Cannes: 5 South Korean Talents to Watch

11:05 PM 5/10/2018

by Lee Hyo-won

From an 'Avengers' actress to the director of superhero film 'Prodigal,' THR takes a look at a new wave of talent that is headed for Hollywood.

Claudia Kim (left) and Kim Yong-hwa
Claudia Kim (left) and Kim Yong-hwa
Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

After the crossover success of directors Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, the BBC’s The Little Drummer Girl) and Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Okja) and actor Lee Byung-hun (Inside Men, The Magnificent Seven), a new wave of South Korean talent is headed for Hollywood. Here are five to keep an eye on:

  • Kim Yong-hwa

    Director

    ilgan Sports/Multi-Bits via Getty Images

    At last year’s Comic-Con, Stan Lee announced that he had tapped Kim, 46, to helm Prodigal, a superhero film from Lee’s production company POW! and Luka Productions. The director’s VFX-heavy family drama Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds became one of the highest-grossing films in South Korean box-office history this past winter. The second film in the franchise, Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days, is slated for summer 2018.

  • Jung Byung-gil

    Director

    Courtesy of subject

    Jung, 37, has built a reputation as a genre filmmaker, beginning with his feature debut, Action Boys (2008), and continuing with Confession of Murder, (2012), which explored the inner workings of a psychopath, and the 2017 Cannes Midnight Screening film The Villainess. He’ll next tackle the Gerard Butler starrer Afterburn, a big-screen adaptation of the comic series of the same name from Red 5 Comics.

  • Gang Dong-won

    Actor

    Photo by Unioncom/VCG via Getty Images

    One of Asia’s most beloved stars, Gang, 37, will make his Hollywood debut as the star of Simon West’s Tsunami LA, about a giant wave wreaking havoc on Los Angeles. From Hannibal Classics and Foresight Unlimited, the production began this spring in the U.K. and Mexico and is due out in 2019. The former Gucci model has appeared in some of South Korea’s top-grossing films in recent years, including Violent Prosecutor and Master, both released in 2016, and 1987: When the Day Comes (2017).

  • Claudia Kim

    Actress

    Photo by Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

    Kim, known as Kim Soo-hyun in South Korea, had made a name for herself in romantic TV drama roles at home before being cast in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2013). The 33-year-old will next appear opposite Johnny Depp, Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

  • Gina Kim

    Director

    Franco Origlia/Getty Images

    Kim’s Never Forever (2007), starring Vera Farmiga, was the first South Korea-U.S. co-production and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. In 2014, she wrote and directed Final Recipe, the first English-language film by an Asian director with an all-Asian cast (including Michelle Yeoh). A former Harvard professor, Kim, 44, won the Best VR Story Award at the 2017 Venice Film Festival for her short Bloodless and now teaches film at UCLA.

    A version of this story appears in The Hollywood Reporter's May 11 daily issue from the Cannes Film Festival.