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Old Partners Team Up in New Film

2007/01/28 | 226 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Actress Ha Ji-won, who played Hwang Jin-i, a kisaeng, in a recent hit television drama, is about to show her tough side. In "Miracle on 1st Street", she plays a female boxer.

"When I shot the last boxing scene in the film, it was so hard that I somehow regretted having taken the role", Ha said half-jokingly last Friday during a news conference following the preview screening of her new film at Yongsan CVG multiplex theater in Seoul.

"I accidentally dealt my opponents hard blows, and they also did so to me. I once saw one of them bleeding. I was so shocked I couldn't work. It was mentally challenging", Ha said.

Directed by JK Youn, "Miracle on 1st Street" is a melodrama about wacky, boyish female boxer Myong-ran (played by Ha) and gangster Pil-je (Im Chang-jung).

The two meet when Pil-je moves into a poor neighborhood to evict people. The neighborhood will be demolished and redeveloped into a posh new town.

It may be hard to imagine Ha wearing gloves in a boxing ring after her role as a kisaeng, a female entertainer similar to Japan's geisha, in the KBS drama "Hwang Jin-i".

Actress Ha Ji-won, left, and Im Chang-jung team up once again in a new film about boxing and love.
In the drama, Ha showed off her talent for dancing and singing, wearing flamboyant and sensual traditional costumes to portray a renowned kisaeng, Hwang Jin-i, from the Choson Kingdom (1392-1910).

Through the historical piece, she won the hearts of many viewers and the KBS best acting award last year.

But it is not the first time Ha has taken on a role that involves action scenes.

In the 2005 action film "Duelist" and 2003 TV drama "Damo", she played a female detective in the Choson Kingdom and demonstrated her martial arts skills.

But the major difference between the previous works and the new film is that this time she did not have a double for action scenes, Ha said.

"I have starred in many films and dramas where I had to shoot action scenes. So I simply thought that I would have a double for action scenes in this film. But I was wrong", Ha said.

For the role, she joined a gymnasium where professional boxers are trained three month before the shooting began. She had to train at the gymnasium for six months, until she finished shooting the film.

"I had my nose injured and even made crooked while I was shooting. But I'm now quite good. Former boxing world champion Byon Jung-il offered me a chance to debut in the real boxing world", Ha said proudly.

But most of all, Ha found it meaningful to work with her favorite actor Im and director Yoon.

It has been almost five years since the three first worked together, in the 2002 hit adult comedy "Sex Is Zero", which sold over 4 million tickets nationwide.

"Since `Sex Is Zero', I hoped to work with them again, making a movie in a different genre. So I'm happy to work with them again and to meet the audience with my new character, different from the one in `Sex Is Zero"', Ha said.

"Miracle on 1st Street" will open nationwide on Feb. 15.

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