We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: the late-era Joseon Dynasty is a deep well of inspiration, and filmmakers by the handful have been dipping their buckets.
In his next feature, director Hur Jin-ho will be going as-late-as-chronologically-possible-era Joseon Dynasty with THE LAST PRINCESS. Working again with Son Ye-jin in the starring role – a collaboration which hasn’t occurred since APRIL SNOW a decade ago – Hur Jin-ho’s movie will adapt the 2009 Kwon Bi-young novel Princess Deokhye, which traced the tumultuous life of the last woman of the Joseon Dynasty who could call herself royalty.
Born at the cusp of Japan’s foray into brutal imperialism, the youngest daughter of King Gojong became an enduring symbol of the country’s hope to come through the colonization. Princess Dukhye witnessed firsthand her royal lineage’s crumbling power, and despite her father’s best efforts to protect her, his sudden and suspicious death resulted in her being sent to Japan, as her brothers had been, where she was married off to a Count of low rank and no influence. Heartache and homesickness began affecting her health, and the Princess became despondent, depressed, and was eventually diagnosed with dementia. Yet in the face of these circumstances, her love of her homeland never wavered, and she became a focus of activists and nationalists who wanted their country returned to their control.
The movie will focus on the Princess’s experiences during these times, as well as those who sought to protect and aid her. Besides Son Ye-jin, the will also feature Park Hae-il starring as a loyal and kindhearted man who devoted his life to the princess. Filming has been ongoing since September, and while details (as they too often are at this stage) are scarce, the cast, crew, story, and everything else surrounding the project have definitely made THE LAST PRINCESS a movie to watch out for in 2016.