The Spy: Undercover Operation

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The Spy: Undercover Operation
The Spy Undercover Operation poster.jpg
Revised RomanizationSeu-pa-i
Directed byLee Seung-jun
Written byPark Soo-jin
Yoon Je-kyoon
StarringSol Kyung-gu
Moon So-ri
Daniel Henney
Go Chang-seok
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Release date
  • September 5, 2013 (2013-09-05)
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$8.9 million
Box officeUS$22.5 million[1]

The Spy: Undercover Operation (Korean스파이; RRSeu-pa-i; lit. "Spy") is a 2013 South Korean action comedy film about an agent (Sol Kyung-gu) who is undercover in a foreign country while his wife (Moon So-ri) has no idea what he does for a living.[2][3][4]

The early working title was Mister K (Korean미스터K; RRMiseuteo K; MRMisŭt‘ŏ K).[5][6]


Chul-soo is the greatest secret agent in South Korea, but at home he is a loving husband who's intimidated by his flight attendant wife Young-hee, who thinks her husband is a normal office worker.

One day, Chul-soo tells his wife that he'll be going to Busan for business, but actually travels with his department head Jin to Bangkok, Thailand to carry out a top secret operation with national ramifications. While in Bangkok, Chul-soo spots his wife Young-hee (who is supposed to be in Korea) with a good-looking man named Ryan. Chul-soo has his hands full with his mission, but also decides to follow his wife...



Lee Myung-se was originally attached as the film's director, then-titled Mister K.[10][11] In May 2012, production company JK Film (run by CEO/film director Yoon Je-kyoon) filed a copyright lawsuit against Lee, claiming he had "illegally and secretly registered" himself as the film's copyright holder through the Korea Copyright Commission website after he quit the project in April 2012. The legal battle was sparked after JK Film had a series of conflicts with Lee over the film's concept. Cineastes and critics had been excited about the rare collaboration between Lee and Yoon ― two influential figures in the Korean film industry who are very different from each other. Yoon is known for his commercial blockbusters Haeundae (2009) and Sector 7 (2011), while Lee is famous for his aesthetically conscious mise-en-scene and style shown in Duelist (2005) and M (2007). However, the producers and Lee had several artistic and creative differences during the early days of shooting in South Korea and Thailand. JK Film alleged that Lee refused to follow the original script, making significant deviations that were no longer appropriate to an action adventure film, and completely ignored every cinematic and stylistic request from the producer: "The film was going to be an action comedy with realistic characters, something like the James Bond series. But director Lee got rid of entire script lines and shot each scene in a rather serene and lyrical way. They weren't what we initially had in mind as its producers." JK Film resumed shooting in mid-May 2012, and Lee was replaced by rookie filmmaker Lee Seung-jun (he was assistant director for two of JK Film’s blockbusters Haeundae and Quick).[12][13]

Director Lee Myung-se and his company, Production M, did not comment.


  1. ^ "Hyupsang Gonggyulja". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  2. ^ Conran, Pierce (29 August 2013). "In Focus: The Spy: Undercover Operation". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  3. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (6 August 2013). "THE SPY: UNDERCOVER OPERATION Press Conference Was Held". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  4. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (30 August 2013). "Daniel Henney returns as hot spy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  5. ^ Park, So-Jung (10 February 2012). "Sul Kyung-gu, Moon Sori, Daniel Henney cast in film Mister K". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  6. ^ "Seol Kyeong-gu, Moon So-ri, Daniel Henney and Ko Chang-seok cranks in with Mr.K". Hancinema. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  7. ^ "Daniel Henney to Act as Villain in Mr. K". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  8. ^ "Daniel Henney to Return with New Film". The Chosun Ilbo. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
  9. ^ Jang, Sung-ran (6 September 2013). "Henney drawn to ugly character in Spy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  10. ^ Beck, Una (2 May 2011). "JIFF: Lee Myung-se says will win back male audience with next pic". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  11. ^ Frater, Patrick (29 February 2012). "Lee OK for Mr K". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  12. ^ Lee, Claire (8 May 2012). "JK Film sues director over copyright". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  13. ^ Frater, Patrick (10 May 2012). "CJ reassures over problem films". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.

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