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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Into the Gunfire director Lee Jae Han and Big Bang’s TOP, their common denominator?

Director Lee Jae Han and Big Bang’s TOP (Choi Seung Hyun) are strangely similar.

A recent interview with director Lee Jae Han is reminiscent of TOP, who we met last May. There was a strange connection between these two, overcoming their 20-year age difference.

The two, who met as director and actor for the film Into the Gunfire, say they discovered this common denominator as well. Director Lee Jae Han said, “It was as if I was looking at my younger self,” and TOP remembered, “We understood each other a lot.”

Having met both of them, the common denominator was of that innocence in their eyes that seem like they will continue to dream no matter how much time passes, that passion about art, that strong expression that is careful and quiet and yet seems stubborn. Lee Jae Han had been going around promoting and making stage appearances for the movie Into the Gunfire even until recently. Though he was physically busy, the direct interaction with the audience lifted his spirits.

“I think this is the first time I’m experiencing this kind of passion. First of all, the cries and screams and the cheers of the young fans at Choi Seung Hyun is quite memorable, and amongst them the people in the audience tearing up remains in my memory. These were usually older people. I remember most the ones who were crying as they felt the resonance of the film through the audience’s cheers.”

The response of the older audience on whom there is the fragrance of war to the movie Into the Gunfire was anticipated to a certain extent. But Into the Gunfire was also successful in eliciting a passionate reaction from younger students. Of course TOP probably contributed to this, but there is also another reason for this sustained response. According to director Lee Jae Han, the reason is the character of Oh Jang Bum, who both he and TOP painstakingly created together.

“As children grow up, they read fairy tales, and in those stories are important values. The precious values in those good story books. Our film isn’t a fairy tale, but the noble mentality that children admire contained in the character of Oh Jang Bum (Choi Seung Hyun). I think there’s something that reaches children especially, in the way he makes an effort until the end, and in the way he pulls everyone along with his leadership despite being thrown into a war.”

“In childhood, who doesn’t have an experience of feeling anger towards a parent or teacher who lies. Though ethics and morality haven’t materialized yet, that kind of instinct that response to good things, to right things. Though kids living in the 21st century haven’t experienced something like a war, but isn’t the empathy and special connection they feel towards Oh Jang Bum a result of a longing for and reaction to something like that. And I think having such a character played by idol of idols TOP had a positive effect.”

Oh Jang Bum is the only character in the movie that experiences an inner transformation. He goes through a great change and experiences a kind of growth. In order to portray such a character, Choi Seung Hyun met with director Lee Jae Han from the moment he was casted to discuss his character. This character that was born after much discussion is thus a projection that contains elements of both Choi Seung Hyun and Lee Jae Han.

“The things that Oh Jang Bum accomplished. Despite his personal will and caught up in a war, he becomes lieutenant. He offers all of himself until the very moment that he dies trying to make the impossible possible. His efforts are heroic. And because his efforts were within a fratricidal tragedy, you could say he is a hero.”

The birth of a hero was only possible through the efforts of two artists who poured their like energies into one place. Meanwhile, Into the Gunfire, which premiered on June 16th, succeeded in bringing in over 2.6 million viewers.

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