KOREA + CHINA = POP

Lee Joongi wooed into “Under the Sicily Sun” after drinks with Taiwanese director

Lee Joongi wooed into “Under the Sicily Sun” after drinks with Taiwanese director

Produced by Stanley Kwan, and directed by Jump Ashin! Taiwanese director Lin Yuhsien, new movie Under the Sicily Sun with Korean actor Lee Joongi and Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu will begin filming end of December, with scenes in both Shanghai and Sicily.

The film’s press conference last week invited many Lee Joongi fans in attendance, as the actor himself was in Beijing to promote the movie. He expressed his excitement for his first Chinese project, and his anticipation towards working with the well-known Stanley Kwan and Lin Yuhsien. Joongi added that he grew up watching Hong Kong films, and thus believes the two filmmakers will help him further his acting abilities.

Under the Sicily Sun speaks of a Korean exchange student in Shanghai who falls in love with a local Chinese girl. When asked about his own relationship experience, Lee Joongi said, “I have very little love experience, but if I had a girlfriend, I think the opportunity for two people to be together is very fortunate.” Joongi also suggested that he wouldn’t mind a transnational relationship, “So long as the two individuals are in love, both age or nationality wouldn’t be a problem. I would accept her regardless.”

Lin Yuhsien revealed at the press conference that casting Lee Joongi into his movie was not easy. “I went to Korea twice, and went out for drinks with him twice, and only then was I able to ‘trick’ him into doing this movie.” He added, “He’s like a boy-next-door, very natural and down-to-earth, with his own unique charm, so my determination to cast him grew as I got to know him better.”

Stanley Kwan said that after seeing Lee Joongi’s previous works, he has gotten the impression that the actor is a very dedicated and hard-working actor, and “is especially jealous that director Lin Yuhsien has the opportunity” to work with him.

While the director was determined to cast him, it seems like Lee Joongi took his time in deciding his next on-screen project. He received many invites from overseas film projects, so he spent a long time evaluating his choices before choosing Under the Sicily Sun. “Firstly, it’s because the story touched me. Also, since being discharged from the army, I’ve done a lot of action films, so right now I’ve wanted to change my style, to film a warm and healing romance.”

Lee Joongi also emphasized the important roles of a movie’s director and producer. As both Lin Yuhsien and Stanley Kwan are already highly respectable figures in the industry, Joongi felt he could depend on them.

At the Beijing press conference, director Lin Yuhsien stated that after doing the highly lauded 2011 film Jump Ashin!, he spent some time wondering on what type of film he would like to do next. “When I came upon the script for Under the Sicily Sun, I decided to do this movie. Because the movie is not only a touching love story, but it also speaks of coming-of-age experiences that touched me very deeply. Although young people must experience setbacks in both love and career in order to mature as an adult, but we all want to outwardly display a youthful and positive energy.”

Lin Yuhsien further revealed that he has been acquainted with producer Stanley Kwan since filming for Jump Ashin! and is happy to finally be able to collaborate on a new movie.

Under the Sicily Sun will begin shooting end of December, with an expected release of sometime late 2015.

Lee Junki (Lee Joongi) at "Under the Sicily Sun" Beijing press conference

Lee Junki (Lee Joongi) at "Under the Sicily Sun" Beijing press conference

Lee Junki (Lee Joongi) at "Under the Sicily Sun" Beijing press conference

Lee Junki (Lee Joongi) at "Under the Sicily Sun" Beijing press conference

Lee Junki (Lee Joongi) at "Under the Sicily Sun" Beijing press conference

Sources: Sina, Mtime, CRI Online