EXCLUSIVE: South Korean filmmaker Byung-gil Jung, who wowed audiences at Cannes 2017 with his femme-led action feature The Villainess, has come aboard to direct the action thriller Havoc, written by Eric Tipton, based on an original idea by Steve Barnett and Daniel Myrick.
Inspired by actual events, Havoc tells the story of a U.S. helicopter crashing on the North Korean side of the DMZ. With tensions between the North and South already on the verge of war, the surviving U.S. Army Reservists must work together to protect a civilian tech-specialist and find their way across the DMZ, without the possibility of U.S. military support. Both Jung and Kim served in the South Korean military, performing several missions with U.S. soldiers, and plan to bring their experiences to Havoc.
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Producers include Bernie Goldmann, Monarch principals Barnett and Alan Powell, and Lewis Kim. Monarch principal Vicky L. Patel will executive produce. Monarch is eyeing a spring start in South Korea.
“I’ve been thinking about doing an action thriller set in the DMZ since I served in the ROK army,” said Jung. “I’m excited about the unique opportunity to make a film that not only draws upon my own experiences while also providing me with a setting that is one of the most interesting and dangerous areas on the earth. The film will not take a political position, but instead follows characters thrown into an extraordinary situation who must use their instincts and training to avoid tensions escalating to full-blown war.”
“It’s incredible to us that the dangerous strip of land separating North and South Korea has rarely been explored on film,” said Barnett and Powell in a joint statement. “The Monarch team and our partner, Bernie Goldmann, couldn’t be more excited about director Jung and his team joining us and bringing their innovative storytelling and unique visual style to ‘Havoc.’”
“I am thrilled to be working with director Jung and my good friends at Monarch Media,” said Goldmann. “Director Jung’s style has been appropriated by Hollywood for years, it’s exciting to now bring his filming prowess to a worldwide audience.”
Barnett, Powell and Patel launched Monarch Media in February, with a plan to produce two to three feature films a year in all genres and at all budget levels, with an eventual push into television. They sold their first feature, faith-friendly musical A Week Away, to Netflix earlier this year. Barnett and Powell produced the feature, with Powell also co-writing both the screenplay and the music.
Jung’s 2012 feature Confession of a Murder was a notable South Korea hit grossing over $21M.