The smell of shellfish soup cooking fills the room and a red light shines on the stack of soju and beer bottles in the refrigerator. However, it is not a bar rather it is the set for the briefing for the movie. The briefing for the movie "My Dear Desperado" was held at a cart bar near Apgujeong because actor Park Joong-hoon wanted to "have a shot of soju while introducing the movie". The brave yet jobless Se-jin (played by Jeong Yu-mi) and Dong-chul (played by Park Joong-hoon) the neighborhood gangster who lacks bravery and always gets beaten up are semi-basement one room neighbors. The two people who look like they would never get along, come together at a nearby snack shop to eat ramen and become close after having a drink together in their room. The audience can see the two people come together when the movie "My Dear Desperado" opens in theaters on May 20. Below are the excerpts from the press conference for the film "My Dear Desperado" attended by director Kim Kwang-sik-I, actor Park Joong-hoon and actress Jeong Yu-mi.
10: The storyline of a gangster and a person preparing for a job living together in a basement room is as unusual as the film's title "My Dear Desperado".
Kim Kwang-sik-I (Kim): I have a college friend who has been distressed of not having a job even after getting his master's and doctorate degree. So I had my mind set on making this movie to console my friend. I wanted to give a bit of hope for those in the same situation as my friend, showing that they are not alone and that someone is there for them.
Park Joong-hoon (Park): Se-jin is the exemplary person, someone with all good qualifications to get a good job, including having graduated from a decent school. She just hasn't been able to get a job because of the economical condition. And it's what the reality we are living in is actually like too. It's actually hard in reality for someone like her to meet an older small-time gangster but what's appealing about the movie is how the two people miraculously open up their hearts to each other. It would seem less unexpected if they had been people who are likely to meet but the process of how Dong-chul and Se-jin meet was unique too.
10: This is the first time the two of you are working together. What was your first impression of the other person?
Jeong Yu-mi (Jeong): When I first met Park, I thought 'Wow! It's Park Joong-hoon!' (laugh) But there wasn’t anything else in particular after that because he treated me with much ease. When we were acting together and he is Dong-chul I don't feel any difficulty but when filming is over and we are taking a break and I see him I feel 'Oh! It's Park Joong-hoon!' and I'm amazed once again. (laugh)
Park: I had thought Jeong is the kind of actress who was abundant with emotions after seeing her roles in "The Birth of a Family" and "Like You Know It All". And from what I heard about her from people in the film business, she is from a fourth dimension and lives in a world of her own so I was half worried and half excited to meet her but I realized that I hadn't seen an actress with such clear eyes. During the first day of filming I told her 'your eyes are so clear' and after spending time with her I found out she was free-spirited. Because of our 17 year age difference, I was worried whether the audience would view our relationship as a man and a woman instead of us being uncle and niece. It was good to see that after working with each other for a while the twenty something year old Jeong was energetic and had her own energy about her.
10: Even though your characters are a couple in the movie, the special video shows that there isn't much physical affection between you two. (laugh)
Jeong: There aren’t that many affectionate scenes. There are a couple scenes but we shouldn't reveal it since there are only a few. (laugh)
Park: The affectionate scene in our movie is so lovable, that we shot it in a very innocent form. (laugh) It's awkward for even us actors to look into each other's eyes all misty-eyed and start kissing away. But in our film "My Dear Desperado" it is very loving and beautiful.
10: Park Joong-hoon, I heard you lost six kilograms for your role.
Park: I don't think there is a need to brag about it because actors are always losing and gaining weight for their roles. Rather than that, the hard part was darkening my skin. My skin is light but I was at a loss because I had to go to the tanning salon for about three to four months. I think the audience will be unfamiliar with who I am appearance-wise because I had to cut my hair short, grow my mustache, lose weight and darken my skin.
10: Park Joong-hoon has played the gangster role in several movies now. Was that one of the reasons for casting him for this role? (laugh)
Kim: I didn't want a pretty boy to play the role of a third-rate gangster and I thought that Park matched the role, to the point where I couldn't cast someone who was uglier than him. (laugh) I thought that someone like Park who has character and humor can relay empathy to the audience.
Park: I have played the role of an inspector five times, a gangster three times, and a bully seven or eight times. But it will be the first time since 2000 that I'm playing the role of a gangster. (laugh) I think the audience will open their hearts for a third-rate person loser instead of a distinguished person. For the movie "Haeundae" I played a geologist and no one believed me when I said a tsunami was coming so I quit that job and hit the streets to become a gangster. (laugh)
Director Kim Kwang-sik-I at the press conference for "My Dear Desperado" [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
10: The video revealing your character Dong-chul did a good job in revealing the day-to-day life of a gangster, almost as if it was the real thing. Have you ever done anything gangster-like in your own life?
Park: When actors take on a role, they become that character in real life. In the movie, my character Dong-chul is angry and while we were filming the movie my family and people around me were afraid of me. I was sharp and filled with anger for two to three months. I think if I play a soft role I will become soft and if I am playing someone who is harsh, I will be harsh.
10: Your character Se-jin is someone who failed at finding a job. In your real life, have you ever failed during an interview or an audition?
Jeong: I haven't gone to that many auditions. I was lucky when I made my debut and I had been to several auditions but the most memorable audition was for the series movie "Voice Letter". The whole audition was impressive. The audition was held at a closed school in the country region for one night and two days. However, I didn't make it. (laugh)
10: In the movie Dong-chul and Se-jin sort of live together because they are neighbors. What is your point of view on couples living together?
Jeong: I haven't thought about it, so I don't really know. But if I find someone who I like, I might have to think about it. I will talk about it when I find someone.
Park: The common thought of the older generation in Korea would be that couples should live together after getting married. I think if I was in my twenties and had someone I liked I would live with them. After living together couples can decide if they want to get married or break up. I highly recommend that couples live together. (laugh)
10: Any final comments for the audience members who will see your film?
Park: I can't pinpoint the exact genre of the movie "My Dear Desperado" even after filming it. "Haeundae" belongs in the human blockbuster category and while some say "My Dear Desperado" is a romantic comedy, I don't think it could simply be called a comedy. You will understand why I said this after watching the movie.
Film "My Dear Desperado" press conference host Kim Ji-sun, cast members and director. [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
From left, comedienne Kim Ji-sun speaks to actor Park Joong-hoon, actress Jeong Yu-mi and director Kim Kwang-sik-I at a press conference for film "My Dear Desperado" held at a cart bar in Seoul, South Korea on April 27, 2010.
Actor Park Joong-hoon [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
Actress Jeong Yu-mi [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
Reporter : Lee Ji-Hye seven@
Editor : Lucia Hong luciahong@
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>
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2015 51st PaekSang Arts Awards