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Cell phone topic of new thriller

2009/01/15 Source

Mobile devices have become the norm, saving time and energy for a person on-the-go.

Many folks, however, use them to store sensitive information like intimate photos and videos. It is not usually until they have been lost that the owner realizes they should have been more cautious.

That is the premise cooked up by director Kim Han-min for his second feature-length film, "Hand Phone", as Koreans usually refer to mobile phones. It stars Uhm Tae-woong and Park Yong-woo as the story's anti-hero and villain.

Kim is considered a major up-and-coming director. His debut work, "Paradise Murdered" two years ago drew 2.2 million to the theater, more than adequate by local standards, and also met with critical approval.

For Eom, this is his first lead role in a feature film. He tries to convince viewers his life is coming apart as his character is hounded by an unknown ominous figure played by character actor Park. Eom is the younger brother of Uhm Jung-wha, a leading pop star and actress, but he has proved to be an star in his own right over the past several years.

Eom plays a high-profile company executive who gets involved with a psychopath (Park) that unwittingly picks up his mobile phone containing sexually explicit videos of a rising starlet.

At a press conference Monday in Seoul, the film's plot sparked a discussion on issues of privacy and human nature between the two leads. It was hosted by MC and comedian, Kim Gu-ra, who also makes a cameo, playing himself.

"For me, the loss of contact information like phone numbers would be the most important if I lost my phone, but I wouldn't be worried about having my private life exposed because I only have harmless pictures of my dog and girlfriend - nothing scandalous", Eom said.

When the conversation shifted to whether the actors themselves have invaded the privacy of another by looking through a mobile phone, the two leads each had a different answer.

"As a matter of fact I do frequently check my girlfriend's phone records to see who she's called and who she's been getting calls from - she does the same thing, mind you. We've done this for two years and we do it because we trust each other".

Park had a different take.

"I've never checked up on my woman's phone records ever. We have boundaries and that's a line we both agreed never to cross", Park said.

"This isn't because we have secrets to hide, but we just feel certain things like phone records should be kept private".

But the two thespians had one thing in common. They have both frequently lost their phones during a night out drinking with buddies.

"I've never gotten back my phone whenever I lost it, but if someone tried to mess around by toying with me using my phone, I would want to track him down and administer a beat down, that's for sure", said Eom.

Park said he hoped viewers would not interpret the two characters as simply good and evil, but as real people whose motivations they can understand in the context of situations they are pitted against in the film.

"I hope people don't see both our characters simply as good and evil because both of our characters have endearing qualities", Park said.

"Hand Phone" will be released nationwide Feb. 19.

By Song Woong-ki

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