|From left, director Choi Dong-hoon and actors Lim Soo-jung, Gang Dong-won, Kim Yoon-suk and Yoo Hae-jin pose during a photo session of a press conference for their film "Woochi" held at a CJ CGV theater in Seoul, South Korea on December 14, 2009. [Zip Cinema]|
"Woochi" is more than ready to become this winter's hit film with its A-list cast and crew including director Choi Dong-hoon and actors Gang Dong-won, Kim Yoon-suk and Lim Soo-jung. But "Woochi" remains more faithful to its copy that it is about 'the first Korean superhero' than shining light on its stars. The film focused more on showing its action and special effects rather than director Kim's trademark fast-paced sequences and the style of individual characters stood out more than their space for acting. Hence, this film may not meet up to the expectations of those who were looking forward to director Choi's unique style. Will the Korean superhero be able to claim its victory? The director and cast turned up at a press conference held at a CJ CGV theater in Seoul on December 14 to talk about "Woochi."
Q: What was the story that you wanted to tell with "Woochi"?
Choi Dong-hoon (Choi): The first thing I wanted to do was bring out the attractiveness of Woochi's character. And I also wanted to show that artists in a later generation can use stories from the past. I felt a renewed value in our classical literature.
Q: "Woochi" claims to stand justice for Korean superhero pics. How did you portray Woochi as a Korean superhero?
Gang Dong-won (Gang): The characteristics about Woochi are that he is someone who acts like a snob and wears traditional Korean clothes so I paid careful attention to how I move to express the gracefulness of the attire. I also made larger curved motions in the scenes I had to act drunk.
Choi: I usually don't watch other movies before shooting my own film but I became depressed for a bit after watching "Dark Knight" because I thought I wouldn't be able to shoot a film like it. I guess the difference is that Hollywood's heros are concerned about realistic issues while there is more satire and humor to Korean heroes. I wanted to express the unique impudence of Koreans.
Q: What was it about "Woochi" that you were attracted to?
Gang: Director Choi called for me when I had been thinking that I want to work on a fun movie. So I didn't hesitate much in deciding to take this on. I had become emotionally drained while formerly having worked on several serious films so I had been thirsty for a fun film.
Q: Do you think you've brightened up while working on "Woochi"?
Gang: Filming "Woochi" was tough but I had so much fun that it wasn't as bad as other films I've worked on. And I think I've become more talkative. After having hung out a lot with my senior actors, I think my personality has livened up and I talk more.
|From left, actor Gang Dong-won and actress Lim Soo-jung attend a press conference for their film "Woochi" held at a CJ CGV theater in Seoul, South Korea on December 14, 2009. [Zip Cinema]|
Q: A lot of elements, apart from the storyline, exist "Woochi" -- such as action and comedy. How did you weave everything in?
Choi: I decided to make a film out of Woochi because I had so much fun making up stories about him and telling them to my nephew. I thought the most important thing would be to make the story move forward. And I had the actors use dialect from the old days... I liked how it was more powerful. As for the humor, I think the actors themselves did a good job of being funny rather than to say that it was all planned.
Q: Your previous works such as "The Big Swindle" and "The War of Flower" were composed of very fast cuts but "Woochi" is composed mainly of long sequences. Is there a reason this changed?
Choi: I had wanted to go with long sequences for this movie from the very start. That's why one of them goes on for over 30 minutes. I wanted to extend each sequence for as long as possible so I could put more into it.
Q: There was a kissing scene between Lim Soo-jung and Kim Yoon-suk. How was it? (laugh)
Kim Yoon-suk (Kim): Am I the only one who will have to say something about this? Not Lim? (laugh) We had to shoot the kissing scene in two locations and I made a lot of bloopers. It was my first time (shooting a kissing scene.) (laugh) And I had to put my thumb into Lim's mouth so her stylist stood waiting beside us with mouthwash and wet tissue. (laugh) Anyhow, it was good. I think I'd be able to do romantic films too. (laugh)
Lim: It was an important scene for me because it was where my character would be pulling out her desires from within her. It was good for me too. (laugh) And I got to kiss two people [Gang Dong-won and Kim Yoon-suk] but not Yoo Hae-jin... (laugh)
Q: The posters for films "The Warriors", "Beat" and "There is No Sun" appear in your movie. Why so the films by director Kim Sung-soo?
Choi: First of all, I really like Korean film posters. And Kim was the person who told me that my movie "The War of Flower" was a real action film... I just really like him a lot.
|From left, actors Kim Yoon-suk and Yoo Hae-jin attend a press conference for their film "Woochi" held at a CJ CGV theater in Seoul, South Korea on December 14, 2009. [Zip Cinema]|
Q: The ending of the film gave off the vibe that there might be a sequel.
Gang: Director Choi joked around that I should try writing the scenario for the sequel, should he get to shoot one. And so I told him that if I wrote it, I would have a director fall from the top of building 63City. (laugh) I think we'd have an easier time filming a sequel since we have experience working with each other now. But then again, I thought this film itself was going to be easy to shoot.(laugh)
Yoo Hae-jin (Yoo): I'd definitely want to do one because I had so much fun.
Lim: I think the same way too and I personally hope for my character Seo In-kyung to appear as a stronger figure.
Q: Any final words?
Choi: I started shooting this film wondering whether I'd be able to finish it. But I started thinking toward the latter half that we'd had fun. I think I'd be happy if the audience feels even a bit entertained by the movie.
Lim: Action was the focus of this movie so I think less of director Choi's personal taste and thoughts were injected into the movie. I wish there had been more of that and I would like to work with him again if I got the chance to.
Gang: I'm most curious to know what the audience will think. I hope they enjoy it. We worked hard on this and invested a lot of time into it so I hope it does well.
Kim: I too am curious to know how it is for the viewers. And I'm wondering till when Choi will cast me as the bad guy. (laugh) But I like playing the bad guy for Choi's movies because the character has an attractive double-sidedness to him -- a certain ... I guess I can't do anything about it if he wants me to play the bad guy again next time. (laugh)
Yoo: I'm the worst speaker here. (laugh) Everything that everyone just said ahead of me is how I feel right now too. (laugh)