S. Korea's Bong plays down Weinstein controversy at Busan

Korean director Bong Joon-Ho on Monday played down controversy over the international release of his English-language debut "Snowpiercer", saying he would accept any final cuts Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein made to the film. "For me, the important thing is that it reaches an audience," said Bong, a king of the box office in South Korea, where his sci-fi thriller has been a hit with takings so far of more than $61 million. Weinstein has picked up the rights to the apocalyptic cliff-hanger for English-speaking markets. News that he had decided to re-edit the film from the version screened in Korea had been roundly condemned by media there, and across chatrooms and social media. "Snowpiercer" stars an international cast, including Chris Evans ("Captain America") and Tilda Swinton ("We Need to Talk About Kevin"). The film presents a dark version of a future Earth, frozen after a failed attempt to reverse global warming, with the only survivors trapped on a high-speed train. Bong -- whose previous hits include the genre-jumping and award-winning The Host (2006) -- revealed his latest production was set for release in its original version in France at the end of the month. He was still waiting for news on when it would reach audiences in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa, and said he understood Weinstein was still working on a final cut for those markets. "It will not be edited too much. It will be just edited to suit the markets," said Bong, speaking after "Snowpiercer" had been presented to the press at the 18th Busan International Film Festival. Bong pointed to Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's recent release "The Grandmasters", and to previous films by American director Quentin Tarantino, which he said had gone through "the same process" after signing on to distribution deals with Weinstein. "There's no real controversy," he said. "Weinstein is used to doing it and I have to get used to his style." Bong was more concerned with turning his attention to the possibilities the film's box office success had brought in terms of attention and distribution. "As a director I want to have an audience. Every director wants that," he said. "I have done as much as I can with the film and I have let it go. What happens now is beyond my control. "Fortunately it was loved by Korean views and now I hope the world will love it too."

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