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Getting Serious About Clowning

2005/12/19 | 242 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Actors are often heard to say that their upcoming movie is the best in their film career, a phrase that now tends to sound like an old cliche. But when these words come from the mouth of actor Kam Woo-sung, you're inclined to believe him.

He has taken a serious attitude to his acting career in the past 15 years, being very selective in his roles. He seems to know well what he can and cannot do, and works really hard to bring out his best once his role is set.

So it was quite unusual and interesting that he took the role of a clown in his new film "The King and the Clown" and says it is the best movie that he has ever starred in, prior to its release on Dec. 29.

"It's really meaningful for me to star in this film", Kam said in a recent interview with Yonhap News Agency. "I don't know if I can have a chance to work on a better scenario than this".

Based on the acclaimed play titled "Yi", now being staged at the Theater Yong, the film deals with the true story of Yonsan, a tyrant king of the Choson Kingdom, and his favorite court jester Kong-gil, with the addition of some fictional accounts and characters, such as clown leader Jang-saeng who Kam plays.

Co-starring Jung Jin-young and Lee Joon-gi, the film tells of the friendship between Kong-gil (played by Lee) and Jang-saeng and satirizes the social class through the affection of tyrannical ruler Yonsan (Jung) for clown Kong-gil, from the lowest rank in society.

For his role, Kam had to learn various skills for traditional performances intensively over the course of two months as the film contains scenes with traditional street opera, and the acrobatic, rope and mask dances.

"It was both hard and interesting to learn all the new skills. Although I didn't have much time, I realized that doing my best really seemed to work out", Kam recalled.

Making a debut in the 1990 television drama "Paradise of Our Own", he had played mainly modern and urban upper-middle class men with soft and kind images in many other television series.

But after he starred in his first film "Marriage Is a Crazy Thing" in 2001 where he played a man who is intelligent and gentle but opposes the social system of marriage and seeks free dating, he started slowly gearing up to venture to play various roles.

He has since played some distinctive characters such as a man trapped in a confusing and mesmerizing sequence of events in the 2003 horror film "Spider Forest"; the leader of a South Korean squadron in Vietnam that looks into the mysterious disappearance of 18 soldiers in the 2004 horror thriller "R-Point"; and a young man who tries to deceive his father to succeed to his fortune in this year's comedy "A Bold Family".

After years of adventures playing various roles, Kam was finally able to star in the right film, "King and the Clown" as he said it was a turning point in his 15-year movie career.

But as he knows well the limited roles for actors in their 40s and 50s in the local movie industry, the 35-year-old actor fears he doesn't have much time to venture, which he finds really sad.

"It's like now I'm dancing on a tightrope. You don't know when you may fall", Kam said to Sports Hankook, sports and entertainment daily.

But this adventurous actor may show us a whole new side, as he plans to start painting. Next year, after he marries actress Kang Min-a, whom he has been dating for 15 years, he plans to have a workshop in his house. He majored in oriental painting at university.

"Now I really want to draw. I'm dying to paint. I dream of holding my own exhibition in three or four years", Kam said.

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