A large-scale shootout scene from the KBS TV drama "IRIS"
was filmed on a rainy day on November 29 in Gwanghwamun, the heart of Seoul where the Presidential Blue House, central government agencies and the U.S. Embassy to Korea are located. The earsplitting sounds of gunfire were heard, bullets were shot through the windows of cars that were entangled in clashes, and hand grenades exploded.
Actor Lee Byung-hun
, who was carrying a bag with a nuclear bomb prop, and actress Kim So-yeon
were running fast to escape from Jang Dong-jik
and Yeo Ho-min
, who kept firing blanks at them. Lee Byung-hun
impressed everyone by jumping over a car, while Kim So-yeon
showed off her charisma in portraying a North Korean agent by skillfully blocking their pursuers.
The production team of "IRIS"
was the first in the nation to obtain a permit from the Seoul metropolitan government to shoot a gun-firing scene in Gwanghwamun. The filming began at 7 a.m. with seven cameras rolling. Every minute mattered because everything had to be finished by sunset.
The entire Gwanghwamun Plaza was closed to the public. The sidewalks were packed with citizens who came to see the high-profile cast of the drama. Some watched from the first floor of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts because the entire area was closed all the way up to the center. Merchants selling binoculars and raincoats showed up in no time. Everyone tried their best to see the famous actors.
The gun-firing scene was suspended for an hour because a wedding ceremony was held at the wedding hall of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. The heavy rain also hampered the shoot but luckily it was finished successfully. A production staff member said, "We had to suspend the shoot for one hour because it was too loud for the wedding ceremony. We weren't concerned because the weather forecast said there would be only 5 mm of rain, but it actually rained heavily. It was difficult for us to shoot. Because of the rain, we failed to capture good images of car windows being broken by bullets. We will have to use computer graphics later".
The scene that was filmed that day shows Lee Byung-hun
, Kim So-yeon
and Choi Seung-hyun
rushing to Gwanghwamun after receiving information that the North Korean terrorists had concealed a nuclear bomb there, and end up clashing with them. More than 130 vehicles, 20 guns, three hand grenades and some 20 extra actors were deployed for the scene. To ensure public safety and control traffic, three police squads, firetrucks and ambulances were also dispatched to the scene.
To finish filming within the permitted 12 hour period, the production crew held a rehearsal at the World Cup Stadium in Sangam-dong. Jeong Tae-won
, the CEO of Taewon Entertainment, which produces the drama, said the team held a rehearsal the day before to minimize errors. He also expressed gratitude to Seoul residents and the Seoul metropolitan government for cooperation in filming in the very heart of Seoul for the first time. He said, "When "IRIS"
is exported overseas, viewers from all over the world will be able to see how beautiful Seoul is. We will replace certain images with computer graphics because Gwanghwamun is currently under restoration. The drama contains many gorgeous images of the Cheonggye Stream, the Han River and Incheon Bridge. It will help to attract tourists to Korea".
The Gwanghwamun scene will be shown in the December 2 and 3 episodes of "IRIS"
. The drama contains a total of 20 episodes.