|English film director Mike Figgis / Yonhap|
By Park Jin-hai
English film director Mike Figgis, best known for his 1995 film "Leaving Las Vegas," is making a Korean-language film in Seoul.
The 70-year-old director and screenwriter, who was born in North West England and spent much of his childhood in Kenya, says he is a big fan of Korean dramas and films. "After Netflix was introduced in the U.K., it became much easier to access Korean films and especially TV dramas. The more I watched them, the more I became interested in Korean culture, and in their different approach to storytelling," he said during an interview with The Korea Times, Tuesday.
Adding that he particularly likes Korean dramas' portrayal of female characters and the way to weave social issues including family problems and sex crimes in its storytelling, Figgis counted "Something in the Rain," starring Son Ye-jin, and "Secret Affair," starring Kim Hee-ae, as the ones that impressed him the most deeply.
His new film is a thriller about a woman who escapes from a psychopath who abducted her. Suffering from trauma, she loses her memory. But memories associated with the past come flooding back 10 years later. The film revolves around a powerful female character and will have a unique format exploring the disturbingly permeable boundaries between dream and reality as well as past, present and future, according to the director.
Translation of his script into Korean has been completed and Figgis has been contacting local production and casting companies, aiming to begin shooting his film next year.
The film, with an all-Korean cast, will be the first Korean-language film directed by a Hollywood director.
"Korean films are dramatically complex, and they are willing to tackle dark themes in a serious way. But more than anything, it's the quality of the acting in Korea that really impresses me," he said. "If you are a musician, then it would be natural to want to go to New Orleans and collaborate with other talented musicians. If you are a film director, then of course you want to come to Korea to work with these actors."
Figgis made his feature film debut with "Stormy Monday" in 1988. Since his first American film "Internal Affairs," which helped to revive the career of Richard Gere, the director has worked with many Hollywood actors. With his most acclaimed film "Leaving Las Vegas," lead actor Nicolas Cage earned a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for best actor. His other films include "One Night Stand" (1997), "The Loss of Sexual Innocence" (1999) and "Cold Creek Manor" (2003).