[HanCinema's News] Lee Hong-nae Has No Special Trouble Making a Queer Film
By William Schwartz | Published on
The queer movie "Made in Rooftop" will be released in South Korean theaters this coming June 23rd. The melodramatic comedy is the first leading one for actor Lee Hong-nae, whose recent roles include a Royal Guard captain in "The King: Eternal Monarch" and a powerful demon in "The Uncanny Counter" both from last year. But in a recent interview, Lee Hong-nae brushed aside questions regarding the homosexual nature of his first starring role.
According to Lee Hong-nae, he gives his all to every project he takes on. To him, a gay character is just another new means of approach. The responsibility of being a lead actor, by contrast, has felt like much more of a serious new change for him. Lee Hong-nae's character Ha-neul, literally Sky in commonly spoken Korean, is also more than his sexual identity. He is also a failed job-seeker, a millennial like so many others caught adrift in the modern world.
Lee Hong-nae claims he was eager for the challenge as soon as he received the offer via his agency. Lee Hong-nae said that he is always drawn to new kinds of genres to better expand his horizons, and told director Kim-Jho Gwang-soo as much at their first meeting. Kim-Jho Gwang-soo is best known as a producer, although he has also directed such films as "Two Weddings and a Funeral" which are known for their depiction of gay characters.
Purportedly Kim-Jho Gwang-soo told Lee Hong-nae it was OK to be nervous, and had the actors engage in many test readings prior to filming. Lee Hong-nae said that he had to work most carefully with appropriately nailing the tone of his character, and not to make him seem overly playful. Lee Hong-nae also noted that Kim-Jho Gwang-soo's direction of the film was also not what he was expecting, with sexuality consistently being less important than expressing proper emotional qualities.
Lee Hong-nae also claimed to have some trouble maintaining character due to his scheduling. Filming for "Made in Rooftop" overlapped with his work with "The King: Eternal Monarch" and "The Uncanny Counter" necessitating sometimes abrupt changes in mindsets. In closing Lee Hong-nae stated that he hoped "Made in Rooftop" would offer comfort to viewers, while also helping them to laugh a little more.
Written by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.