On the Set of Operation Chromite

Recently I had the great pleasure of visiting the filming location for the upcoming Korean War movie Operation Chromite, which is going to be released later this summer.  It was exciting to meet the cast and crew and to step back into history.

I enjoyed meeting the producers, director, and actors of the movie!

Operation Chromite, also known as the Battle of Incheon, was a General MacArthur-led, four-day invasion by U.S. forces – aided by Koreans and Japanese – into territory held by the North in September 1950.  Its success was largely attributed to MacArthur’s unbending determination to move ahead with his plan, his way.  More than merely re-taking a piece of land, Operation Chromite was able to expose a soft spot in the underbelly of the North’s plans for overtaking the entire Korean Peninsula, and is seen as having successfully disrupted North Korea’s significant momentum early in the war.

Original movie poster

What I find particularly interesting about this film, though, is that the exclusive focus is not on General MacArthur, played by Liam Neeson, but instead on a group of brave Korean heroes who participated in Operation X-Ray, the intelligence-gathering operation that made the landing of U.S. forces possible.  For South Koreans, I imagine this movie will instill pride, and it will remind moviegoers – both in this country and my own – just how well our two great nations work together, no matter how harsh the conditions or difficult the mission. 

Sitting in Liam Neeson’s chair

Commemorating my visit to the movie set

During my visit, director John Lee and co-producer Kyu-chang Lee gave me a sneak peek at the film’s eight-minute trailer.  Though what I saw was still set against a green screen (the effects hadn’t been added yet), I got a real sense of the high quality of the film and how interesting the final product will be.  I also had the chance to tour the set of Kim Il-Sung’s office, the props for which appeared to be straight out of the Soviet era.

A sneak peek at an eight-minute trailer with the producers

John Lee, a Korean-American director and graduate of NYU’s film school, is known for films such as The Cut Runs Deep and A Moment to Remember.  I learned that he grew up in suburban Maryland, near where I used to live.  Co-producer Lee Kyu-chang told me that he played football at the University of Washington (I still like him even though the UW Huskies are a rival of my Stanford Cardinals – just kidding) and noted that he had played a role in casting Liam Neeson for the movie.  The executive producer, Jung Tae-won, is creating a fantastic film, and  the actors, including Lee Jung-jae, Park Chul-min, and Shin Su-hyang, were quite impressive and have so many high quality film credits to their name.  

Thanks again to all for the warm and enthusiastic hospitality during our visit to the set of Operation Chromite. This is a great example of Koreans and Americans working together on a fabulous cultural project.  I can’t wait to watch the final version once it is released later this year!


  1. Thanks Ambassador Lippert for your inside story of the upcoming Operation Chromite movie. It is great to see Korean Americans involved in key roles to create a movie about the joint efforts of not just US and Korean forces but also the Japanese (which I was not previously aware of until your blog post). The timing of the movie could not be better as it will hopefully inspire closer ties again with the same forces to jointly push North Korea to a diplomatic resolution.

    It's just a movie but one that I feel will show how even with cultural differences and painful (5 years) animosity of the Japanese occupation, a unified group can defeat whatever North Korea tries to launch at Korea or the world.

  2. To clarify I meant to say that only "5 years" had passed since the end of WWII and the start of the Korean war but to see the Japanese also helping in Operation Chromite was a surpirse.

  3. To clarify I meant to say that only "5 years" had passed since the end of WWII and the start of the Korean war but to see the Japanese also helping in Operation Chromite was a surpirse.


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