Crew had to catch snakes on Magnificent 7 set: Lee

ASSASSIN ROLE: Lee plays Billy Rocks, a knife-wielding assassin who is one of the seven cowboys in the movie.


    Sep 14, 2016

    Crew had to catch snakes on Magnificent 7 set: Lee


    ACCORDING to Lee Byung Hun, his character in the latest rendition of Western flick The Magnificent Seven is both "stylish and weighty".

    While it is not every day that an Asian actor stars as one of the main protagonists in a Hollywood blockbuster, he said he was not too preoccupied with the nature of the role.

    "I don't necessarily prefer playing a villain or a protagonist," he added at the press screening for the film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, on Monday in Seoul.

    "For an actor, it's more appealing to play a well-written villain than a poorly-written protagonist."

    In the film, Lee stars as Billy Rocks, a mysterious and lethal knife-wielding assassin who fights for justice, rubbing shoulders with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.

    Shooting in the Louisiana swamps was not easy, he said.

    "There were crew members who were in charge of just catching snakes that came to the set," he revealed.

    Co-star Pratt would spend his free time fishing in the swamps and ask the chef on the set to prepare it for lunch, Lee recalled.

    It is the sixth time he is starring in a Hollywood film, and the second time he is in a Western, after 2008's The Good, The Bad, The Weird by Kim Jee Woon, which director Fuqua had seen, Lee said.

    "He's a very open director. He was even open to (actors) creating new scenes that weren't in the script," he said.

    Meanwhile, Fuqua said of Lee via video message: "He's so cool, his look is very unique.

    "He came up and we talked and right away, I thought, 'He's a cool guy.'"

    Lee's character is engaged in a bromance of sorts with the washed-out sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux, played by Hawke.

    "We became good friends in real life," Lee said of Hawke.

    "When we weren't filming, we would have a drink together. I used to be a fan of his so becoming his friend was a great experience."

    The film is a modern remake of the 1960 movie of the same title. It premiered on Sept 8 at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

    "There are so many superhero films these days with computer graphic effects and blue screens," said Lee.

    "But acting out all the action sequences in real life in an analogue fashion was extremely difficult," he added.