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"Gabi" depicts the assassination attempt of King Gojong (Park Hee-Soon) - the 26th king of the Joseon Dynasty. Set towards the end of the 19th century, when coffee was first introduced to Korea, Russian sharpshooter Illichi (Joo Jin-Mo) and Joseon's first barista Danya (Kim So-Yeon) are manipulated by Japanese officer Sadako (Yoo-Sun) into an elaborate plan to assassinate King Gojong.
Danya and Illichi are lovers who work together in Russian swindling gold and coffee from their unsuspecting victims. The duo are captured by Russian soldiers and eventually handed over to Japanese officer Sadoko (Yoo-Sun). Sadako then recruits Illichi and Danya into operation "Gabi". The goal is to assassinate Korea's Emperor Gojong. The penalty for their failure is death.
Meanwhile, King Gojong hides out on the premises of a Russian legation after his wife is killed by Japanese assassins. King Gojong works on staging the future Korean Empire.
- Budget was originally estimated at 10,000,000,000 ₩ ($8.8 million USD), but later reduced in half to 5,000,000,000 ₩.
- Movie is based on the novel “Russian Coffee” by Kim Tak Hwan (first published on July 6, 2009). "Russian Coffee" is a fictionalized story based in a historical setting.
- Actress Lee Da-Hae was originally cast as lead female character "Danya," but dropped out of filming. By March, 2011 actress Kim So-Yeon accepted the role vacated by Lee Da-Hae. Production company Ocean Film later sued actress Lee Da-Hae for dropping out of the filming. On September 3, 2012, the Seoul Central District Court ruled Lee Da-Hae should pay 21 million won ($18,600 USD) to the production company for breaking her verbal agreement to work on the movie 10 days prior to filming.
- Filming took place from March 29, 2011 - September 2, 2011, taking 5 months to finish. From March 29-August 22, 2011 shooting took place in South Korea and August 26-September 2, 2011 shooting took place in Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia.
- Movie title "Gabi" refers to what Koreans first called "Coffee" when it was introduced during the Joseon Dynasty.
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