Director Yoon Jong Bin talked about his efforts to cast Lee Hyori in his film “The Spy Gone North,” which recently made its world premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

On May 12, the director spoke about the film in an interview at the Cannes Film Festival and discussed Lee Hyori’s brief cameo appearance in the film as herself. Although the singer only appears for a few minutes in the film, her presence is important because she plays the role of a symbolic figure.

Yoon Jong Bin said, “At first, I made a special casting offer [to Lee Hyori] through a close acquaintance. She happily agreed to do it. But when I told her about the plot of the movie, she said she couldn’t do it because she felt too much pressure.”

He continued, “I told Lee Hyori she had to appear in [the film] no matter what. I couldn’t just use someone who looks like Lee Hyori and call her Lee Hyori. After much thought, I wrote her a handwritten letter. I asked her to save me. I wrote in the letter why she absolutely had to appear in the movie and why it had to be her. After I sent her the letter, I received her response that she would do it.”

The director went on to talk about shooting Lee Hyori’s scenes in the film, recalling, “We shot [her scenes] during the last round of filming. I think we filmed for about 12 hours.”

“The Spy Gone North” is about a South Korean spy who infiltrates North Korea to find out the truth about the country’s nuclear program in the mid-1990s. Its star-studded cast includes Hwang Jung Min, Lee Sung Min, Jo Jin Woong, and Joo Ji Hoon.

The film was invited to the 71st Cannes Film Festival in the Midnight Screenings category. It will be released in theaters in Korea sometime this summer.

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