On a cold winter day in January, director Kwak Jeong-hwan of KBS TV series "The Slave Hunters" was at Unju Temple in the South Jeolla Province. It is the place, mentioned in the tenth episode, which Dae-gil (played by Jang Hyuk) guessed correctly right away when told Tae-ha (Oh Ji-ho) went to where a statue of Buddha lies on its back facing the sky. "There is a statue of Buddha laid on the ground and facing the sky in the Unju Temple. It is said to contain the unfulfilled hopes of the commoners. I couldn't not go to shoot there after hearing that story", Kwak explained of his reason in choosing the temple as a location which would also symbolize Tae-ha's yet-to-be opened world and the dream of the slaves.
But Unju Temple does not just have symbolic meaning for "Hunters". It is also where many of the main characters gather after a large number of supporting actors are killed off the show in the ninth and tenth episodes. Tae-ha holds the baby king in one hand as he meets his old friends and Dae-gil's clan gathers at Unju too. About five scenes were shot at the Unju Temple this day. And each scene focused more on the meeting and the parting of the characters rather than its usual spectacular action. But the atmosphere on set was as somber and sincere as the emotions involved in the meeting and parting.
"Turn around as soon as you take a step forward", Kwak instructs Tae-ha, played by Oh Ji-ho. He then explained, "We didn't rush in the beginning because we started shooting the first few episodes several months ago but these days, it's all about time management". But once he goes into shoot, he digs into the details so insistently that it seems as if he forgets all about time. He does not miss a single thing, down to the smallest movement a character makes to the most trivial historical fact. To Kim Ha-eun playing the role of Sul-hwa, he will direct her to "breathe harder after running here". And after receiving confirmation that "in the past, nobody entered the main temple building through the central door other than the chief monk", Kwak reflected this fact into the scene where a boy monk greets Dae-gil who is chasing Tae-ha. Add just a little exaggeration, it could be said that the amount of Kwak's exercise almost equalled that of Dae-gil and Tae-ha got from shooting their actions scenes. He endlessly checked the monitor, went back onto the set, checked everything, made orders, and then monitored again.
Not a single loud noise comes from the set of "The Slave Hunters" but that atmosphere on set is also the atmosphere amongst the actors. The Chuno clan, composed of Jang Hyuk, Kim Ji-suk and Han Jung-soo, sat around ahead of going into shoot to quietly discuss their scene while Oh Ji-ho and Lee Da-hae focused on their own acting and did not speak a single word to each other. The moment they finally smiled and talked to each other was when Oh Ji-ho finished shooting his scene. "You're leaving before I am because you're done? That's an offense!" Lee jokingly said to Oh.
Shooting began at 8 a.m. in the morning but the clock was heading toward 8 p.m. But the crew of "The Slave Hunters" had been shooting a single scene since later afternoon -- the moment when Dae-gil breaks down. It will be a scene in the 12th episode where Dae-gil's emotions explode like they have never done before during the show's run so far. And hence it was when director Kwak and Jang Hyuk's energy also collided at its highest point. Ahead of going into shoot, Jang Hyuk watched scenes him and Hae-won's romantic scenes to focus on his emotions. And Kwak continued to repeatedly shoot the scene from various angles -- a full shot, close-up shot, with the Jimmy Jib, then on-the-move. The staff moved swiftly, operating every piece of equipment in time with Kwak's orders. Jang Hyuk repeats crying, laughing, shouting and gazing up into the sky. Only a few minutes of this hours-long shoot will go on air. But Kwa, Jang Hyuk and the staff continue to concentrate, knowing the importance of this scene. Like the slave being chased by a slave hunter, the set of "The Slave Hunters" is short on time. But everyone was trying everything they could do produce the best result.
Actor Jang Hyeok [Lee Jin-Hyeok/10Asia]
Actress Lee Da-hae [Lee Jin-Hyeok/10Asia]
Child actor Kim Jin-woo-I [Lee Jin-Hyeok/10Asia]
Child actor Kim Jin-woo-I and actor Jang Hyeok [Lee Jin-Hyeok/10Asia]
Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyeok email@example.com
Editor : Jessica Kim firstname.lastname@example.org, Jang Kyung-Jin email@example.com
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