From left, actors Kim Seung-woo, T.O.P (Choi Seung-hyun), kwon Sang-woo and Cha Seung-won pose during a photo session of a press conference for film "71-Into the Fire" held at Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on May 10, 2010. [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
In August of 1950, when the Korean War was well under way, a letter was found in the pocket of student soldier Lee Woo-geun who died while fighting in a battle to defend the Nakdong River. The letter, which the 16-year-old had failed to send off to his mother, read the following: "Mother, I killed a person. It was such a brutal death. Why do we have to go into war? I'm thinking frightening thoughts. I wish the war would end quickly and feel your warm embrace". Film "71-Into the Fire" starts with this letter.
What leads the film is not its blockbuster scale which cost the production 11.3 billion won, nor its extravagant cast. The camera operates in order to shed light onto the existence of student soldiers who took part in the meaningless war yet have failed to be remembered for their sacrifice. Their young lives, which in vain were used as human shields on the battlefields of a war which in itself in a tragedy, deepens the scar left by the incident. "71-Into the Fire" satisfies its name as a war movie with its grand-scale battle scenes but will it also manage to draw on the tragedy of the Korean War which is our nation's pain? The film, produced to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, is set for release on June 17. Below are excerpts from the press conference attended by director John H. Lee and actors Cha Seung-won, Choi Seung-hyun (TOP), kwon Sang-woo and Kim Seung-woo.
T.O.P (Choi Seung-hyeon) [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
Q: As much as it is a war film, there are a particularly high number of battle and exploding scenes. You all looked so worn out in the behind-the-scenes footage -- to the extent that it seemed that you must resent the director.
Cha Seung-won: What was most difficult was fighting against the cold. Filming started in late November so we shot the most important scenes when it was the coldest. I personally didn't have to engage in any exploding scenes so I wasn't threatened physically. I think I rather didn't have such a hard time because I invested a lot of time to talk with the director in figuring out my character and his situation.
Kim Seung-woo: I had a fundamental trust in the director and you probably know by looking at the footage but I'm satisfied because it shows how hard he worked. We had a hard time keeping up with him because he sleeps very little and has strong physical strength. (laugh)
Q: Cha Seung-won, you took on the role of the bad guy again, like you did in your previous film "Blades of Blood".
Cha: Coincidentally, I'll be playing the bad guy three times in a row after I shoot TV series "ATHENA" next. My role as Park Moo-ryang for "71-Into the Fire" is the chief of the enemy so we won't be beautifying him but I think he will be shown as someone who was sacrificed in a war and how he had no choice but to let it happen as a soldier.
Choi Seung-hyun: He played the bad guy but Cha, as well as Kim, always took such good care of me on set. I did become a bit terrified though because Cha would occasionally appear in my dreams looking scary. (laugh)
Cha Seung-won [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
Q: I heard that you worked out a lot because you worked with some of the actors who have the best physique in this industry.
Cha: There was nothing else to do in the area that we shot, rather than us having worked out because we like to. (laugh) It would be around 7 p.m. when we wrap up shoot everyday but the sun would have already gone down so we had no choice but to work out.
kwon Sang-woo: Even I couldn't be bothered to work out but Cha would go all the way to Daegu city and back to work out -- that's how enthusiastic he is when it comes to working out.
Cha: The gym where we were at would close on Sunday. (laugh) I would go to Daegu because I didn't have anything else to do.
Q: In the preview shown today, it was impressive how Kim walked so undauntedly despite a bridge behind him exploding.
Kim: I was actually scared. The sound of the explosion was bigger than I thought it would be and it didn't look too bad on screen but it was very cold when we shot the screen and I was wearing short sleeves, so I had goosebumps and was scared at the time. (laugh) Every exploding scene after that was like war and hell.
Reporter : Lee Ji-Hye seven@
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
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TOP says lived as 17-year-old for 6 months for "Fire" (2)
Kwon Sang-woo [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia] Q: Kwon Sang-woo, this is the first time in a while that you ,...More