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THE WARRIOR'S WAY

About The Production
With The Warrior's Way, writer and director Sngmoo Lee has created a film that reflects his own unique background—a balance of Eastern and Western cultures and cinematic traditions. Raised in Korea and educated at the prestigious New York University film program, Lee easily references a wide range of film genres, from timeless cowboy adventures and martial arts extravaganzas to "spaghetti Westerns” and classic gangster films, when speaking about his English language film debut.

First and foremost, says the director, the film is intended to be rousing entertainment. "My goal was to make an extremely cool action movie with some emotion and brain attached to it,” he says. "I always appreciate some sadness in the humor and some intelligence in the action, and vice versa. For me, the heyday of the cinema was the 1950s, '60s and '70s, when they were making art films that were enjoyable and appealing to the mass audience.”

The first to recognize the potential international appeal of The Warrior's Way was Korean producer Jooick Lee, highly regarded in Asia for his expertise in producing crossterritorial films. "This is not a typical, formulaic film,” says Lee. "It's unique and fresh, with some never-before-seen elements that are combined in the right way and at the right time to make a really great film.”

Producer Lee brought the script to the attention of Barrie M. Osborne, who has produced some of the most unconventional and visually innovative epics in recent memory, including the Lord of the Rings franchise and The Matrix. "I liked the cross-cultural insights of The Warrior's Way,” he says. "Introducing Asian assassins into the Old West is a novel idea. The movie transports the audience to an imaginative world with a very Asian point of view. It's a broad, action-packed adventure with a tragic love story at its heart.”

In turn, Osborne brought in Michael Peyser, a producer he has known since they were both young filmmakers in New York. "I thought the script was absolutely beautiful,” says Peyser. "It isn't like any other movie I've ever seen. Sngmoo has written some very popular movies in Korea, and he also lived in New York for years. He embodies the Asian tradition and the western tradition brought together.

"The movie is about a hero who undertakes an epic journey and discovers other characters in crisis, which is a tradition of both Asian warrior movies and classic cowboy movies,” he continues. "Sngmoo has brought them together in a way that is incredibly fresh.”

The unexpected twists that Lee built into his script elevate the film beyond a traditional action adventure, says Peyser. "It's an epic warrior story,” he says. "It's a love story. It's a story that has great depth and texture. But the best thing about it is that it seems to be headed exactly where a Western or a Samurai movie would normally go and then it doesn't go there. The characters don't act the way we expect them to. They act on something deeper, something they've just discovered.

"For example, the hero's last assignment was to kill this baby, the sole surviving member of his clan's adversaries,” continues Peyser. "He makes the decision that determines his future because of a baby's laugh. That moment is enough to spark the intense and emotional odyssey of the warrior Yang and the baby April. In the process, he falls in love with an American woman, and has to make a choice between being with the love of his life and protecting her.”

Geoffrey Rush, who plays the pivotal role of Ron, the seemingly innocuous town boozer, calls The Warrior's Way "an Asian perspective on the rich history and heritage of the American western.”

"The film is like a great fable,” says the Oscar®-winning actor. "It's so pure. There are so many beautiful and disturbing images as well as enormous storytelling energy to it that is timeless and universal.”

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