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An Old Actor's Physical Challenge

2006/08/20 | 359 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Actors are always required to challenge themselves by playing different and new characters, which is also the charm of the vocation. But there is not a variety of opportunities for veteran actors over the age of 60 to enjoy this delight, as their roles in films led by hunks and bombshells usually tend to be limited to father or mother figures.

Every once in a while, however, there comes the chance for them to emerge from their stereotyped image and show off their new talents, and the moment has come to actor Joo Hyun, 64, for his role in the upcoming flick "The Fox Family" (Kumiho Kajok).

In the film, whose genre is similar to the 1979 American cult film "Rocky Horror Picture Show", Ju plays a single father of three children. But things are not that simple as he has to dance and sing in the musical-like comedy movie.

"It was the hardest role as I had to learn how to dance and sing. I didn't want to embarrass myself as well as others", Ju said Thursday during a news conference at Seoul Cinema in Chongno, downtown Seoul.

"If this film is successful, I'll continue to act, but if not, I'll stop for a while or for good", Joo said with a little bit of humor but he sounded enthusiastic and firmly determined when he said, "I've done my best for the film".

He started his career as a television actor in 1969, but did not give the audience a truly impressive performance until 1990 when he starred in the TV drama "Seoul Ttukpaegi" as a comical character in his middle age, and he has developed the character in other works.

Directed by Lee Hyung-gon, "The Fox Family" takes the motif from the ghastly Korean tale of "kumiho", a fox with nine tails that desperately yearns to become human but can only do so by gobbling up the livers of 100 unfortunate souls.

But different from the scary original, the film revolves around a wacky kumiho family, who struggle to become a human while they run a circus with their tricks and magical powers.

"I'm really bad at getting rhythms. I sang only when I was drunk, rapping on the table with chopsticks. So there were moments when I really wanted to give up while practicing. But the director and producer kept encouraging me saying `practice makes perfect", Ju said

During the conference, a short video clip was introduced for the first time where each character sings and dances. In the clip, Ju showed that a month-long intensive training paid off.

Despite the hard training and difficulties he went through, he said that he had chosen the film because the scenario was so fun.

"I think the genre of musical is unique and challenging, but I laughed a lot while I read the scenario and finished it with few pauses. The unconventional story really got me", Ju said.

"Some of my friends told me that I was so lucky to take a leading role in a movie given my age. But definitely, it was fun to challenge myself and I don't have any regrets", he said.

"The Fox Family" is now in post-production and slated to open in October.

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