Daniel Henney is back, much to the delight of his Korean fans - a group that includes not only cinemagoers, but also his co-stars. When asked about her favorite scene in the movie, actress Ra Mi-ran was quick to answer: "His wet and bloody torso".
She was referring to a scene where Henney's character, the charismatic spy Ryan, is tortured in a warehouse. But the comment sums up the premise of "The Spy" nicely: a Henney fest. A pretty face can only take you so far, though. Fortunately, "The Spy" also has plenty of humor.
For Henney's co-star, Seol Kyeong-gu, this is actually his second time starring in an espionage-themed movie this summer, following the hit "Cold Eyes" in June.
Seol plays Chul-su, a secret agent who has managed to keep his job a secret from his wife Young-hee (Moon So-ri) over their seven-year relationship. When the movie starts, the couple is desperate to have a baby, but Chul-su is called away to Thailand on an assignment.
Furious, Young-hee follows her husband to Thailand, trying to track him down. While there, however, she meets a dashing stranger (Henney), who soon says he is falling in love with her.
Unable to reveal himself, Chul-su is forced to watch his wife from a distance, trying to accomplish his mission while keeping this mysterious rival away from Young-hee.
It is Henney's first lead in a Korean film for three years, after appearing in a variety of American movies and TV programs.
Henney's good looks are put to the test: shirt on, shirt off, dressed to the nines, swinging a rifle and helping out a damsel in distress.
On playing such a major role, Henney said it was a lot of fun, if difficult, especially since he still finds acting in Korean to be "a challenge", despite his Korean ancestry (his mom is a Korean adoptee).
Luckily, the 33-year-old Henney had some great co-stars to help out.
Seol and Moon, who played very unusual lovers in Lee Chang-dong's classic "Oasis" back in 2002, easily outdazzle Henney's somewhat limited acting range with their constant bickering.
"Normally when you hit someone in a movie, you talk about it beforehand", explained Moon, talking about how comfortable she was with reuniting with Seol. "We just went for it".
As exciting as the film is, it seems the behind-the-scenes action was nearly as wild. Moon recounted a chilling moment when a helicopter landed on the foot of actress Han Ye-ri. Han was not hurt badly, but it was Henney who came to the rescue.
"The actors were screaming, the staff just thought we were filming", recounted Moon. "Then Henney started banging on the helicopter until the pilot understood and lifted off. Then Henney took her in his arms and started running with the wind from the chopper blowing in his hair. It was like a scene in a movie".
"The Spy" opens Sept. 5.
BY CARLA SUNWOO [email@example.com]
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2015 51st PaekSang Arts Awards