The casting of the three mega stars Choi Min-sik, Lee Jung-jae and Hwang Jung-min doesn't happen often. But the three have come together for the first time for director Park Hoon-jeong's second film.
Choi, Lee and Hwang are ready to show off their impeccable acting talent once again to viewers in their new film titled "Sinsegae," which is to be released next month.
"I honestly didn't expect to have such big names cast in my second work. I was extremely surprised when they accepted my offer," said Park Wednesday at the press conference held in Apgujeong-dong, southern Seoul. The award-winning director is known for his first movie "Hyultu" (2010) and screenplays including "The Unjust" (2010) and "I Saw the Devil" (2010).
"Sinsegae," meaning "a new world" in English, is a story about fidelity and betrayal between two police detectives and the number two man of a local gang. Undercover police officer Ja-sung (Lee) infiltrates the gang "Gold Moon" to investigate them under the command of his superior Kang (Choi). After eight years, Ja-sung becomes the right-hand man to the ring's second-in-command Jung Chung (Hwang), who holds the real power.
"The film is basically about gangsters who engage in politics," said Hwang at the press conference. The 42-year-old actor previously appeared in box office hits including "You Are My Sunshine" (2005), "A Bittersweet Life" (2005) and "Five Senses of Eros" (2009). "It felt like I was running a straight and easy road throughout the whole shooting period. It means it was considerably easier for me to understand the story itself since it's about a man's world," added Hwang.
Veteran actor Choi, who is best known for his critically acclaimed role in "Old Boy" (2003), described the film as one that "focuses on something very specific." "I took this role as a police officer for the first time in over 20 years of my acting career and I am genuinely happy that it raised my social status in films as I took roles as brutal criminals many times," said the 50-year-old star, recipient of several awards both at home and abroad. During the press conference, Choi showed special interest in the new film, saying that he was the one who decided to cast Lee as Ja-sung.
"I always wanted to work with Lee Jung-jae, not only because he is my junior in university but also I was so sure he is capable of playing perfectly the role as a young undercover police officer," said Choi.
Asked how Lee felt when he got a phone call from Choi, Lee said he was "pretty shocked that Choi tried to cast me directly." "I was in the middle of filming a movie at that time, but I was more than happy to accept his offer and start working with such a big senior. I am grateful to him indeed," the 39-year-old actor added.
The three actors told reporters their views about where they wish to be in the future. "For me, it's theaters. Everything happens there and I spend most of my time there. So my new world, or the new world for directors and actors like me, will be theaters," said Choi. Hwang and Lee said they wish to continue their acting career as long as they can.
"Ultimately, what I want in my new world is to work with talented actors, actresses and the production crew for years to come," said Lee.
"Sinsegae" is to be released on Feb. 21 in theaters nationwide. For more information about the movie, visit www.sinsegae2013.co.kr or call (02) 543-1917.