Cannes: Director Jung Byung-gil on ‘The Villainess,’ His Stuntman Background

Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on to make commercial action thriller “Confession of Murder” (2012), which is currently being remade in Japan. After five long years, Jung is back with another hardboiled actioner.

It was easy to predict that your third feature would be another action film. How is “Villainess” different from your previous feature, “Confession”?

Compared to “Confession,” which featured two men chasing and deceiving each other within a crime case, “Villainess” is much more melodramatic. The story revolves around a female assassin who was fated to become a villainess and the love triangle that she finds herself stuck in. “Villainess” is also less speedy, compared to “Confession.”

Lack of women characters in commercial Korean films has long been criticized. What made you decide to feature an actress in the film’s lead role?

I always like doing the opposite of what people tell me to do. Put it this way: People say an action film led by an actress won’t work, but maybe that simply means no one tries it. I thought this was the right time to go for it myself.

Under the commercial filmmaking system in Korea, investors are not very keen on backing films with female characters in the center of the narrative. Did you have any difficulty finding investment?

Not at all. Next Entertainment World, my film’s investor-distributor, entrusted me with full powers in terms of development and production of “Villainess.” For a filmmaker, such trust is very important.

Action sequences in your films are very unique and smart. Is that what you learned at the Seoul Action School? Or do you refer to other filmmakers works?

Not really. The school’s program is all about using your body. As a child, I once dreamed about becoming a painter and studied painting. It is quite natural for me to sketch images in my head and put them together.

More Film

  • Anita Hill

    Anita Hill Chairs Hollywood Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Formed by Top Execs

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

  • Warren Beatty

    Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

  • Oscar Isaac Addams Family

    Oscar Isaac in Talks to Voice Gomez Addams in Animated 'Addams Family' Movie

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Publicists for Jennifer Lawrence, Daisy Ridley, Amy Adams Form New Firm

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

  • Hannah Marks Liana Liberato

    Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato to Star in High School Comedy 'Banana Split'

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

  • NOR_D01_053017_9621_R2 – L-R: Tom Hanks (Ben

    Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' to Open Palm Springs Film Festival

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

  • Willa Fitzgerald

    'The Goldfinch' Movie Adaptation Casts Willa Fitzgerald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jung Byung-gil, whose “The Villainess” unspools in in Cannes’ Midnight Screenings, has a unique background: he’s a stuntman who trained at the Seoul Action School, which has naturally led him to focus on action films as a director. After his successful directorial debut with a documentary about stuntmen, “Action Boys” (2008), Jung then moved on […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content