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Chang and Kim Seong-ryeong on Target

Chang and Kim Seong-ryeong on Target

By Stephen Cremin

Thu, 22 May 2014, 23:59 PM (HKT)

Talent News

A few hours before the international premiere of The Target 표적 (2014) at the Cannes Film Festival, Film Business Asia sat down with actress KIM Seong-ryeong 김성령 | 金成鈴 and director Chang to discuss genre films, casting and China.

Why did you choose this project?
Chang: I'd seen the original French film, Point Blank, and was impressed by it. I like the fast development of the story and the elements of surprise in the film. Then when the production company and investor offered this film to me, I jumped at it. I was sure I could make the necessary changes to the original to make it a more attractive, contemporary story.

How did you decide on the cast?
Chang: The casting came quite naturally, including the choice of Kim Seong-ryeong. I adjusted the script a little for her. I like her elegance as an actress but I believed I could make her character more intense than the original. I really wanted to change the stereotype of the female police inspector in Korean movies and society. I knew I could achieve that with this actress.

Was this an easy role to accept?
Kim: Frankly, I was very attracted by the performance of the original French actress in the role. I thought that I could also do that. In Korean television dramas, I often play "girly" characters, but I really wanted to seize the opportunity to do something different.

Is it hard to find good scripts in South Korea?
Kim: There are a lot of good scripts in Korea. But one has to say that the Korean film industry is male-centric. So, there aren't that many good roles for women.

Are you directly competing with Lee Mi-suk, Kim Hye-su?
Kim: No, I'm quite different from KIM Hye-su 김혜수 | 金憓秀. She is more glamorous and sexy than me. I'm more often compared to KIM Hui-ae 김희애 | 金喜愛.

Chang: Kim Hye-su and Kim Seong-ryeong have a different "colour". Seong-ryeong is more the charming middle-aged woman and modern mother. Hye-su is much sexier and different. But Kim Hui-ae we can put in the same category.

Are you especially interested in making an action film?
Chang: I'm actually open to many different kinds of genre films. It's very important to follow the rules of the genre in commercial cinema. We have to know how to "cook" the genre. We can classify my first feature Death Bell 고死 피의 중간고사 (2008), as a horror movie, but it has thriller elements as well. The Target is an action film, but there are also thriller elements that I wanted to add to the recipe. I will continue to work in genre films, but I will try to add different elements always.

It's been a few years since Death Bell. Is it hard to get film projects made in South Korea?
Chang: After completing my first film, I focused on music videos for the next two years. There was another film that I prepared for a long time during those six years, but it was postponed. And suddenly I had the chance to make this film, The Target.

Do either of you have an interest in working in China?
Kim: In China, there are a lot of Korean actors that are popular. I was recently invited to work on a Chinese TV drama with a Korean director. I'm open about going to China to work if the conditions are right.

Chang: Cultural exchange between countries is very important. For producer, directors and for actors. I have to focus on that more in the future. Especially in China where there is an enormous market that is developing quickly. Actually, I'm preparing something now in China as a producer

What are the weaknesses of the Korean film industry?
Kim: I don't know that much because I'm an actress. But the industry is too focused on young audiences, especially female audiences. Hence the casting of so many handsome young actors in films. But it's also very important to have audiences aged in their 50s and 60s going to the movies. But the young female audience in South Korea likes me so I'm going to be okay!

Chang: As a director, and this doesn't just relate to the South Korean film industry, I sense that there's a problem with diversity. In the United States, the commercial Hollywood and the independent New York film industries can co-exist. In South Korea, in the 1990s, there was some harmony between the mainstream and independent film circles. But nowadays that's not the case. There is a great deal of pressure to make commercial films. And not just in South Korea but also in China. I believe it's important to maintain government policies to protect an independent film sector.

Do you get offers to star in independent films?
Kim: I haven't yet had the chance, but I want to try. I do theatre, so it's not an issue of salary for me. I want to go where the good roles are.

How did you approach the violence in your film?
Chang: Because this is about movies, we're talking about movie violence. It's a different thing. There needs to be authenticity to the violence in movies. For The Target, I deliberately didn't want there to be stylish action, but hard action.

What projects do you have coming up?
Kim: I'm doing theatre right now so I'll be back on the stage as soon as I return to Seoul. I'm reading the script of a drama now that I'm considering and also preparing for HA Jung-woo 하정우 | 河正佑's Chronicle of a Blood Merchant 허삼관 매혈기. I play a fortune teller in that film.

Chang: I've been developing several projects, including the one in China. And after the box office success of The Target, I now have several more offers. But I haven't decided which one I'll do next.

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