This time last year the career of Ha Jung-woo was in a less than stellar position. His big Christmas flick "Take Point" did quite poorly at the box office, only taking in four hundred thousand admissions, with a yearlong gap until his next release. Nevertheless, "Ashfall" made up for that shortfall this year, and Ha Jung-woo will soon appear in "The Closet", a mystery genre horror thriller with Kim Nam-gil with low expectations that will almost certainly be exceeded.
In a recent interview Ha Jung-woo relished the chance to work with co-stars. He spoke highly of Lee Byung-hun in "Ashfall", describing his comedic style as being highly familiar through his other work, though this was their first collaboration. Ha Jung-woo said they were always watching each other for cues, clashing over the distinct objectives of their characters.
Though "Ashfall" is not a comedy, Ha Jung-woo has emphasized how his rapport with Lee Byung-hun was built on humor. As Ha Jung-woo saw it, Lee Byung-hun was playing the more traditional hero, as opposed to Ha Jung-woo's at times more bumbling character. Ha Jung-woo has also admitted that "Ashfall" had a predictable story, that he knew as much from his first script reading, but that the project appealed to him because of the opportunities for character expression.
According to Ha Jung-woo his scenes and Lee Byung-hun's scenes were filmed separately to maximize their mutual impact and culture clash. The electric shock scene was the first one where they met. Independence was also prioritized in terms of individual jokes, with Ha Jung-woo having more of an independent gag style.
Beyond mere acting, Ha Jung-woo also had strong praise for Lee Byung-hun's stamina, describing him as having the energy of a twenty-something. Ha Jung-woo called Lee Byung-hun an acting machine in this regard. Of course, Ha Jung-woo is no slouch himself in this department, as following the release "The Closet" he will be set to start filming for "Boston 1947" and "Kidnapped".
Written by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's News] Ha Jung-woo Talks About His Acting With Lee Byung-hun"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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