TIL Kim Jong Il once kidnapped the biggest South Korean director and movie star (who were also ex-husband and wife) and brought them to North Korea to make movies for him. They escaped by convincing him to let them go abroad to promote the North Korean film industry.

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There’s a documentary from 2016 about this that was on Netflix a while ago, The Lovers and The Despot. It may still be on there. There’s so much to this that sounds insane, it’s hard not to laugh because it actually happened…but then you realize how scary it is because it actually happened.


Just watched an interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone where they said that this was going to be a side plot if Team America, but they ended up thinking that it sounded too outlandish.


The book about it called “A Kim Jong-Il Production” by Paul Fischer is really good. Provides some really cool insights into the story and North Korea at the time. I definetly recommend it!


Shin Sangok didnt return to South Korea *until* (edited: i left out a word) long after he had escaped in Vienna. He was worried that he would be considered a spy or a potential security risk, so he lived in the US for a while and continued to produce, write, and direct films. Among them were some of my childhood favorites, like the 3 ninjas kick back. Simon Sheen was his american “pen name.” Which is also why 90s Korean pop music features heavily despite the setting in Japan. Shin wrote and produced the film, and wanted to insert a bit of his home into the music. Also, seotaiji was wildly popular back then and was changing the Korean music scene almost single handedly. I was 6 and already singing his songs at karaoke.


Romantic comedy plot