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February 18 2019

 

[INTERVIEW] Lee Jung-jae less flamboyant in 'Svaha' 

 

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Lee Jung-jae poses prior to an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Seoul, Monday. / Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

 

By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times

 

Veteran actor Lee Jung-jae, who instantly shot to stardom with his silent bodyguard role in 1995 drama "Sandglass," has starred in many dramas and films, portraying strong and attractive characters in slick black suits.

 

Looking at his recent work, the 46-year-old actor seems to have taken off some weight and become "less flamboyant." 

 

The star of "The Handmaiden" (2010) has appeared in the mega-hit "Along with the Gods" film series as a supporting actor, and in his latest thriller "Svaha: The Sixth Finger," it seems his focus has been getting viewers to follow the plot, rather than admiring the actor himself. 

 

"Viewers always expect something new. So basically, I tend to try new characters. I've received many offers for manly, strong characters like a detective and a secret agent, but I decided to join this film because I thought as an actor I can bring something new to the table," Lee said during an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Seoul, Monday. 

 

"Pastor Park has been inspired by a real figure, a pastor who investigates various allegations involving cults and brings up the issue on TV shows. After I heard of the character from the director, I was intrigued by the story right away and I thought it would help expand my cinematic career."

 

"Svaha: The Sixth Finger," directed by Jang Jae-hyun, tells the story of the philistine pastor Park, played by Lee, who runs a research center and tracks down cult groups for money. Encountering murder cases involving a mysterious Buddhist cult called the "Deer Farm" and twin sisters, the pastor strives to find the truth. 

 

The film's director received critical acclaim for triggering an Occult genre boom in the local cinema scene, with his 2015 box office hit "The Priests" about Catholic exorcism. 

 

"It is a mystery thriller. Although the film shows elements of Buddhism and Christianity, I wouldn't say it is about religion. In the story weaved like a labyrinth, it takes religion with it," the actor said. "It is actually a story about faith between people."

 

Lee is taking on the thriller genre for the first time in his 26-year acting career. He works hard to portray the pastor who seems snobbish and skeptical but in reality is a person who desperately wants to see the presence of God with his own eyes in a cruel world. 

 

Although he is a seasoned actor, Lee said it was hard to find the right tone for his character. "The director said my character should be viewed as light in the beginning. There was a certain tone and nuance the director wanted me to pick up, which was very different from what I did in my previous work. So I initially thought I would catch it with two or three rehearsals, but I happened to do more than that," he said. 

 

"I try to act reflecting what the director wants me to do to the every detail as perfectly as I can. When I thought rehearsals were not enough, I asked the director to film demonstration video clips. When I was at home, I watched them and practiced acting looking at the directional points, in order to remember that I should not replicate my previous acting style but build an entirely new character."

 

"Some people would ask why. But I think two heads are better than one and I tend to ask and listen to what others read in my character. I think I should do anything if that can improve my acting," the actor said. 

 

He said the film is about faith. "There are so many people who sell their stories as truth. A cult member in a precarious situation grabs the helping hand extended out to him in firm belief, but as everything turns out to be a lie, he fiercely fights to undo what he did wrong against an insurmountable evil force. He crumbles evil with his willpower," the actor said.

 

The film will hit local theaters Wednesday.


jinhai@koreatimes.co.kr 

 

Spoiler

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[Movie Review] 'Svaha,' horrifying mystery thriller about religious exploitation

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February 21, 2019

 

HanCinema's News

Lee Jung-jae From "The New World" to "Svaha: The Sixth Finger"

 

By William Schwartz HanCinema.net

 

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The marketing behind "Svaha: The Sixth Finger" has released stills highlighting Lee Jung-jae's career trajectory. From being a gangster in "The New World" to a prince in "The Face Reader" to an assassin in "The Assassination" to, now, a paranormal investigator in "Svaha: The Sixth Finger", his career has had a lot of variance.


In "Svaha: The Sixth Finger", his latest movie, Lee Jung-jae takes on the role of Pastor Park, a man who is investigating members of a strange deer-related cult. Pastor Park himself is accused of running his own cult, as his teachings get into strange occult territory.

 

"Svaha: The Sixth Finger" has taken the early lead at the box office going into the weekend. It had 144,495 admissions on Thursday for a current total of 336,683, followed by "Extreme Job" and then "Innocent Witness".

 

The movie's strange tone has been polarizing, although on balance viewers appear to like it. The Naver user rating is currently 8.58 and the Daum user rating is sitting at 7.9. I will post a more detailed review of "Svaha: The Sixth Finger" on Sunday.

 

Written by William Schwartz

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February 25, 2019

 

Film 'Svaha' tops domestic box office [VIDEO]


By Dong Sun-hwa The Korea Times

 

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Occult film "Svaha: The Sixth Finger" has topped the domestic box office. Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

 

Mystery thriller "Svaha: The Sixth Finger" has topped the domestic box office for five consecutive days as of Monday, mustering over 1.1 million admissions in its first week. 

Released on Wednesday, the 122-minute movie sold more than 660,000 tickets during the weekend. 

 

The occult film starring first-rate actor Lee Jung-jae revolves around a Christian pastor surnamed Park who bumps into enigmatic figures and incidents while tracking a secretive Buddhist cult. The title "Svaha" is a Sanskrit word used in Buddhism that conveys the similar meaning as "amen."

 

Watch the movie teaser at: bit.ly/2EwwrSo

 

Jang Jae-hyun, the director of the film who established his presence with the hit "The Priests" in 2015, said: "In my opinion, 'Svaha' is a classical movie. The viewers may feel they are reading a fictional mystery."

 

Comedy film "Extreme Job," which has attracted over 15 million viewers and has become the second biggest all-time hit in Korea, was ranked No. 2 at the box office. 


sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr 

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