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'Duelist' Puts Rhythm Into Action in Period Film

2005/05/29 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

NAMYANGJU, Kyonggi Province - After a six year hiatus, the director of the 1999 detective action film "Nowhere To Hide" will tell another detective story set during the Choson Kingdom in his upcoming film.

"I thought about making a period film even before I made my debut, but the problem was the huge production cost needed to create the sets", Lee Myung-se said Friday during a news conference at an outdoor set in Kyonggi Province, where his new film "Duelist" is being shot.

"I think it is one of the best genres that local films can make to appeal to international audiences, but many period pieces were similar since they had to be shot in old palaces or other historical sites to reduce costs", Lee said.

To put his own style and some modern touches on his new film, Lee built a huge outdoor set measuring 10,000 pyong (33,000 square meters) inside the Seoul Studio Complex in Namyangju, Kyonggi Province. The set recreates a traditional market in the Choson Kingdom, where the main events of the film take place.

Starring Ha Ji-won, Gang Dong-won and Ahn Sung-ki, the period piece revolves around a female detective named Nam-sun (played by Ha) who investigates the forgery of coins and chases an assassin (Kang) involved in the crime.

As the director emphasizes the importance of motion in his film rather than the story and characters, the main actors usually had to perform their own stunts, including in the more dangerous scenes, requiring intensive pre-filming preparation. They had to learn various skills before the film was shot.

"We had to go through tough physical training. We learned the tango and martial arts at the same time to present rhythmical movements in action scenes, and the director asked us to become like professional tango dancers or martial arts practitioners", Ha recalled.


Ahn, first from right, answers questions from reporters during a news conference held at the Seoul Studio Complex in Namyangju, Kyonggi Province, Friday. The conference was also attended by co-stars Kang, left, Ha, second from left, and director Lee Myung-se.
"He always treated me as if I were a man while he was making a film. And I think he simply forgets that I am a woman. But all of the hard training later helped us play our characters and shoot action scenes without much difficulty", Ha said half-jokingly.

Although Ha played a policewoman in the popular period television drama "Tamo", she said the film may look similar to the drama as the two stories are based on the same novel, but the film focuses more on the confrontation and love between the two main characters.

It began filming last November to open in August and has already sold its Japanese distribution rights to the film importer Comstock at $5 million (5.1 billion won), the highest export price of South Korean movies ever. And Comstock reportedly plans to release the film in Japan at the same time as Korea.

Source : www.koreatimes.co.kr...

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