When Korean male actor Joo Jin-mo
dropped by his dear friend as well as his acting colleague Jang Dong-gun
's house in March, the word "a LOVE" ("Sarang", love in Korea) written on a cover of a script caught his eyes.
Joo: What is it?
Jang: It's a script director Kwak Gyeong-taek
told me to skim through".
Joo flipped through the pages and he was immediately absorbed in the script. He could not take his eyes off the script even when Jang talked to him after clearing up their dinner table.
Joo: Who got the main lead?
Jang: I heard the director is thinking of "A".
In the afternoon, Joo called his agent and said, "If I don't get this part, I will kill myself!"
Although no one offered him the part, his pride was the last thing on his mind. He was desperate for the role. After many ups and downs, the determined 33-year-old actor finally got the part – the male lead in "Sarang (Love)" scheduled to hit screens next Thursday.
"a LOVE", a new film by Kwak Gyeong-taek
, who is also the director of the nationwide hit "Friend"
, mainly centers on Choi In-ho
's (played by Joo) desperate love for his elementary school sweetheart Mi-joo (played by Park Si-yeon
). Fate forces him to commit a crime for Mi-joo. However, when he comes back for Mi-joo later, she has already become the lover of Yoo (played by Joo Hyun
), who raised Choi.
"I wanted to become something more than an actor with good looks - someone realistic instead of all dressed-up and charismatic". Many viewers regard the movie as an unofficial sequel to "Friend"
as they both contain a heavy Busan dialect, violence and love. Some even said that Gwak has created a replica of "Friend"
to make up for the lackluster "Typhoon
", whose popularity did not meet his expectations.
"Up until now, Kwak's movies were all about masculinity, power, toughness and strong emotions. They were rough. However, this movie is more refined with the universal ingredient – love. Expressing delicate emotions was the essence of this movie. I tried to stay away from outright masculinity".
Story-wise, "a LOVE" is a typical and tragic love story. At an age where instant love prevails, his true love seems almost foolish. Joo said, "This movie has nothing to do with the current trend. However, I am sure that young viewers will be absorbed in the movie". He described Choi as, "If he falls in love with someone, he thinks about her all the time. There are guys who naturally know how to express their feelings to their lovers and those who are removed from that. Well, Choi belongs to the latter group. He doesn't know what to do in front of Mi-joo".
In-ho looks after Mi-joo for life, keeping faithful to his promise. When Yoo tells Choi, "A man's love for a woman never lasts", he turns away, saying, "Sir, I am different". When Dong-A asked if Joo resembles Choi in real life, he replied, "When I was in my 20s, I thought I was invincible. However, as time goes by, I am not really sure about it even if I want to believe so. Well, movies describe ideal values".
He put his heart and soul into the movie. As the filming schedule adhered to a strict timeline just as they do in Hollywood, losing 10 kg in two weeks was a challenging task. He almost suffered insomnia on an empty stomach every night. Just as his colleague actors such as Jang Dong-gun
and Jo In-sung
broke free from typical handsome actor image, Joo is confident that he will be born again with the movie.
On the screen, his exotic facial features seemed slightly too much. However, seen in person, he has a very delicate Korean face with subtle facial feathers. At the interviewer's comment – "I have a feeling that some people might say your face is too exotic" – he takes it seriously.
"I used to hear that a lot, but not anymore. I think people say my facial features are exaggerated when I don't act with all my heart. If I remain faithful to my role, I don't hear that. So this time, it will be different".