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Don Lee’s Power Reverberates through Hollywood

May 24, 2024
  • Source by CINE21
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Interview with Don Lee’s Hollywood project partner Chris S. Lee, CEO of B&C Content Group



“With Deadline, American entertainment media, releasing presales record of The Roundup: Punishment, congratulatory mails bombarded my inbox,” Chris S. Lee, Korean American CEO of B&C Content Group, a global talent management and production agency, is hustling for Don Lee’s next Hollywood project. 




How did you start working with Don Lee?

- When I started B&C Content Group In 2014, I went to the wrap party of Like a French Film, directed by Shin Yeon-shick, thanks to Steven Yeun where I first met Don. With couple of beers, I learned that Don’s determined endeavor of American Dream moving from Montana, Texas, Ohio, and California. From then on, I also dreamt of going to Hollywood. Starting from 2016, I represented his global management, now working with him as a producing partner since 2017. Previously, I was in charge of packaging and selling the movies in CAA film division.


B&C Content Group follows American business model, covering both talent management and production. What preparation steps have you undertook for Don's global projects?

- In 2020, after meeting with various American productions, I founded a U.S.-based production company. The company, formerly known as Gorilla8 Production, gained attention in some headlines. However, we have since rebranded it as Big Punch Global. The projects we have been planning are scheduled for production starting next year.


Your projects starts with the remake of The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, followed by The Trap, and Helldiver

- We are co-producing The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil with Sylvester Stallone’s production company, Director James Wan’s production company and with Paramount Pictures. I want to quickly emphasize how we met Sylvester Stallone; when it came down to remaking The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, the most important condition was that Don had to be the lead character. We wanted to join hands with agency that acknowledges his talents as producer and as the lead-actor and values him as Asian action star. Sylvester Stallone “Hyung-nim (a Korean word for big brother whom you respect a lot)” appreciated these conditions. We are right now hiring the staff writers, and the studios are suggesting amazing group of writers.


Why have Hollywood studios chosen to invest in Don Lee's projects?

- Korean films are getting more attention for their incredible quality. Still, when it comes down to Studios with big production, the most important thing is number. To give you an example, The Roundup’s budget hovered around 6 million USD, but retrieved around 12 million USD, meaning that it worth 100 million USD adjusting the exchange rate. Considering the size of Korean market, in U.S. this film will worth 500 million USD at least. Even in the worst-case scenario where The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil doesn't perform as strongly as anticipated, there must have been a calculation indicating that we could still recoup sufficiently, particularly with the support of the Asian and Korean audience.


Don must be busy with his Korean schedule; how is he contacting the Hollywood studios?

- Since 2017, we have been making one or two business trips to the U.S. each year. During each trip, we assess the projects requiring attention for that particular year. Since the Eternals, he has been garnering a lot of attention, and now when we stay in a hotel in Hollywood, all the well-known Hollywood production companies come visit. Every time we take a business trip, we meet with at least 30 companies. Recently, we visited Japan as well. After these meetings, we have a weekly online meeting with the local staff and writers. Now that online work and conference calls have become the norm in Hollywood, the process has become much smoother


What’s your take on The Roundup series going into Hollywood?

- The Hollywood remake of The Roundup is confirmed, currently in the pre-production phase. Don will participate in the production but will not take on a starring role in the movie. Right now, we are pitching the project with the A-list actors in Hollywood at the center. If this project becomes a box office hit, Don might star in the American version of The Roundup.


Are there plans for other Hollywood franchises with intense action like The Roundup Series?

- There is a project called Non-stop. We are co-planning this project with American production and investment company, Compelling Pictures (produced I Wanna Dance With Somebody), pitching these to the legendary action stars from all over the Asia. Don Lee planned the whole concept from the start to the end. Although other giant studios showed interest in this project, we decided to join hands with an indie production company, Compelling Pictures in order to secure our IP rights. If Non-stop project goes well, it can be developed into a series and/or be expanded into a TV series. We have a high hope as we will be joined not only by Hollywood actors but by top fighters from Asia including Jet Li, Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais.


What other hidden projects are you working on?

- We are very eager to work on 5 hitmen. The goal is to finish the first draft by the summer. This is the first project a Hollywood producer pitched to us. It’s a thriller about a hitman, hired by a Chinese multimillionaire to kill his nemesis, hiring another hitman, who hires yet another hitman, which makes a chain of hitman. Don Lee’s incredible pitch to this logline made a 5-page long project proposal to which Annapurna pictures showed interest. Our vision is to develop this into a franchise as well as to diversify the IP into videogame and a TV spinoff series.


How many projects are you planning right now?
- Currently, we can publicly talk about 15 projects with 5 of them moving at an accelerated pace. It is marvelous how we can work on various projects simultaneously. And that’s how our Hollywood partners describe Don: infinitely creative.

Written by Somi Kim

Translated by Gyeong Yeon Kim


Republication, copying or redistribution by any means is prohibited without the prior permission of KOFIC and the original news source.
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