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Teaser trailer for Like the Moon Escaping From Clouds

March 4th, 2010 // by javabeans

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Coming from King and the Clown director Lee Jun-ik, the new film Like the Moon Escaping From Clouds has been drawing buzz for a while now. The production released a new teaser trailer on March 4, which largely features two of its four main actors facing off against each other: Hwang Jung-min as a blind swordsman and Cha Seung-won as a leader of rebellious forces fighting to overturn the strict social order. Cha declares, “Let’s wipe out this rotten world!” and Hwang says, “A swordsman must hide behind his blade.”

The film is set amidst the Japanese invasion of Joseon Korea in 1592, and Han Ji-hye and Baek Sung-hyun (looking remarkably like a young Jung Woo-sung, no?) also star. The movie is planning to release later this year.

Hm, I wonder if the director feels like Chuno stole his thunder. No doubt the stories are completely different, and even the tone (and with such a lineup, I’m going to expect fantastic acting here) — it’s just that the visual splendor of an artistic action sageuk like this is not quite as fresh with Chuno in our recent memories.

Via Sports Khan, thanks to dramabeans.com

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March 4, 2010

‘WE’ are singing for charity

By Hannah Kim Contributing writer via joongangdaily.com / news.nate.com

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Jang Dong-gun said a song he recorded with five other actors, titled “WE,” would soon be released as a CD single. Under the name Actors Choice, Jang, Kim Seung-woo, Hwang Jeong-min, Kong Hyeong-jin, Ji Jin-hee, and Lee Ha-na originally recorded the song, written by popular composer Joo Young-hoon, for an online game. They will donate the profits to charity. The music video will be available for viewing tomorrow on various music sites and on the official Web page for the project.

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Thanks to ay_link at jazzholic.com

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news.nate.com

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news.nate.com

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March 19, 2010

Korean film "Blades of Blood" sold overseas before premiere

Reporter.Lucia Hong Editor.Jessica Kim

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Poster of Korean film "Blades of Blood" [Achim Pictures]

Korean film "Blades of Blood" has been sold to five countries ahead of its release, according to the movie producers Achim Pictures on Friday.

The trailer for "Blades" was shown at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival and five countries -- Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and South America -- purchased the picture which has yet to be released in Korea. The historical movie is based on a comic series by writer Park Heung-yong and was helmed by famed director Lee Jun-ik who has produced other famous works including "The King and the Clown" and "Hwang San Bul." "The King and the Clown" is recorded as the third most-watched film in Korea's box office history.

"Blades of Blood" is about men in the lower class who fight for social equality during the Chosun era. It stars Korean actors Cha Seung-won as Lee Mong-hwak, who wants to become king, and Hwang Jeong-min as Hwang Jeong-hak, a blind man with extraordinary sword-handling abilities.

"Blades" is scheduled to open in Korean theaters on April 29.

Reporter : Lucia Hong luciahong@asiae.co.kr Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr

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March 25, 2010

Hwang Jung-min at "Blades of Blood" press conference

Photographer.Lee Ki-bum Editor.Jessica Kim

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Actor Hwang Jung-min [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]

Actor Hwang Jung-min poses during a photo session of a press conference for film "Blades of Blood" held at Sookmyung Art Center's Theater S in Seoul, South Korea on March 23, 2010.

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Actor Hwang Jung-min [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]

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Actors Hwang Jung-min and Cha Seung-won [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]

From left, actors Hwang Jung-min and Cha Seung-won pose during a photo session of a press conference for film "Blades of Blood" held at Sookmyung Art Center's Theater S in Seoul, South Korea on March 23, 2010.

Photographer: Lee Ki-bum metro83@asiae.co.kr Editor: Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr / 10.asiae.co.kr

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March 25, 2010

Like the Moon Escaping From Cloud’s new preview and posters

March 25th, 2010 // by javabeans

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The first trailer for Like the Moon Escaping From Clouds was released earlier this month, and now a longer preview has come out, along with a couple additional posters.

The historical action film pits main characters Cha Seung-won and Hwang Jung-min against each other; the former leads a rebellion to overturn the social order, while the latter is a blind swordsman who believes in protecting the world. Cha is of royal blood but was born illegitimate, and now vows to take the throne.

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Meanwhile, Han Ji-hye’s Baek-ji is characterized by sadness over a departed lover, and Baek Sung-hyun plays a young man determined to pay back his enemy. As the preview opens, Cha Seung-won says, “I didn’t dream this dream that we would all live together.” Hwang Jung-min returns, “This is a dream that we all die together!”

Like the Moon Escaping From Clouds is scheduled for an April 29 release.

Despite this preview being longer, I think I preferred the first, which explained less but made a stronger impression. On the upside, we get to see more of the cast in this one, and the acting looks strong all around.

Via My Daily / dramabeans.com

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April 6, 2010

The 3 most anticipated screen star comeback

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The blind swordsman Hwang Jung-min / Blades of Blood

Pure and provocative 'Maid' Jeon Do-yeon / The Housemaid

Never a good cop 'saw demons' Choi Min-sik / I Saw the Devil

Representative Method actor after another on the screen of Korea announces a comeback. Different actors are already on track, this transformation is expected to attract the attention of the audience. The variety of characters and genres of film is intense.

Source: news.nate.com

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April 20, 2010

Traces of Lee Jun-ik's work in "Blades of Blood"

Reporter.Lee Ji-Hye Editor.Lucia Hong

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The cast of "Blades of Blood" from left to right: Hwang Jeong-min, Baek Sung-hyun, Cha Seung-won

and Han Ji-hye [Movie Production company Haneul]

They have all dreamt about the moon that escaped from the clouds. Lee Mong-hak (played by Cha Seung-won) wants to shine as the king who renews the rotten Chosun period and Hwang Jeong-hak (played by Hwang Jeong-min) hopes he can clear away clouds by blocking Lee Mong-hak who took away his conviction and the life of his friend. Kyeon-ja (played by Baek Sung-hyun) wants to overcome the pent-up anger he feels towards Lee Mong-hak who killed his father. And Baek Ji (played by Han Ji-hye) simply wants to walk under the moonlight with the person she loves. However, Kyeon-ja screams "Have you once in your life ever lived in a world like that" and fail to step under the moon's brilliant light.

Traces of the war and laughter from "Hwang San Bul" and love and tragedy from the "King and the Clown," both productions by Lee Jun-ik, can easily be found in his new pic "Blades of Blood." The film resembles “Hwang San Bul” in how the most serious situation and tragedy is melted away by humor and "King and the Clown" when Kyeon-ja cries in a thunderous voice towards the craziness occuring in the palace. However, it is difficult to declare that "Blades of Blood" is director Lee's final masterpiece, just like the saying that it is hard to create a beautiful face with the perfect features. The conflicts amongst the characters are dull enough to seem trite and it cannot be concealed by the beautiful scenery or lyrical music. Will "Blades of Blood" be able to become a different moon for the audience who has already experienced and found joy from the prominent historical drama like "Slave Hunters?" The movie opens in local theaters on April 29.

10: Hwang Jeong-min, you did an excellent job portraying the role of blind swordsman Hwang Jeong-hak, making it seem like you were actually him instead of someone just imitating the role.

Hwang Jeong-min (Hwang): I prepared really hard for this role in my own way. I attended classes at a school for the blind and with their permission, recorded their actions and their eyes with a camcorder. But I'm still just imitating. I think I got lucky in making my acting more refined though by talking with the other actors and the director.

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Korean actor Cha Seung-won and Hwang Jeong-min at the premiere of "Blades of Blood"

[Movie Production company Haneul]

10: Baek Sung-hyun, are you okay even after getting hit in the head a lot by Hwang during filming?

Hwang: The sound effects for when I hit Baek in the head were excellent so that's why they seem more authentic.(laugh)

Baek Sung-hyun (Baek): I was immersed with my role so instead of it being painful it felt refreshing. And for the scenes where I get hit, we wouldn't plan ahead of time on how we would shoot it but Hwang would hit me in different areas depending on how he feels that day. (laugh)

Hwang: So are you saying it hurt or not? (Laugh)

Baek: It hurt a bit. (laugh)

10: Han Ji-hye, compared to your previous roles, I think you would have had a lot to show through your role as Baek Ji. She is is a tough Korean geisha who at the same time is very noble and pure. On top of that you even sang the "Sa Rang Ga," one of the soundtracks to the movie.

Han Ji-hye (Han): All of my scenes that had been shot in the beginning got cut because I didn't act well. But I learned a lot from director Lee by talking to him during the filming. Later on, even he said that it was as if I had really become like Baek Ji and I too enjoyed the process of becoming her. I like it even more now after watching the film. (laugh) For the song, I practiced a lot with music director Kim Soo-chul and we ended up finishing the recording faster than I thought because he said he like the first recording that we did.

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Korean actress Han Ji-hye and actor Baek Sung-hyun at the premiere of "Blades of Blood"

[Movie Production company Haneul]

10: Your character Lee Mong-hak isn't that important relatively in the homonymous original comic. How did you interpret your character for the movie?

Cha Seung-won (Cha): Lee Mong-hak is a very abstract character in the original work. I talked a lot with the director after receiving the scenario for the film -- from light topics to Lee Mong-hak's birth. But honestly, if I said ten things about my character to the director, I think two was about the character and the rest of it about life. (laugh) So we created his character naturally while talking about life. I think the only effort that I put in was keeping in touch with and talking to the director often. (laugh)

10: The cold-hearted Lee Mong-hak, who had left his love and friends to fulfill his dream, tears in the ending scene. It made the ending to the movie even more memorable.

Cha: The director explained how he wanted to show passion from the beginning and more passion towards the end. It was even more so with that scene because it was the last scene we shot. We didn't really talk much about that scene but I think having talked with him about many things helped a lot.

Q: Is there anything you paid attention to in particular to play the role of Lee Mong-hak? Your pointy teeth stand out.

Cha: When I saw the original comic book, I interpreted Lee Mong-hak as a character who has a sense of brutality and savagery within him. Of course, in the film he does show a sensitive side to him, as the romantic who has no choice but to leave the woman he loves, but he also gave off the vibe of a beast so I used a prop for my teeth. I purposely showed the teeth when using the sword so that that aspect of his personality stands out.

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Director of "Blades of Blood" Lee Jun-ik

[Movie Production company Haneul]

Q: Like in your previous films "King and the Clown" and "Hwang San Bul," the king again is showed as weak and far from your ideal ruler in "Blades of Blood."

Lee: A king is sort of a symbol. But he too is just a weak being, ahead of being a king. And when I try to express who the king is, I try to show it by how he reacts to what situation each character is in, so that's why I end up drawing him as a weak and soft person or in a form which deviates from how they are typically shown in cinema.

Q: The original comic focused on the stories surrounding Kyeon-ja but the film adaptation focuses on all four characters.

Lee: The original story was told from the first person's point of view but it was impossible not to give the other characters more weight in the film version if I wanted to talk about that era and the relationships in two hours. Plus it's a film which cost several billions of won to make so I wanted to do more than just tell the story of how a single teenager grows up. At the same time, I also wanted to instill a sense of how much growing pains Kyeon-ja suffered during the ugly times he was living in so I tried to show this by drawing on how much the other characters contributed to Kyeon-ja maturing.

Reporter : Lee Ji-Hye seven@ Editor : Lucia Hong luciahong@ <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr

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Actors Cha Seung-won and Hwang Jeong-min [Park Sung-ki/Asia Economic Daily]

From left, actors Cha Seung-won and Hwang Jeong-min attend a press screening for film "Blades of Blood" held at the COEX Megabox Multiplex theater in Seoul, South Korea on April 19, 2010.

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Actors Baek Sung-hyun and Hwang Jung-min [Park Sung-ki/Asia Economic Daily]

From left, actors Baek Sung-hyun and Hwang Jung-min attend a press screening for film "Blades of Blood" held at the COEX Megabox Multiplex theater in Seoul, South Korea on April 19, 2010.

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Actor Hwang Jeong-min [Park Sung-ki/Asia Economic Daily]

Actor Hwang Jeong-min speaks at a press screening for film "Blades of Blood" held at the COEX Megabox Multiplex theater in Seoul, South Korea on April 19, 2010.

Photographer: Park Sung-Ki musictok@ Editor: Jessica Kim jesskim@ <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr 1 / 2 / 3

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Such a sweet & warmhearted actor :wub:

April 22, 2010

Hwang Jung Min: ‘I Acted Comfortably with My Eyes Closed’

"I did not just want to act the role of a blind man; instead, I wanted to act comfortably while I just closed my eyes,” said actor Hwang Jung Min, who appeared in the movie “Blades of Blood” and demonstrated realistic acting as a blind character. He played the legendary blind swordsman Hwang Jung Hak in the movie, which was filmed against the backdrop of the middle of the Chosun dynasty. The character is a friend of Lee Mong Hak (Cha Seung Won), who has been dreaming of creating a whole new world and instigating a rebellion, but in the end they end up going their separate ways due to different ideologies regarding the uprising.

In a recent interview held in a café located in Gangnam, Hwang Jung Min said, “Instead of trying to be a blind man, I tried my best to act as natural as possible suitable to the storyline and the character. To prepare for the role, I went to a school for the blind, participated in a class and talked a lot with classmates. But basically, I thought that just trying to imitate those blind people was not important. The character Hwang Jung Hak is a blind man, but the more important point was to understand the inner side of the character, and I tried to approach this internal perspective when I acted.”

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In the movie, the character always walks about slightly hunched, but shows agile movement as a swordsman. Hwang added odd laughter and a pleasant Jeolla-do dialect to the character, and these aspects have caught the attention of viewers.

Hwang said, "I performed with careful attention to fencing and I repeatedly listened to the Jeolla-do accent after recording. Other features such as word additions and postures actually automatically emerged as if I had lived as the character Hwang Jung Hak.”

Actors are sometimes so immersed in a character that they can deliver somewhat exaggerated acting. In addition, as the role played by Hwang Jung Hak is a blind man, it was possible for actors who previously took on the role to play the character primarily using facial expressions because acting with the eyes was impossible. But actor Hwang Jung Min revealed balanced acting in the movie while he expressed the character’s emotions without giving a dull performance. He said, “The important point that I emphasized as I acted is to maintain the emotion of the character from the beginning to a certain point and then release the emotion all at once. Actually, maintaining the emotion was the most difficult part for me. I did not care too much about facial expressions.”

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About the harmony with other actors, Hwang said, “I worked with Cha Seung Won for the first time, but the harmony between us was perfect. As he is an excellent actor, we made a good team and the filming progressed quite fast.”

Hwang Jung Min is one of the actors who are always busy doing many things in many different areas. Last year, he appeared in movies such as “Private Eye” and “Five Senses of Eros” and in the drama “The Accidental Couple.” He also performed in theater works and played the leading actor in the musical “Wedding Singer” and the play “University of Laughs.“ He said with smile, “When actors take a rest, they are soon out of a job, so I feel a sense of relief when I act because I can say, ‘I am living as a member of this society.’ Sometimes, when I have to write down my job at the airport for immigration purposes, I am embarrassed to fill in the blank with 'actor.' How can I say that I am an actor when I just rest at home without doing any work? So, I always try to do my best in acting.”

He is currently filming the movie “Unfair Deal” directed by Ryu Seung Wan, and he has already reportedly chosen his next work. He briefly introduced that next work by saying, “Basically, a journalist will lead the story. A certain group is trying to overthrow the country, but a leading character who is a journalist resolves the situation.”

Hwang said, "To prepare for my next role as a journalist, I am planning to experience being a city desk reporter for a month. I cannot tell you details of the movie since I am the only person who has been cast so far. It is a movie directed by new director."

Source: KBS Global

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April 22, 2010

'Blades of Blood' Plays It Too Safe

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter

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Actors Hwang Jung-min, left, and Cha Seung-won star in Lee Jun-ik's new epic

film "Blades of Blood.'' / Courtesy of SK Telecom

After rising to stardom with the sleeper hit "King and the Clown," Lee Jun-ik rolled out the big guns in the Vietnam War romance "Sunny." Creating an action-packed period piece seems to be the natural course in his evolution as a director.

With a star cast and crew, and impressive production values, "Blades of Blood’’ offers exactly what a big budget film by such a name should. There is plenty of blood alright, but the movie stays well within the safety lines, bordering on the classic and predictable.

The passing shadows of the cloud give light to some flashes of brilliance (the film's original Korean title is "Like the Moon That Escaped the Clouds'') ― but "Blades" is nowhere near as visionary as "King and the Clown," which pushed the boundaries of storytelling in the historical genre.

On the verge of the 16th-century Japanese invasion, the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) is thrown into political and social chaos. The film throws up a lot of the laughs by featuring an irritable, and rather vapid, King Seonjo, and two opposing bicameral parties that are more concerned with gaining his favor than finding solutions: "The Japanese are coming, please round up the army," beseeches one group to the king, while the other group says nay just for the sake of disagreeing ― "Are they really not coming?" asks one official, to which another responds, "How should I know? Since they said the Japanese are coming, we should just say they aren’t."

Those dreaming of building a better world try to fight the foreign forces by forming their own political party, Daedonggye, but are forced to disband after being framed for treason. Lee Mong-hak (Cha Seung-won), a descendent of the royal family, assumes leadership of the group and organizes a large-scale coup. Fueled by his ambition to claim the crown, he does not hesitate to ruthlessly kill friends and colleagues that get in his way.

As a sword-swinging rebellion grips the nation, Lee’s old friend, an uncanny blind swordsman named Hwang Jeong-hak (Hwang Jung-min), sets out to stop the bloody ordeal. Meanwhile, Gyeon-ja, a vengeful young man who lost his family to Lee’s coup (Baek Seong-hyeon), and Baek-ji, a beautiful "gisaeng" whose heart was broken by Lee (Han Ji-hye plays the role of the concubine entertainer), join Jeong-hak to track down the notorious rebel.

The conflict between the friends-turned-foes ― Lee and Hwang ― propels the initial conflict, but the story is essentially about Gyeon-ja growing up during a time of turbulence. "Blades" has all the conventions of a coming-of-age road movie, complete with a blooming "bromance’’ between Gyeon-ja and the elder Hwang, and a touch of romance between Gyeon-ja and Baek-ji.

Gyeon-ja must first overcome his minority complex of having been born to a lowly concubine, and being unable to call his nobleman father dad. Yet, he knows his father truly loved him, and he finds a reason to channel his rebellion. This is where Hwang comes into the picture. Though he is more than adept in duels, Hwang finds a use in Gyeon-ja ― like a guide dog for the visually impaired ― in tracking down Lee. The unlikely duo provides much of the comedy and drama as they bicker and bond.

Baek-ji, on the other hand, as the sole lady in the picture, sets out to find her lover. Like the heroines in the director’s other movies, she attempts to be different, but remains nothing more than a pretty flower in the background. Lee, the most elusive of all the characters, embodies more style than substance in his impeccable white "hanbok," which serves the dramatic purpose of being the canvas for bloodshed.

Expect to be entertained, with plenty of blade-whipping action and some ticklish poetic dialogue seemingly fit for a period drama, but nothing groundbreaking.

In theaters April 29. Distributed by SK Telecom.

Credits: hyowlee@koreatimes.co.kr

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April 25, 2010

From the manhwa page to the big screen

April 25th, 2010 // by javabeans

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I know I just posted about this movie, but I dig stuff like this. With the buzz growing for the film Like the Moon Escaping From Clouds, now attention is turning toward the original manhwa upon which the movie is based, which was written and illustrated by Park Hong-yong. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the four main characters in the manhwa and film, played by Hwang Jung-min, Cha Seung-won, Han Ji-hye, and Baek Sung-hyun.

Hwang Jung-min brings presence to his legendary blind swordsman character, while Cha Seung-won’s rebel leader is powerful and fierce. Han Ji-hye is a top gisaeng entertainer, proud and confident; Baek sung-hyun’s character is ambitious and passionate.

Adaptations can be tricky beasts, but it’s interesting to see what is translated directly to screen and what is not. Though I almost always fall into the camp of “the book was better than the movie,” there’s something dynamic in the film that may not always come through with as much impact in simple manhwa-style drawings. (For instance, Han Ji-hye’s stricken face versus the drawing’s simple tear.)

Source: dramabeans.com

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Source: news.nate.com

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BSH's interview with 10Asia that mentions his 'That Fool' & 'Blades of Blood' co-star HJM quite a bit :D

April 27, 2010

[iNTERVIEW] Actor Baek Sung-hyun

Reporter.Wee Geun-woo Editor.Jang Kyung-Jin, Lucia Hong Photographer.Lee Jin-hyuk

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Korean actor Baek Sung-hyun [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

My name is Baek Sung-hyun. I was born on January 30, 1989. I currently live in Gwangmyeong-si which is in the Gyeonggi Province. It's a lot better living there now because I can drive but before Gwangmeyong was a kingdom in itself. You had to take care of everything within the city -- from daily necessities to enjoying a cultural life. It's kind of unfortunate that the distance keeps me from becoming close with my fellow actors. It's not a big deal going out to Seoul but after having a couple of drinks, getting back home becomes a problem. That is why I begged my mom if I can live on my own. If I get to live alone I think I would like to live in Sadang because it's close to Kangnam, the transportation is good and actor Hwang Jung-min lives near there too.

I would consider myself a heavy drinker. I heard that you inherit your capacity to drink from the person two generations above you. So I think I take after my grandfather because he is a heavy drinker as well. I can drink three bottles of soju and feel fine. I think I don't have any drinking habits in particular either. I just go home if I'm drunk. Sometimes I pass out from drinking but when I wake up I'm home. I have never lost my wallet or cellular phone from getting too drunk. I once even took a shower before I went to sleep even though I blacked out. I've made any mistakes out of drunkenness before but I once mistakenly fell asleep on the steps of an apartment because I was trying to find shelter from the rain. I could have just gone home but I only thought about going in to some building. From then on, I've been more cautious when I drink.

I played the role of Joong-won in the movie "Marathon" which I think I 'screwed up' on. Most of my scenes were omitted. My character was supposed to play a bigger role in the film but I didn't act well so a lot of my scenes got cut. I think it's because it's when I was frustrated what acting was about.

In the movie "Our School's E.T" I played a character that does boxing, so I trained like crazy for six months. That is how with just one punch, I once even broke the nose of my opponent. I'm the type that usually learns things for just about a month like guitar or working out but when it comes to preparing for a role in a drama or movie, I really focus on it.

The scene I am most disappointed about in "Blades of Blood" is when I aim my knife at Baek Ji (played by Han Ji-hye). I threaten her not to follow me even though I love her but I don't think I did a good job in showing my inner conflict with that. I think I should have shown that I am conscious of Hwang Jeong-hak (played by Hwang Jeong-min) standing behind me. Director Lee Jun-ik said that "Cha Seung-won is like sports car running on the asphalt with the correct directions and Hwang Jeong-min is a wild horse-like SUV racing off the road." I think that it is true and I hope to acquire both characteristics in myself.

It was my idea to have my mustache grow out. As the story develops, my character Kyeon-ja's mustache becomes darker. When it first began to grow, the hair was thin and sparse but became dark by the time I was fighting with Lee Mong-hak. I wanted the mustache to show that Kyeon-ja had matured. And if he was too clean-cut, I think he would have given off less of the vibe that he was desperate.

I would like to try playing the role that Viggo Mortensen did in the movie "The Road." How a father sacrifices himself for his son even when he is in an extreme situation. If it was me, I would have hit my son and said "Hey! Get your life in order!"

I would like to become close friends with actors Lee Jun-ki and Jang Keun-suk who have worked with director Lee in his previous productions. I wish I had a chance to meet them in person to say hello. Hopefully, after they read this article they will consider meeting with me.

Basketball is the most important and fun thing in my life outside acting. I go to the indoor gym in Gwangmyeong to play almost everyday if I don't have work. It's the place where the best basketball players come to play. My friends and I get together and we'll split up into two teams: A level and B level. I barely made it into the A level team. The people that I play with are so good that I realized basketball is a stressful game. I think I'm currently the lowest ranked person on our six-member team. I am the shooting-type and when we practice, I get all my shots in but just not when we're actually playing a game.

Reporter: Wee Geun-woo eight@ Editor: Jang Kyung-Jin three@, Lucia Hong luciahong@ Photographer: Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr 1 / 2 / 3

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April 29, 2010

New subtitle service kicks off

If you’re a foreign national in Korea, it can be difficult to find a place to watch a first-run Korean film with English subtitles. There are a few organizations and a handful of movie theaters that do screen these films with subtitles. But the screening times can be limited and the locations not always convenient.

That’s about to change, as the number of theaters offering screenings with subtitles is soon set to increase. To meet foreign residents’ growing demand for greater access to cultural life, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and CGV, a local theater chain, will screen 20 Korean films with English subtitles starting today, the city government said in a statement yesterday.

The expansion of the English subtitle service is aimed at promoting Korean film among foreign residents in the country.

The service was first introduced last year, when 10 Korean films were screened with English subtitles at two theaters in Seoul, drawing about 20,000 foreign visitors, the release said.

This year, four CGV theaters were added, with locations in Gangnam, Yongsan, Myeongdong and Guro. “These four theaters are located in places where there is a large expat population,” said Kim Dae-hee, an official at CGV who is in charge of promoting the English subtitle service. “We also hope this service will appeal to Korean students who want to learn English,” Kim added.

Blades of Blood,” which opens at theaters nationwide today, will be the first film screened as part of the expanded service.

Blades of Blood, directed by Lee Joon-ik (“The King and The Clown”) is a period film set in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). “Maid” by Im Sang-soo, “Poetry” by Lee Chang-dong and “Dreams Come True” by Kye Yun-sik are also among the 20 films chosen.

The films will be screened more than three times a day, and foreign fans will be invited to special events designed to help increase their understanding of Korean film, officials said. “The English subtitle program will help boost foreigners’ understanding of Korean culture and improve Seoul’s image as foreigner-friendly,” said Ma Chae-sook, a culture official at the Seoul government.

The city government is also planning to include subtitles in other foreign languages, including Chinese and Japanese, in the second half of this year, the official said.

By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr] joongangdaily.joins.com

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April 29, 2010

Film giants shift gears with new release

Actor Hwang Jung-min and director Lee Joon-ik faced, and overcame, personal and professional obstacles to make their first cinematic collaboration a success.

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Lee Joon-ik

Actor Hwang Jung-min and director Lee Joon-ik, two giants in the Korean film industry, have walked very different paths to success. But their much-anticipated film “Blades of Blood,” which brought them together for the first time, has given them a new definition of the word.

The film, a period piece set in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), is set to hit theaters nationwide today. It has already been sold to as many as five film distribution companies overseas in Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg.

Hwang, 40, who has had a 16-year career on stage and screen, is now an A-list actor. But he hasn’t always been so popular. He went through a long struggle for recognition, with people saying he “didn’t have the right face for film.” He even considered giving up his dream. But his big break came when he was cast in “Waikiki Brothers,” a 2001 film that was a sleeper hit in Korea. In his role as a hopeless drummer, Hwang left a strong impression and earned favorable reviews.

Lee rewrote Korean film history as the director of the 2005 mega hit “The King and The Clown.” The film was set in the Joseon Dynasty and depicts the lives of the “gwangdae,” or entertainers, in ancient Korea who satirized the “yangban” or ruling class. It made waves here and abroad for its overtly homosexual subtext. The film has held the No. 1 position in terms of ticket sales in Korea since 1997, when the Korean Film Council began collecting the data, beating formidable films such as “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Avatar.”

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Hwang Jung-min

Blades of Blood provided both artists with an opportunity to shift gears and take on new challenges. After playing an innocent man who falls in love with an actress in his first TV drama in June, Hwang was looking for a strong character to play.

Lee was under pressure to live up to his label as the “10-million director,” a reference to his King and Clown success, after his 2008 film “Sunny” flopped.

At a recent press conference, both Hwang and Lee said they are happy with their new film. In the film, Hwang plays the role of Hwang Jeong-hak, a blind but legendary swordsman who chases Lee Mong-hak, a former fellow swordsman. Lee, played by Cha Seung-won, is a power-hungry swordsman who has ruthlessly murdered his opponents in a bid to overthrow the Joseon Dynasty.

For Hwang, making the film presented a physical and mental challenge, as he had to swing around a sword with his eyes closed. “The action scenes were O.K., but portraying a blind man was very difficult because it’s something that I haven’t experienced,” he said when asked about the difficulties he faced during production. “So I went to schools for the blind [to observe their movements], but it still wasn’t an easy role to play.”

When asked if he was ever injured during the action scenes because he couldn’t see what he was doing, he said, “My fellow actors treated me well.” Hwang laughed as he revealed, “This is a secret but I would open my eyes a little whenever the cameras weren’t zoomed in.”

Meanwhile, this film was not an easy one for Lee, the director, who confessed that he struggled to follow his own act after the high of The King and The Clown and the low of Sunny. Lee, who has made three period pieces altogether, added that making this kind of film is “a very tough and difficult journey.”

With Blades of Blood, he adds yet another dimension to the historical depictions of Korea on film. “It was hard to create a whole new story set in the Joseon Dynasty,” he said. “But I believe a well-made period film represents one country and culture because period films mirror society, culture and all.”

By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr] joongangdaily.joins.com

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Now Showing

Blades of Blood

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On the verge of the 16th-century Japanese invasion, the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) is thrown into chaos. Lee Mong-hak (Cha Seung-won), an ambitious descendant of the royal family, betrays friends including his old lover Baek-ji (Han Ji-hye) to organize a coup. His old friend Hwang Jeong-hak (Hwang Jung-min), an uncanny blind swordsman, seeks the help of a vengeful young man Gyeon-ja (Baek Seong-hyeon) to stop him. 15 and over. 111 minutes. No English subtitles available.

Cinus G Gangnam(02-530-8400) near exit 5 of Gangnam Station on subway line 2

Primus Sillim (1544-5522) near exit 7 of Sillim Station on subway line 2

Cinus Isu (02-597-5777) near exit 6 of Isu Station on subway line 7

CGV Sangam (1544-1122) near exit 2 of World Cup Stadium Station on subway line 6

Source: koreatimes.co.kr

April 29, 2010

Selection of Korean Films to Be Screened with English Subtitles

The Seoul Metropolitan government, in cooperation with Korea's largest multiplex theater operator CGV, will provide English subtitles for 20 Korean movies this year.

Beginning with Lee Jun-ik's latest work "Blades of Blood," slated to premiere on Thursday, English subtitles will be offered in four CGV theaters that are most frequently visited by foreigners including branches in Gangnam, Yongsan, Myeong-dong and Guro.

Korean movies that will be featured at this year's Cannes Film Festival, including "The Housemaid" and "Poetry," will be among those to screen with English captions.

Arirang News l english.chosun.com

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May 3, 2010

Weekend Box Office: Apr 30-May 2

Reporter.Lucia Hong

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South Korea's box office estimates for the weekend of April 30-May 2, 2010

[Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS)]

"Iron Man 2" soars to the No. 1 spot on box office

Reporter.Lucia Hong Editor.Jessica Kim

Hollywood action sequel "Iron Man 2" made a successful debut onto the Korean box office over the weekend, beating out previous winner "Bestseller" off the top spot.

Estimates by the Korean Box Office System (KOBIS) released on Monday revealed that "Iron Man 2" sold 1,360,820 tickets during the weekend of April 30 to May 2 to become the No. 1 film in the country. "Iron Man 2," helmed by director Jon Favreau and featuring a star-studded cast of Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow, is about the new problems Tony Stark (played by Downey) faces after he reveals his identity as Iron Man.

Korean historical movie "Blades of Blood," starring Cha Seung-won and Hwang Jeong-min, bowed into the box office in second place with 384,471 viewers while last week's winner "Bestseller" fell down two slots to No. 3 with 120,530 admits.

Meanwhile, Korean drama flick "A Long Visit" and Sandra Bullock's film "The Blind Side" followed sequentially in fourth and fifth place with 63,842 and 32,102 admissions, respectively. Other films on the top 10 were "Korea 1%," "Sergeant Keroro The Super Duper Movie 5: Adventure in Space Time Island," "Clash of the Titans," "The Hurt Locker" and "Kick-richard simmons."

Reporter: Lucia Hong luciahong@ Editor: Jessica Kim jesskim@ <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr / 10.asiae.co.kr

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May 10, 2010

Weekend Box Office: May 7-9

Reporter.Lucia Hong

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South Korea's box office estimates for the weekend of May 7-9, 2010 [Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS)]

"Iron Man 2" maintains stay atop box office chart

Reporter.Lucia Hong Editor.Jessica Kim

Hollywood blockbuster film "Iron Man 2" maintained its position atop the Korean box office for the second consecutive week.

Estimates by the Korean Box Office System (KOBIS) released on Monday revealed that the action sequel brought in 676,142 moviegoers during the weekend of May 7 to 9 to keep its place atop the film chart. "Iron Man 2," starring Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow, is about the problems Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) faces after revealing his identity as Iron Man.

Korean drama "Blades of Blood," starring Cha Seung-won and Hwang Jeong-min, came in at No. 2 selling 255,217 tickets, while thriller "Bestseller" rounded out the top three movies with 97, 248 admits this week.

Meanwhile, newly released action film "Korea 1%" bowed into the box office charts in fourth place with 79,361 tickets sold and drama "A Long Visit" followed behind in fifth place with 70,568 admissions. Other movies on the top 10 were "Brothers," "The Blind Side," "Sergeant Keroro The Super Duper Movie 5: Adventure in Space Time Island," "Hahaha" and "Clash of the Titans."

Reporter : Lucia Hong luciahong@ Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@ <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr

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May 14, 2010

Korean films hot at Cannes film market

Reporter.Ko Kyoung-seok Editor.Lynn Kim

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Official poster for film "Into The Fire" [Taewon Entertainment]

Korean films "Blades of Blood" and "Into Fire," which both star Korean actor Cha Seung-won, have scored overseas distribution deals at an ongoing film market in France.

The two pics were picked up by foreign movie buyers at the Cannes Film Market where movie industry officials buy and sell their movies during the annual Cannes Film Festival.

M Line, which handles overseas sales for "Blood," announced Thursday (France time) that the film has been sold to four European countries including Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. "These countries were interested in the film and decided to buy it before the Cannes film market opened," an official at M Line was quoted as saying. "We are expecting additional sales after the screening."

The premiere screening for "Blood" was held Thursday morning for companies that had taken part in the film market. "Blood," directed by Lee Joon-ik of 2005 hit film "The King and the Clown", opened in Korea last month and attracted over one million viewers within two weeks of its release.

"Into Fire," which stars actors Cha Seung-won, Kim Seung-woo, Kwon Sang-woo and T.O.P. of idol group Big Bang, also signed a distribution deal with Ascot Elite Entertainment Group. The war pic had caught the company's attention when it was first shown at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and got picked up at Cannes even before the film's screening there, explained its distributor Lotte Entertainment.

Korean films are proving to be a dominant force at Cannes this year; Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry" is said to have received numerous sales inquiries and interview requests while Im Sang-soo's erotic thriller "The Housemaid" received many -- though mixed -- reviews after its premiere and gala screening.

Both "Poetry" and "The Housemaid" are up for competition at this year's film fest.

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Official poster for film "Blades of Blood" [Cinus]

Reporter : Ko Kyoung-seok kave@ Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@ <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10.asiae.co.kr

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