Highly impressed by Lee Byung-hun’s performance in Kim Jee-woon’s I Saw the Devil, Exquisite was pleased to have some time with the actor. If only for more of said time, minus a language barrier…
You have worked with director Kim Jee-woon a number of times now. Which of his films have you most enjoyed working on, and why?
The funniest film to film with Kim Jee-woon was The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008). Out of all the ones I’ve filmed with him it was the least intense. Even though the conditions were tough, it was fun.
I was very impressed by your performance in I Saw the Devil. Your character is multi-faceted; his grief and fury are both very clear. You made it look natural.
Revenge is a feeling that everyone can have. Both sides kind of balance each other out and allow the other emotion to shine when one is depressed. It was hard trying to keep an expressionless face while trying to portray various emotions. This film acts out these emotions to the point that it becomes unreal or very fictional, like a fantasy film. There are two other versions, but we chose this one. I am happy with the one we chose.
Asia is probably one of the best regions in the world at producing good, effective horror films. What is Hollywood doing wrong?
I think that Asia makes very good horror movies. When horror movies are remade I think they often try to make it more commercial which can take away from some of the original plot that made it good. Having said that, remakes have their own style and colour that make it unique. All creations come from a first source.
Do you have aspirations to step behind the camera, or write screenplays?
Most actors that have acted for a long time would probably like to make a film of their own. From when I was young until now, it was very exciting to me that people could take ideas, real or fiction, and make it into a film. Therefore, I think I would like to make a fantasy film. If I were to make a realistic film I would make it about people, their interaction and all the different personalities that they can have or show.
A review of I Saw the Devil may be read here