By Lee Hyo-won
In the "hardboiled" romantic comedy "Venus and Mars
" (working title), two unlikely actors have teamed up to give new meaning to a lover's quarrel. Screen star Kim Tae-hee
has cast off her sweet and elegant image to play a bitter ― and violent ― woman while bona fide actor Sol Kyung-gu
has toned down his tough on-screen persona to play the battered husband.
"It's basically about two people, who, before getting married, couldn't stand being apart, but afterwards can't stand each other", said Sul during a recent press event.
The film could be seen as a homegrown version of "The War of the Roses" (starring Michael Douglas) with a touch of Brangelina's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith". To this, director Han Ji-seung
("A Day") said he was definitely influenced by the Michael Douglas movie, but "Venus and Mars
" was actually inspired by the true, ultra-dramatic story of a friend and his girlfriend.
"Rather than focusing on romance, it's a story that defines love through fighting", he said.
Kim's character embarks on a mission to destroy, and nothing can stop her. She smashes her husband's car and sets things on fire, and flies around doing high kick and drags around a metal pipe (this is Kim Tae-hee
, not a scene from "My Wife is a Gangster").
But Kim's character may not be so disparate from her real self.
"(Kim) Tae-hee confessed! When she was young she used to beat the hell out of her younger brother (actor) Lee Wan
and scared the life out him", Seol exclaimed. "The physical beating scenes were real ― she said she couldn't fake them and really kicked me!" he said, complaining playfully.
"He really loves his body and wanted to spare himself", Kim retaliated, but went on to admit the abuse. "I am actually hot-tempered. I think I was able to release a lot of what I've grown used to suppress",
"My brother calls me `iron foot' because I used to kick him a lot… Once I broke a window trying to get him when he escaped to the veranda", Kim recalled her action-packed childhood ― smiling ever so sweetly ― to the shock of everyone present, except her co-star and director.
"I didn't really believe it until we went into shooting", said the director. "She did that thing where you don't simply stop with kicking someone, but rub the spot with the foot afterwards ― now that's someone who's done some kicking before, because you're rubbing in the pain", he said.
"She hits you to the point where she hurts her own fist", added Sul. Yet Sul's string of grievances suggested his own similarity to his lily-livered character ― perhaps a sharp turn away from his strong characters in films like "Silmido
". But to this, he disagreed, saying that his previous roles were far from macho.
"They were really delicate characters who only resorted to aggression because of their instabilities. I think this role is a continuation of this", he said. "Besides, I really am a bit timid and grumbling".
As for Kim, her surprising departure from the fragile heroine of TV drama "Love Story in Harvard
" does not stop with hard kicks. This project shows she's more than just a pretty face.
"Pretty, neat and proper… are not the words (to describe Kim)", Sul continued to tease his co-star. "She's really down to earth and one tough ball. She'd jump into fires and do wire action without hesitating one bit, so the stunt person went home in vain… And she runs like a man, an athlete", he said.
"Because I have such a soft image I wanted to show a fresh, new and more dynamic side in the film", said Kim. "I was also attracted to the movie because I love romantic comedies, but it's not romantic at all ― that's why is called `hardboiled"'. The supporting cast, actor Seo Tae-hwa
and musical-actress Jeon Su-kyoung, also joined the three to discuss their role in heating up this war of the sexes.
For the press event, comedian Park Hong-su revealed an online survey listing top five reasons for fighting with a significant other: when she/he 1. apologizes insincerely; 2. doesn't get my message; 3. says she/he isn't angry but sulks; 4. blames me for everything without thinking of what she/he's done wrong; and 5. is kind to everyone except me.