My Way(마이 웨이)is a December 2011 Movie directed by Kang Je-Gyu South Korea.
Set during World War II, a Korean man named Dae-Sik ( Jang Dong-Kun ) is called up by the Japanese government - during Japan's occupation of South Korea - to fight for Japan. Eventually the Korean soldier becomes part of the Nazi army and fights along with the Germans in the Battle of Normandy.
Yeon-Hee is ambivalent about the twisted fate between a Korean man and Japanese man.
- Filming began October 15, 2010 in Saemangeum, South Korea.
- Shooting locations will take place in South Korea, China, France, Russia and Latvia.
- Movie budget is 30 billion Won ($25.5 million).
- Actress Son Ye-Jin was originally cast as the main female lead Yeon-Hee, but due to scenario changes dropped out of the movie prior to filming.
- As of January 13th, 2011 - "My Way" has completed 40% of its shooting and is on track for a December 2011 release date in Korea.
- Filming finished June 12, 2011 in the country of Latvia. The final scene filmed was a fierce battle set during the Battle of Normandy.
Opening in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, "My Way" tells the story of two rival men, one a poor Korean and the other Japanese royalty, who end up fighting together against the Chinese and the Soviets during World War II. But it is hardly a buddy story; Japan occupied the Korean peninsula for much of the first half of the 20th century, and the film is scathing in its portrayal of the Japanese.
The drama, made for about $23 million, has already played in South Korea and Japan, taking in $16.5 million after opening in December (in South Korea) and January (in Japan). It was produced and distributed by CJ Entertainment & Media, part of the Seoul-based global conglomerate CJ Corp. whose products include animal feed, boiled fish and golf courses.
In bringing the film stateside, CJ Entertainment America, the 7-year-old show business arm of the corporation, faces some of the same obstacles other U.S. distributors of Asian cinema must overcome -- primarily, convincing potential patrons to stop watching pirated DVDs and buy a movie ticket.
The backers of "My Way" hope it will get a boost from its ambitious action scenes, including violent battles, massive explosions and enough military hardware to fill a couple of football stadiums. CJ Entertainment & Media boasts that the nearly yearlong production used 57,500 bullets and employed more than 16,000 extras (many of them Latvian, as some filming took place in the Balkan nation).
"This movie is a little bit different from the other Korean movies that are targeting Korean Americans," said Joon Choi, chief executive of CJ Entertainment America.
Theaters of war
For all its epic scale, "My Way" will have to succeed in small steps.
Though Korean Americans are concentrated in California and New York, there are large pockets in Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Virginia and Washington, according to census data, meaning that the distributors will have to pick their theaters carefully. In a couple of weeks, "My Way" is set to open in Dallas, Seattle and Baltimore.
At the same time, CJ Entertainment America will also court art house audiences, the kind of highbrow, metropolitan ticket buyers who patronize films such as "The Artist" and "A Separation." In the L.A. area, "My Way" will play this weekend at the ArcLight Hollywood, as well as Laemmle's Monica in Santa Monica and the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. Next week it will play at CJ-owned CGV Cinemas in Koreatown.
"What we are doing with this movie is a hybrid," said Angela Killoren, a CJ marketing executive. "The movie has great potential for people who love foreign-language films."
CJ Entertainment America has released a number of South Korean films in the United States before, but only a handful have generated material returns. Two years ago, "The Man From Nowhere," a violent revenge thriller, grossed more than $500,000 stateside -- respectable for a film that played in only 19 theaters. But that take was small compared with the film's worldwide haul of more than $43 million.