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'Restless' Creates Visually Superb Epic

2006/12/17 Source

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By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

The fantasy action epic "The Restless" (Chungchon) is one of the most anticipated films slated for the Christmas season. Its main actors said that they were overwhelmed by the film's superb computer graphics when they first saw it.

"I was so surprised. The scenes I filmed in front of a blue screen turned into great ones in the movie", the actress Kim Tae-hee said Friday during a news conference after a preview screening of the film at Yongsan CGV in Seoul.

In her first big screen role, Kim plays So-hwa, a leading female character in "The Restless".

"I decided to challenge myself when I read the film's script last summer because the character and I have so many things in common. I tried to do my best to create a pure and innocent character using my immature side", Kim said.

Released nationwide on Dec. 21, the film is considered a comparatively big project, which has drawn huge expectations.

The blockbuster film's production budget is about 10 billion won, and its filming took six months, mostly in China. About half of the scenes were generated by computer graphics.

Directed by Jo Dong-oh, the film tells a story of a couple, who reunites in "chungchon", a mysterious place between earth and heaven where souls of the dead stay for 49 days preparing for reincarnation.

In the film, So-hwa dies and becomes a goddess in chungchon, forgetting her past life. Her lover I-gwak, played by Jung Woo-sung, accidentally enters the mysterious place and meets So-hwa, but she doesn't remember him. As a ghost hunter, I-gwak fights against evil spirits, which threaten So-hwa's life.

Jung also expressed his satisfaction with the film. He joked about his digitally generated counterpart, whom he nicknamed "Jung Woo-sang". The computer-generated character was a substitute for him in dangerous scenes that even a stuntman could not do.

"I watched the film with complex emotions, both of worry and expectation", Jung said. "But I'm so happy now. I think no one can tell which parts were done by me or Woo-sang. He was so good".

Jeong picked the scene where he fights against 30,000 ghost soldiers as the most impressive in the film.

Despite the spectacular computer graphics, the film's director admitted that the most challenging part is to attract the audience to theaters as most local epic action films have not been commercially successful.

"It's been said that the genre of fantasy epic is not successful. And many directors work under a lot of pressure when they make one. But I think and hope this movie will pave the way for the genre as a steppingstone", Jo said.

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