Director says actors are getting greedy
A well-known director’s characterization of certain Korean actors as blinded by greed has led to something of a tempest in the local film industry over actors’ salary demands.
At an informal gathering last Friday, Kang Woo-suk, director of the blockbuster film “Silmido,” told reporters, “Korean actors are too blind for money. It’s like the whole movie scene is making money for a few star actors, which will ruin both sides.”
He cited the high-profile actors Choi Min-shik and Song Gang-ho, who are said to be Korea’s highest-paid actors. They have been reported to receive 400 million won ($390,000) to 500 million won per film.
On Wednesday, the two actors held a joint press conference, demanding that Mr. Kang apologize for his comments.
“When I first read the article, my heart almost stopped beating,” said Mr. Choi, star of “Oldboy” and “Crying Fist,” referring to an article printed in a local newspaper. Mr. Choi and Mr. Song said that Mr. Kang had falsely labeled them as “ringleaders” of the tendency toward greed among Korea’s leading actors.
Mr. Kang had previously cited examples of the two actors chiming in during filming to provide advice and labeling such input as “contributions,” for which they supposedly asserted that they were entitled to a greater share of the profits.
“Some actors and agents ask for as much as 50 percent of production profits under the guise of ‘co-production,’ when they hardly made any contribution,” said Mr. Kang.
The director also mentioned he had decided not to use Mr. Choi in the movie “Teacher, Mr. Kim,” after the actor and his agency asked for a 4-percent share of production profits. Cinema Service, an investment firm where Mr. Kang was once a director, was the primary investor in the film.
Mr. Kang also told the reporters that Mr. Song doesn’t express interest in working with him, because he knows Mr. Kang won’t meet his salary demands. At Wednesday’s press conference, Mr. Song, star of “Shiri” and “Joint Security Area,” responded that Cinema Service hadn’t even made him an offer in years.
Mr. Kang released an apology Wednesday night via e-mail to newspapers. The actors said they accepted the apology.
But Mr. Kang is not without his supporters. A group of film producers, of which Mr. Kang is a member, announced on Tuesday, “Star actors are abusing their power.” They called for a meeting of actors, agents, directors and producers to discuss the current situation.
by Chun Su-jin, Park Jeong-ho