[ENTERTAINMENT]2002 will be Visit Korea Year for 007

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[ENTERTAINMENT]2002 will be Visit Korea Year for 007

Will James Bond still be alive and licking international criminals well into the 21st century? Will he still be using high-tech gizmos and will we see more "Bond girls"?

Soon enough, 007 fans will get their first 21st- century look at the British secret agent with a license to kill. In London on Jan. 11, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer studios will announce that filming will soon begin on the 20th Bond movie, tentatively titled "Bond 20."

The large-scale event will also mark the 40-year anniversary of the debut of Bond movies. The first 007 story that went to the big screen was 1962's "Dr. No," starring Sean Connery. The most recent Bond movie was 1999's "The World Is Not Enough," with Pierce Brosnan ordering the martinis. Appearing at the gala affair will be many of the directors, actors and other staff who have worked on the 19 Bond films, including Brosnan and the producer who has been in charge of the series since 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies," Barbara Broccoli. The Bond series became established mainly due to the determination of Broccoli's father, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli.

Throughout his history, James Bond saved the free world from evil enemies with ingeniously devilish designs: Soviet secret agents, hired assassins, beautiful but deadly women, martial arts experts and sharks. But during the early '90s, the Bond franchise lost a bit of its luster. Roger Moore, at 58, had bowed out of the role after "A View to a Kill" (1985). His successor, Timothy Dalton, didn't quite fit the part in the next two movies. The Cold War had ended and special effects weren't so special anymore. Financial and legal troubles put six quiet years between the 16th and 17th Bond installments, "License to Kill" (1989) and "Goldeneye" (1995).

Since Pierce Brosnan's 007 debut in "Goldeneye," though, Bond seems to be on his feet again. The three movies starring Brosnan have all been international box office hits.

"Bond 20" could be particularly significant for Korea. MGM decided that Bond's newest foes would be North Korean spies. The story is said to be about a moderate North Korean general with a plan to peacefully reunify the peninsula. An evil North Korean secret agent is assigned to kill the general. That's where Bond comes in.

MGM reportedly talked to two South Korean actors to play the evil North Korean, including Kim Yeong-cheol, a middle-aged actor who played a malevolent dictator in a popular TV historical drama. The two candidates were intrigued, according to insiders, but rejected the part due to the problems it could cause in North-South relations.

The studio turned to the Korean-American actor Yune Seong-sik, or Rick Yune. A former stockbroker, Yune, 31, appeared in "The Fast and the Furious" (2001), but is better known for dating Lisa Ling, a co-host on a talk show in the United States. Yune's character will not be the first Korean villain to tussle with Bond; another, Odd Job, was a mute martial arts master in "Goldfinger."

"Bond 20" is scheduled to be released by the end of next year.

by Park Jeong-ho

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