French director Denis Dercourt couldn't turn down a chance to shoot in Korea

A scene from upcoming film "Vanishing," which centers around a police detective named Jin-ho who is trying to resolve a murder case with French forensic expert Alice Launey [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

French director Denis Dercourt jumped at the chance to shoot a film in Korea, according to the filmmaker at an online press event Tuesday for his upcoming movie “Vanishing.”

“I didn’t choose first to shoot in Korea,” Dercourt said as he joined the cast for the online press event. “The producer said to me, ‘Do you want to shoot in Korea [because] I have a project there.' I jumped at the occasion because for us, it’s such an incredible chance to shoot in Korea. Now, I think you [Koreans] cannot understand how loved Korea is in the world. Now everybody is looking up to Korean projects and Korean films. You are the model in the world so [if I accepted this offer] I would know how Korean people in the cinema industry work and Korean actors who are so famous in the world.”

“Vanishing” revolves around a French forensic expert named Alice Launey who comes to Seoul on a business trip and becomes involved in a murder case at the request of police detective Jin-ho. French actor Olga Kurylenko portrays Alice while Yoo Yeon-seok portrays Jin-ho. Other cast members include Ye Ji-won, who appears as Alice’s translator, Choi Mu-sung, a mysterious character who is not given a proper name and Park Soi, who appears as Jin-ho’s young niece.

From left, actors Yoo Yeon-seok, Park Soi, Ye Ji-won, Choi Moo-sung and director Denis Dercourt participate at an online press event to promote their film "Vanishing" on Tuesday. [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

Throughout the film the characters speak three languages — Korean, English and French, but the film was shot entirely in Korea, Dercourt said.

“For the location, the things is, it was meant to be a global project but we knew from the beginning that it was also for the Korean audience, so I didn’t want to have locations which would be too cliché,” Dercourt said. “If you make a film in France [but not targeted] for the French audience, you will go to places in Paris that Parisians would think are too cliché, and I didn’t want that.”

Dercourt made sure to seek advice from the Korean staff as he chose his locations for filming.

Avoiding repetition seems to be one of the important themes that Dercourt kept in mind.

“I was also very careful with the references [for the film] because it could become cliché,” he said. “[But] the films I referenced were ‘The Chaser’ [2008] and ‘Memories of Murder’ [2003].”

“The director did not want [me] to portray a typical detective that the audiences were already familiar with in Korean films — the kind who wears a leather jacket wherever he goes.” Yoo said. “When Alice first sees Jin-ho, he [Dercourt] wanted Jin-ho to give off a favorable impression, so I put less emphasis on the roughness of the character regarding his physical appearance. As they [Alice and Jin-ho] work together to solve this case, Jin-ho should have no problem communicating with a foreign expert. Jin-ho [is also different] in the sense that his hobby is performing magic. His hobby becomes an entertaining element during the heavy atmosphere and he also performs to entertain his niece.”

“Vanishing” is slated for local release on March 30.