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Hollywood star Wesley Snipes praises Korea’s action film ecosystem

Aug 29,2019
Acclaimed Hollywood actors Wesley Snipes and Chuck Jeffreys pose for photos at a press conference for 2019 Chungbuk International Martial Arts and Action Film Festival held at Shilla Hotel, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [YONHAP]
Hollywood action stars Wesley Snipes and Chuck Jeffreys came to Korea to attend this year’s Chungbuk International Martial Arts and Action Film Festival and to learn more about Korean martial arts.

Snipes attended the event because of his personal connection to local martial arts director Jung Doo-hong. Snipes said he was so impressed with Jung and his performance in the film “The City of Violence” (2006) that he wanted to get to know the director personally.

“After meeting him, he introduced me to the work that they were doing at the Seoul action schools and training the young students for the action [film] business and I thought it was a fantastic, fantastic idea,” said Snipes at the festival press conference held on Wednesday. “We began discussing ways to replicate the school and academy for mining and cultivating new talent in the United States, so we look forward to working together as partners in the future.”

Snipes particularly expressed enthusiasm for finding hidden martial arts talents in Korea through the festival.

“What’s so exciting about the film festival is the opportunity to see great, talented artists on the both sides of camera and to meet them,” Snipes said. “My goal is to create a collaborative community of super-talented filmmakers and content manufacturers - the directors, cinematographers and art performers. [Through this festival I hope to meet them] and hopefully we can continue to do a cross-, trans-continental exchange of ideas, skills and opportunities.”

Although the development of CGI technology and special effects has taken some of the burden off of many actors who perform action scenes, Jeffreys noted that audiences who want high-quality action films are able to tell the difference between real stunts and special effects.

“The audience is getting smarter and smarter and they want the high art. You can tell when somebody doesn’t really know [their craft] and you can’t hide [behind] the stunt doubles all the time,” Jeffreys stated. “I’d rather train the actors. You can’t teach them to be martial artists but you [still] can teach them to be good really fast, and I do that by teaching them through techniques.”

“Right now South Korean film and TV dramas are taking the world by storm. Hollywood recognizes the exceptional creativity that’s emerging out of South Korea,” Snipes continued. “One big difference between Korea and Hollywood action films is the scenarios. They are very strong and interesting, blending the action organically with the situations and the plot in the movie.”

Moreover, the actor praised local actors for their versatile performances in both acting and action skills.

“[Korea] creates multi-talented artists who can act very well and also do physical action,” Snipes said. “This is very impressive and there are very few places in the world that have such a collection and cultivation of that kind of talent that produces the kind of entertainment that the world appreciates. I want to be part of that wave and work with the best of the best around the world, and some of the best is right here in South Korea.”

Snipes’ next film, which is slated to premiere next month, is not an action movie, but a comedy titled “Dolemite Is My Name” with the famous comedian Eddie Murphy. After the film’s release in the American theaters, it will be distributed worldwide through Netflix.

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]


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