TV Drama Shoot Draws Big Crowd in Downtown Seoul

"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"It sounds so real!"
In Gwanghwamun Plaza in downtown Seoul yesterday, around 1,000 people gathered to watch filming of the KBS2 TV drama "IRIS" despite drizzling rain.

Though it was difficult to see the actors up close since the production staff cordoned off areas near the set, people cried for joy whenever they caught a glimpse of the cast. The roaring sound of gunshots and explosion jolted spectators with surprise but they seemed excited nevertheless.

The scene filmed yesterday had the main characters Kim Hyeon-joon (played by Lee Byung-hun), Kim Seon-hwa (Kim So-yeon) and Choi Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee) confronted by North Korean terrorists who tried to explode a nuclear bomb in the middle of the city.

The scene involved large-scale a gun battle and car explosions. A production staff member said, "We used up nearly all of the 4,000 bullets we brought".

The scene will be aired Thursday as part of the 16th episode.

People took pictures of the scene and actors with digital cameras and mobile phones. Lee Ki-uk, 47, who has watched all of the drama's episodes, said, "I came here with my elder son who wanted to see Kim Tae-hee and Lee Byung-hun. We didn't get to see them in person because of the crowds and restrictions, but it was still exciting to hear the gunshots. I think watching this episode will be more fun".

To complete filming within the given timeframe, the production staff began preparing for the shoot from 3 a.m. Shooting took around 12 hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Other scenes were normally shot with a single camera at different angles, but the staff used five cameras for this shoot. The actors even rehearsed at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the city's Sangam district.

Producer Kim Sol-mae of Taewon Entertainment, whose company is producing the drama, said, "We went ahead with shooting despite the rain, and we ate rice balls and fishball soup for lunch to save time. Since weddings were in progress at nearby Sejong Art Hall, we stopped making gunshot sounds while ceremonies were going on".

The road between Gwanghwamun and Sejongno intersection was blocked for 12 hours and makeshift roads were made in the opposite direction, causing heavy traffic in the region. Police said not only roads near the shooting location but also others nearby experienced heavy traffic with average speed of 10 kilometers per hour while the shooting went on.

People passing by the Gwanghwamun area experienced inconvenience since several pedestrian roads were blocked. A 49-year-old Italian said, "I waited 10 minutes in the rain just to cross the street (since police only allowed cars to pass). I don't know what they're doing here but it's absurd that authorities only let cars pass while blocking people. It simply doesn't make sense since people come before cars".
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