if they can meet with my agent or lawyer for the contract. It was a serious problem. Since the contract for a major movie in America is too vast and detailed for an ordinary person to handle, I desperately needed an agent.
An actor’s contract for a major movie deals with three big issues for the most part. First, salary or acting fees. Second, billing. In other words, what will be the order that my name appears in the opening credits of the movie, whether my name will appear by itself or along with other people, and other such issues with the credit. Third, perks. This means issues associated with the treatment appropriate to the name value of actors other than salary. For example, the size of the personal trailer, the type of hotel and the type of room, the use of limousine during filming, personal assistant, the type of class for airline tickets, the number of family members that can be invited and how they will be treated, et cetera. These are the three issues. Since I did not know much about the practice in the U.S., I could not deal with such contract by myself.
The Christmas season had begun at that time, so all of the major agent companies were closed for the holidays. I asked a Korean-American actor named Charlie Chun, who appears with me in the movie “Iron Palm,” for advice. Charlie was very happy to hear my news, and introduced me to his agent, named Tony Martinez. Tony has been working in Hollywood as an agent for ten years, but he was a midlevel agent who had never worked with a major character in a major studio. When Charlie telephoned Tony, Tony was with his family in a mountain far from Los Angeles. However, when Charlie told Tony that a friend who was cast for a major role in 007 was looking for an agent, Tony came down from the mountain and drove for two hours to meet with me. According to the common practice in Hollywood, I promised him that I would pay him 10% of my salary, and hired him as my agent.
…Tony contacted me. Tony sounded very excited. He said that he spent all morning talking over the telephone with Barbara Broccoli, who was staying in Europe. He said that the producers were very satisfied with me and willing to accommodate most of my requirements, and they wanted to sign the contract as soon as possible. Tony was very pleased to tell me that, under the circumstances, it was possible to ask for 500,000 dollars or as much as 1 million dollars. The only thing that bothered me was that, if I sign the contract, I had to stay in Great Britain for three and a half months from mid-January to May 1st, and give them my full schedule.
I told Tony that I can only make the decision after reading the completed screenplay. Precisely two hours later, the screenplay for 20th 007 movie arrived at my hotel.
And this is where problems arrive. In-Pyo Cha turned down the role of Colnel Moon in Bond 20 because he felt that Jane Jenkins had lied to him about the plot of Bond 20.
As I read page after page of the screenplay, Jane Jenkins’ words that the movie has no relation to the current climate of the Korean peninsula turned out to be a lie. As expected, Hollywood was once again using another country’s current climate for their own entertainment purposes.
About two o’clock in the morning that night, I decided to turn down the role. Many thoughts occurred to me. Thoughts of my wife and my son Jung-Min, thoughts of my fans on the website, many mistakes that I’ve made in my life. After thinking about many things, I decided to turn down the role.
The next morning, I called Tony and told him about my intention to turn down the role. I hung up the telephone with the angry voice of Tony, saying that I’m crazy, ringing in my ear.
In-Pyo Cha is showing sentiments that have been filtering out of Korea for quite sometime now, that Bond 20 may affect the real political situation between North Korea and South Korea. We shall see I guess, as Cha speculates, with or without him Bond 20 will be produced.
Now it's time to move on. What did Cha reveal about his character in Bond 20? What did he reveal about other characters.
It’s time to take a look at the character of Colnel Moon as described by In-Pyo Cha.
My character, Colonel Moon, was an elite officer of North Korea who fights 007, and he was described in the screenplay as a stylish and handsome man who was educated in Europe, thus fluent in English.
But how does Colnel Moon relate to the other characters we’ve heard of? Colnel Moon is the son of the North Korean General that we have continually been hearing about. (Perhaps I should mentioned that Cha is 34 years old). Cha explains more about the characters writing;
While his father General Moon, who rules North Korea, loves peace, the son Colonel Moon is a person with the ambition to reunify the Korean peninsula with military force, take over Japan, and fight against the U.S. One of Colonel Moon’s men was a character named Zao, and I already knew from reading Korean newspapers that Rick Yune was cast for this role.
And there we have the confirmation of the character named Zao. I had previously speculated that the son of the General would be against peace and that he may work for Zao, it seems the other way around now. Evidently, Colnel Moon will send his assassin Zao after James Bond.
In terms of the character alone, even though it was a villain, it was an important and attractive role. Since the character fights against 007 for the first 20 minutes and last 15 minutes of the movie, it was the second most important role after 007. Also, the battle scenes with Colonel Moon featured a variety of visually interesting scenes, such as combats with sports cars, aerial combats using flying objects, underwater fights while falling from a waterfall, and fistfights with 007 at the end.
Information about Bond 20 doesn’t get more detailed than that. We know about action in the pre-title sequence now and at the end of the film. The report does suggest that Colnel Moon will be the films main villain and will be one of the last to die as he fights with Bond. But look at the wealth of other information. We already know of the Ice Cave, the Blades Club and the Torture Chamber but we know now of many other action sequecnes. Underwater sequences are perhaps those rumoured to be filming in Hawaii for the pre-title sequence. Evidently his refence to the sports cars refers to Bond in his Aston Martin. It seems that the Aston Martin will see some action.
Cha also describes some other scenes in Bond 20;
…when 007 arrived in the airport in Korea and went to DMZ (demilitarized zone between the two Koreas), there were no Korean military personnel present, and the U.S. armed forces greeted 007.
Aside from the fact that Bond travels to Korea and a place where he travels there the information about the US armed forces is quite interesting. Will we see the return of Jack Wade to Bond 20? It was Wade who greeted Bond on a US Air Field in Tomorrow Never Dies. Wade also gets his name from screenwriter Robert Wade who did uncredited work on the GoldenEye script.
That’s all from Cha about the characters and the plot for Bond 20. But there is one piece of information that you still want to read. The quote from the script that Cha has revealed.
I thought of a line of dialog delivered by General Moon in the screenplay. When he was facing 007, he says “50 years ago, you people came uninvited and divided the Korean peninsula into two. After all that, what are you trying to teach us at this point?”
What a fantastic piece of dialogue!
That is some of the biggest news on Bond 20 to date. The earlier leak in November by crew in Korea seems almost insignificant in relation to this news.