[ENTERTAINMENT]Woo blows into town to puff up 'Windtalkers'

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Woo blows into town to puff up 'Windtalkers'

John Woo, the filmmaker once from Hong Kong, may have moved his base of operations to Hollywood, but it looks like his Asian mindset has survived the heart of Western filmmaking. Last week, Woo visited Korea to promote his latest action-packed tale of war, "Windtalkers." Woo showed up just in time in a tidy black suit and gray tie, and greeted the press by holding his hands to the chest several times in the old Chinese style.

Woo earned a reputation for being the master of stylish, gun-filled gangster films beginning with the Hong Kong movie "A Better Tomorrow." A few Asian box office blockbusters later, he got an offer to work for Hollywood. After a shaky beginning, Woo found his sea legs in "Broken Arrow" and "Face Off," learning how to marry his unconventional, almost ballet-like violence to the very conventional Hollywood. Woo is now one of the most successful Asian directors in Hollywood. His latest flick, "Windtalkers," is (very loosely) based on the true story of the Navajo Indians who worked in World War II as code talkers, encrypting messages for the U.S. military. Starring Nicolas Cage as the American soldier who must protect a code-talking Navajo, even if that means killing him rather than let him fall into enemy hands, the film opens in Korea on Aug. 15.

"Windtalkers" opened in the United States on June 14, but has not done well. Woo, however, tried to remain aloof saying, "In summer, audiences want to see some fun, light films, but "Windtalkers" is all about danger, fear and tragedy."

Then Woo stressed his efforts to make the film terrifying. "I used different styles like long-takes to make the film like a documentary, to add reality," he said. "The film was all about friendship, and I wanted to convince my audience that war is something very horrible."

Woo denied rumors he would stop making action films. "I have other things I want to do, "he said, "like pure drama, lighthearted comedy and a gangster musical." Woo's next film, titled "Man of Destiny," will star Chow Yun Fat and Cage. "It's going to be an epic, kind of like 'Lawrence of Arabia,'" he added.

Woo has seen few Korean films, but he soothed the Korean press by promising to feature a Korean actor in the future and by complimenting the Korean soccer team.

by Chun Su-jin

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