To pull it off, he simply had to go strolling across that goddamn minefield we mentioned earlier. But hell, he was depressed enough that the very good chance of becoming an airborne rain of dog chow didn't deter him. He wandered off toward that certain death, and his silhouette on the horizon was the last anyone saw of him.
Until 2006, that is, when British filmmakers Dan Gordon and Nick Bonner, two of the very few foreigners who are allowed to film in North Korea, came face to face with the miraculously still-alive Joe Dresnok. According to the filmmakers, "It would have been less surprising to meet Elvis Presley."
Kim Jung-Il only lets Elvis out once a year.
Surprising, perhaps, to the outside world, but not to North Koreans. It turns out that Joe Dresnok is one of the biggest movie stars in North Korea. See, the DPRK does have a film industry, though pretty much all of the movies they produce are anti-American state propaganda, and none of them are rated very highly on Netflix. Because they're not on Netflix. Or anywhere else outside of North Korea, for that matter. But being one of the very few white people in the country, Dresnok is a very valuable asset to the industry. He's the token bad guy. But, like the late Christopher Lee, that doesn't mean that he's any less beloved by fans.
Dresnok has fathered two adult sons during his life in the DPRK, Ted and James, after marrying maybe the only white woman in the country -- a former Romanian, who may or may not have been abducted by North Korea for the express purpose of giving Dresnok a white wife. When they're not spouting propaganda on the state-controlled media, Ted and James are themselves filling the much-needed roles of white-people-who-get-killed-by-North-Korean-ninjas in Koreawood blockbusters. Happy ending?
Zachary Frey is a Sophomore at Cornell University, and you can read his 10 most recent articles here.
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