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Hey boys and girls, the New York Asian Film Festival gave their Star Asia award to an actor whose work has ranged from the provocative - Oasis, Peppermint Candy - to the popular - Silmido, Haeundae and the Public Enemy series.  Sol Kyung-gu makes his first trip to New York to introduce the surveillance thriller, Cold Eyes, and the devastating story of a family overcoming a brutal violation in Hope.

Dig it!


Sol Kyung-gu

The Lady Miz Diva:  How did you come to the film, Hope?

Sol Kyung-gu:  That script has been around for a few years.  Actually, another director was attached to the film at one point.  They even had the casting done for the child actress, but it wasnít moving forward.  Then Lotte {Entertainment} came in and everything changed: They scouted the director Lee Joon-ik and then I was brought back and the child actor was recast and then everything started clicking together.   I think everything started moving smoothly because of everyoneís faith in the director.


LMD:  Can you please talk about the direction of Lee Joon-ik? Did he have a definite structure for how you would play the role?

SK-g:  He trusts the actors he brings on board.  Heís very emotionally fragile, so he has a difficult time of doing many takes of the emotionally-charged scenes.  He cries a lot too.  So, he has a difficult time separating himself from his characters and he cries a lot and everybody makes fun of him.


LMD:  With such an emotionally-charged role, were you able to leave that character on the set at the end of the day?

SK-g:  Depending on whoís at the helm of the set; the vibe on the set is different.  For example, Lee Chang-dong, the director of Oasis and Peppermint Candy, there is a lot of pressure on the set.  But Director Lee Joon-ik canít stand that because heís a very light director.  He was also concerned about the child actress {Lee Re}; because of her presence, he didnít want a set that is full of tension and pressure.  So when you watch the movie, you would think that the set was also very grim, but in reality, it wasnít so; it was very lighthearted.  The movie is the movie, but on the set it was a totally different reality.


LMD:  During the early scenes, the fatherĎs reaction is interesting because itís such a slow build, until you see that finally he has to deal with reality.  Was that slow progression something you worked on yourself or Director Leeís idea?

SK-g:  With every movie, there is a process of sharing ideas so you come closer and closer to a common point, but I would say we didnít have that much difference of opinion.  We also shot in order.  It wasnít the type of movie that required a lot of calculations since the scenes were in order, so you could just feel the emotions.  So I think because we shot in the order of the script, it was easier.


LMD:  Was Cold Eyes shot near the time of Hope?

SK-g:  It was right before the shooting of Hope.


LMD:  How do you switch gears between playing this acerbic, almost humorous character in Cold Eyes and playing this wrenching, emotional role in Hope?

SK-g:  Well, they are just very different characters the way theyíre written.


LMD:  Do you need that when you know youíre going to play something very heavy; taking a project that has an opposite feel?

SK-g:  Yes, for sure.


LMD:  Iíve mentioned it a few times how I admire Korean actorsí ability to disappear into the characters and you are one of those that does it amazingly. Is that your goal as an actor to be invisible and only let the character show through?

SK-g:  I donít think of myself as disappearing into the role. That would be nice, but Iím always there. {Laughs}


LMD:  You are known for gaining or losing weight to better play a particular role. Do you build your characters from the inside out; do you have to live with them, or are you able to just read the script and keep it on the surface?

SK-g:  I think before, I did that.  Like I would walk around in my costume.  But itís very difficult and itís difficult for the people around me.  So I try my best not to lose myself.


LMD:  You studied film and youíve done theater and youíre known as one of Koreaís greatest actors; have you ever wanted to work behind the camera?

SK-g:  Actually, when I first went to university, I wanted to be a director because I didnít have the personality to be an actor.  I didnít think I had ever showed any kind of inclination.  But from an actorís point of view, just watching directors at work - especially Korean directors, who basically have to be there at every stage of every decision thatís made - and it seems like extremely challenging work.  So I decided itís not for everybody.  Let me just stick to acting.


~ The Lady Miz Diva

July 8th, 2014



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Exclusive Photos

 by L.M.D.

Stills courtesy of Lotte Entertainment for Hope. Next World Entertainment for Cold Eyes










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