First Hollywood Remake of Korean Film Opens
Sept 4, 2006
A poster for "The Lake House"
The unusual scenario of a man exchanging letters with a woman living two years in the future was the premise of the internationally acclaimed Korean film ‘Il Mare.’
Now Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are reunited in the Hollywood remake, called "The Lake House," in their first reunion since the 1994 action film "Speed." So why is "The Lake House" attracting high audience expectations in Korea. "This is the first time a Korea film has been remade by Hollywood,” a film expert says. "Many Korean moviegoers will keenly watch how the Hollywood remake, which is over 20 times more expensive, compares with the Korean original."
With a budget of US$40 million, the film ranked fourth at the American box office in its opening weekend. Critics say the key is the time-transcending love story. "Asians might be familiar with the subject of occupying two times and places. But for Americans, it’s not a subject they come across easily. That’s what appealed to them not to mention the director’s beautiful imagery,” a pundit said.
Many filmgoers have flocked to see "The Lake House" just because it’s Hollywood’s first remake of a Korean film. "It feels good to know that Korean films are gaining international recognition. I wish all the best for the country’s movie industry in the future,” a viewer said.
"Il Mare" director Lee Hyun-seung says the original plot was slightly adjusted in the remake to suit American audiences. "The female character in the remake is a doctor, while in the original she’s a voice actress. The remake is set around Valentine’s Day and the original around Christmas. The house in the remake is on a lake while in the original it’s by the beach," he adds.
Lee says he hopes "The Lake House" is a stepping stone that allows more Korean films to be remade by Hollywood.