Notorious clever clogs and deep thinker Friedrich Nietzsche said “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. When you gaze into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”
Never a truer word said especially if he was talking about Korean revenge epic I Saw the Devil which is in cinemas this week and available on DVD and Blu-Ray on the 9th of May DVD, directed by Kim Jee-won, the director of A Tale of Two Sisters and A Bittersweet Life.
Our review will be on the site soon but in the meantime we caught up with the movies star Lee Byung Hun who plays secret agent Soo-hyun a man obsessed with revenge after his fiancé falls victim to brutal serial killer Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik, Old Boy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) when her car breaks down one wintry night.
Receiving information on the police’s top four suspects, he decides to track down the murderer himself vowing to do everything in his power to take bloody vengeance against the man responsible for his beloved’s death beyond simply just killing him even it means becoming a monster himself.
Interview with Lee Byung Hun
First of all may I say it is an honour to interview you and I thought your performance in I Saw the Devil was amazingly powerful. Congratulations on all the nominations you have received so far, I am sure more will follow for you and the film.
I Saw the Devil is your third time working with director Kim Ji-woon after A Bittersweet Life and the brilliant The Good, The Bad, The Weird. All three films are very different, how did you come to be involved in I Saw the Devil and what was it like working with Kim Ji-woon again?
Kim Jee-woon has always made movies of different genres. I felt as if it was a new adventure trying a new genre myself. We have done many films together and know each other very well. I guess it could be a minus because we are so used to each other. As usual when the project is over, he does not disappoint as a director.
Your character and the psychotic killer of his fiancé (played by the equally excellent Choi Min-sik’s) have an obsessive, destructive relationship where the lines between hunter and hunted, good and evil and right and wrong are constantly being blurred. Your performance is both emotionally and physically intense and demanding, what where some of the challenges you found playing and crafting this complex character?
From the beginning to the end I had to have feelings of loss and revenge. It was a very depressing feeling and this was very hard. It was also hard as the character Soohyun doesn’t normally show many facial expressions, but I had to show various emotions while trying to remain expressionless.
Korean cinema seems to be gaining popularity in the West predominantly for horror movies and revenge thrillers such as I Saw the Devil, The Host and Oldboy thanks to brilliant directors like Kim Ji-woon and Chan-wook Park. What is your personal favourite horror film, Korean or otherwise and why?
When I was young I saw a film that I wasn’t suppose to see because of my age. It was The Exorcist. Maybe because I was young it was shocking. Even now watching it again I can see how well it was made and it has stayed my favorite horror film.
What is next for you and will you be doing any more International films after your Hollywood debut in G.I Joe as everyone’s favourite evil ninja Storm Shadow?
I have been reading a lot of scripts but there is nothing planned as of yet.
Thank you for your time and your answers.
Look out for our review soon in the meantime here is the trailer: