Woo's 'Killer' gets a new contract

Lee to remake hit man classic in L.A.

More news from the Pusan fest

BUSAN, South Korea -- Legendary action director John Woo's 1989 Hong Kong classic "The Killer" will be remade in Los Angeles with a Korean star replacing Chow Yun-fat as the hard-boiled hit man.

Director John H. Lee, a Korean-American and a CAA client, will move the action through L.A.'s Koreatown, Chinatown and South Central, said Woo's longtime producer and partner at Lion Rock Prods., Terence Chang.

"The actor has to be Korean in this version, but also, L.A. is a character in the film," Chang said in an interview on the opening day of the four-day Asian Film Market.

"In John's original version, it doesn't really matter where the film is set, except that Hong Kong has this dragon boat festival which adds a bit of local flavor. In this remake, we will use the geography of L.A. to move the story forward."

Director Lee told The Hollywood Reporter that he's excited about working on the remake of one of his "favorite films of all time."

"I ask myself why they chose me and whether I can top it," Lee said from Seoul on Monday. "But then I realize it's not about making it better. It's about making my own version. My strength is dealing with human emotions, austerity and elegance."

Chung Taewon, president of Korea's Taewon Entertainment, said that his company was also involved in the project.

Taewon Entertainment is majority owned by Fireworks International, a Hong Kong-based media company, initially funded by Dutch Bank ABN Amro.

Chang said a script is being worked on but said it is too early to reveal other details.

Lee, also at Pusan, directed "A Moment to Remember" in 2004, the most popular Korean movie ever to open in Japan, where it earned about $26 million.

The remake of "The Killer" will be the latest in a string of Asian films to cross the Pacific to Hollywood, where last year Martin Scorsese won the best director Oscar for "The Departed," a remake of Hong Kong gangster film "Infernal Affairs."

Mark Russell contributed to this report.