Actor kwon Sang-woo [Park Sung-ki/Asia Economic Daily]
"The movies I've starred in for the past eight years had all done well up till two years ago so I am thirsty for the success of this one", Kwon said of his expectations for "Fire" during an interview with Asia Economic Daily.
"In the end, it's up to the heavens but I do hope it breaks my previous record and that it becomes the highest grossing movie this year", the actor added.
Kwon had placed a succession of films atop the local box office during his ten-year career starting with smash hit "My Tutor Friend" which attracted 5.2 million moviegoers during its run in 2003, equivalent to over 10 million on today's box office, a feat which only a handful of local films have achieved in Korean film history.
His more recent works however, such as "Fate" and "More Than Blue", flopped on the box office, and his small screen roles in "Bad Love" and "Cinderella Man" also failed to enhance the Asian-star status he had first gained from "Stairway to Heaven" co-starring actress Choi Ji-woo.
"That's why I had felt quite daunted recently but at the same time, was eagerly looking for an opportunity to work on a really good movie", admitted Kwon. That is when he came across the scenario for "71-Into the Fire", about 71 student soldiers who fight in the Korean War.
kwon Sang-woo [Park Sung-ki/Asia Economic Daily]
"I didn't hesitate to take it on -- it had a very well-executed scenario, it was refreshing in that it would be about student soldiers and it's not often that you're given a chance to work on a war pic given the circumstances the Korean film industry is in", Kwon explained excitedly.
Regarding his role as a juvenile delinquent who has opted to fight in the war as a fake student soldier instead of being sent to a reformatory, Kwon said, "I also thought that I would be playing a very important character in the film, one that would have a big impact. He undergoes a lot of emotional ups and downs so I was happy to be able to get to show various sides to his personality",
"Plus, who knows whether this will be my last time wearing a school uniform?" joked the 33-year-old, also a father of a 17-month-old son.
Kwon has donned a school uniform for several big screen roles, with each becoming a hit, leading the actor himself as well as others to believe the school uniform is his lucky charm.
So it just may be that the lucky charm is working its magic or Kwon is better than ever at doing what he is considered to do best -- acting the role of a perverse student who has his school hat perched slantingly on his head -- but figures have indicated Kwon's wishes may come true.
The film has become the fastest grossing Korean film so far this year, breaching the one million admissions mark in just five days of its release on June 16 and is slowing no signs of slowing down.
Jessica Kim jesskim@
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