This Friday marks the New York and Los Angeles theatrical release of high-octane revenge actioner The Villainess, with nationwide rollout to follow in September. The South Korean film was met with rave reviews on the film festival circuit, beginning with its appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received a 4-minute standing ovation upon the screening’s conclusion. We happened to fall for the film at the Fantasia International Film Festival last month (review).
Writer/director Byung-gil Jung may be an up and comer, but it’s clear that this visionary will soon become a recognizable name in the film industry. Having transitioned from stunt work to directing, Byung-gil Jung has the perfect skill set to deliver some serious action.
During Fantasia, we sat down with the South Korean director and his translator to discuss the creation of The Villainess, the film’s influences, and the Hollywood offers he’s received since making the film. Read on for our spoiler free chat.
How was the story for The Villainess conceived?
Were there any other influences in addition to Luc Besson’s Nikita?
There’s not a lot of female led action films, so I’d like to know what was the most important part for you in creating her character?
What was the casting process like; was it a challenge to find a lead actress who could nail both the action and the dramatic nature of her character?
What’s impressive is just how complex this story is, which isn’t too common in action. How difficult was it to weave in the narrative complexities between the very impressive action sequences?
You did a lot of stunt work prior to transitioning into directing, how did that shape the action in this film?
What was the most difficult action sequence, in terms of the technical challenges?
The motorcycle scene is actually my favorite action sequence in the entire film. What’s been the biggest surprise for you in the entire process, from conception to festival screening?
You mentioned that it was the happiest, but the most tormenting experience. Tormenting in what way?
Touching back on Hollywood calling, have you accepted any offers? What would you like to do next?
I think that The Villainess is so good, and so innovative, that it’s inevitable that Hollywood will want to remake this. How would you feel about an American remake?
Is there already a sequel idea in mind?