The director of the R-rated Korean film "V.I.P," starring Lee Jong Suk and Jang Dong-gun, admitted that the inclusion of violent scenes against women in the movie was "a mistake."
Director Park Hoon-jung was reacting to moviegoers' complaints that the film contained excessive scenes where a girl is raped and killed.
"I was a little shocked because the [negative] response was a lot stronger than I had expected. I made the decision to include those scenes because I thought that would be the only way for me to convince audiences of Gwang-il's evilness. But it was a mistake. I realized how ignorant I was," he told M magazine and Korea JoongAng Daily.
The film is about Gwang-il, played by Lee Jong Suk, a defector from North Korea and a son of a politician, who is suspected of being a serial killer.
Park Hoon-jung said the scene of a girl being strangled to death is needed to show Gwang-il's evil character.
"Though [audiences] can know that Gwang-il's henchmen committed such cruelty, that doesn't show what kind of person Gwang-il is. To be honest, we had concerns over whether to include the scene where the girl gets strangled to death," he said.
He added, "So I tried taking out the scene. But without that specific scene, Gwang-il just looked like a naive grumbler. I tried to shoot the scene from far away, but that weakened Gwang-il's evilness. Gwang-il's face had to be clearly seen, so I decided to take the risk."
"V.I.P" topped the box office in its first week since opening on August 23 but is now in fifth place. It has earned US$9.84 million with 1.34 million tickets sold, according to the Korean Film Council.
The director said he chose a North Korean defector to play the role of a serial killer because "I needed an absolute evil who everyone from the police to the National Intelligence Service and the United States' Central Intelligence Agency would consider it necessary to eliminate. An absolute evil without a chance of redemption."
He said he came up with "V.I.P" to overcome the devastation he felt when his movie "The Tiger" bombed at the box office.
"I first wrote it as a novel, planning to divide it into nine chapters. But the writing got fun as I wrote it. After finishing the second chapter, I decided to make it into a movie with five chapters," he said.