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'Typhoon' Stirs Up Attention at Pusan Set

2005/05/30 | 179 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Korea Times Correspondent

PUSAN - A scene after the Korean War (1950-1953): A South Korean protagonist finally meets his North Korean foe in Pusan for the first time. As soon as they sense each other at the gate of a hotel, they grab for their guns and start firing.

Although their brief encounter ended only after a few gunshots, the scene that was filmed Thursday gave a feeling of the fierce confrontation between them for an upcoming action blockbuster " The Typhoon (Taepung)".

As it was the first time for the director and actors of the film to unveil the film's progress since they started filming last November, almost a hundred reporters flocked to the location.

Directed by Kwak Gyeong-taek of the 2001 mega hit "Friend (Chingu)", "The Typhoon" tells the story of a face-off of two young men from opposites sides. Kwak has once again teamed up with Jang Dong-gun, one of the main characters in "Friend", and cast Lee Jung-jae as Jang's rival.

"My father fled from North Korea, and because of him, I've always wanted to make a film about the tragic situation of this divided nation", Kwak said during a news conference held at the Grand Hotel in Pusan after he finished shooting the scene at the hotel.

"I believe that the old saying, `out of sight and out of mind,' is really true", the director said. "It has been long since we met each other, which makes people here think that reunification is not urgent. So I hope this movie will remind them of the necessity of the reunification".

In the film, Jang plays a pirate named Sin, who defects from the North but is rejected by South Korea and decides to get revenge against the South. Lee plays a patriotic naval officer, named Kang Se-jong, who tries to stop Sin.

Many questions were thrown to Jang regarding the similarities and differences between "The Typhoon" and last year's war film "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War", as he starred in the two films that are both based on the tragic history. "Taegukgi" set a box-office record attracting more than 11.6 million moviegoers in South Korea.

"There are many similarities between the two films, of course as they are both big-budget blockbusters and depictions of the tragedy of the Korean War", Jang said. "But this film focuses more on the showdown between two young men destined to fight, while `Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War,' deals with the tragic story of a family".

With a production cost of about 1.5 billion won, the director and actors said they all felt the pressure to be a commercial success, but they were very confident they would show the best movie as they had worked under prime conditions thanks to the latest technology along with the finest film crew.

As the blockbuster has to depict numerous fighting and chasing scenes over water, it has built various indoor and outdoor sets, recreating warships on simulated seas.

For the past six months, about 70 percent of filming has been completed in Pusan and Thailand, and the rest of it will be shot in Russia and South Korea aiming to open at local theaters in December.

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