Prosecutors: S. Korean director investigated in abuse case

FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2015 photo, South Korean director Kim Ki-duk speaks during an interview at the Busan International Film Festival in Busan, South Korea. South Korean prosecutors are investigating award-winning film director Kim Ki-duk after an actress accused him of hitting her and trying to force her into shooting off-script sexual scenes while making a 2013 movie. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean prosecutors are investigating award-winning film director Kim Ki-duk after an actress accused him of hitting her and trying to force her into shooting off-script sexual scenes while making a 2013 movie.

An official from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Thursday said the director will be questioned but it hasn't been determined when. The identity of the actress was withheld. The prosecution official spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules.

In a statement released through his production company, Kim said he might have hit the actress while instructing her in acting, but said he has no "accurate memory" of the incident. He vaguely denied trying to force her into filming off-script scenes, saying there had been a "misunderstanding."

Kim didn't answer repeated phone calls seeking comment before turning off his cellphone.

Ahn Byung-ho, an official from the Federation of Korea Movie Workers' Union, said the actress dropped out from the filming after Kim allegedly abused her, and recently reported the case to the union after suffering from "psychological pain" for years.

The movie, "Moebius," a dark and violent story about an estranged family, was released in 2013 after Kim finished filming with a different actress.

In the statement, Kim said he either hit the actress while taking the place of her acting counterpart or slapped his own face while instructing her on how to act in a scene portraying a violent exchange between a male character and his wife.

"This is not an accurate memory because it was four years ago," Kim wrote.

Kim won the top prize in the Venice Film Festival with his 2012 film "Pieta," a brutal mother-and-son tale of revenge and redemption. While his movies often garner critical acclaim, many moviegoers, especially women, consider them to be disturbing because of excessive violence and depictions of rape and castration.

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