BookDrunk Radio: ‘A Kim Jong-Il Production’ Author Paul Fischer



We couldn’t get the Frotcast crew together for a proper Frotcast this past week, but I did interview Paul Fischer ‘A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power.’ While it’s not the same thing as a normal Frotcast, I did go all Teri Gross for a Fresh Air-style, hour-long interview. The book tells the story of Choi Eun-Hee and Shin Sang-Ok, who at one point were the most popular actress and director in South Korea. They were kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il in 1978, and after Shin tried to escape twice and spent five years in North Korean gulags, he eventually got out, was reunited with Choi (his ex-wife at that point) and they made seven movies for Kim Jong-Il, including the so-bad-it’s-good cult classic, Pulgasari. They tried to make movies good enough that they’d be in Jong-Il’s good graces, so that he eventually gave them just enough freedom that they were able to escape back to the west. Shin eventually went to Hollywood and made a few movies, including ‘3 Ninjas Knuckle Up.’ I talk to Fischer about North Korea, parallels betwen North Korea and Scientology, The Interview, his personal experience in North Korea, and all about himself, writing the book, Kim Jong-Il, and everything else. Enjoy.


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