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Ha Jung-woo to direct film adaptation of Chinese novel

Popular actor Ha Jung-woo will direct and star in a film adaptation of famed Chinese author Yu Hua’s 1995 novel “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” Korean film house NEW said.

The novel, which is set from the early years of the People’s Republic of China until after the Cultural Revolution in the early 1950s to the 1980s, deals with a man who sells his blood for many years to support his family.

The upcoming movie will be the first film adaptation of the novel. Author Yu’s 1992 novel “To Live” was famously made into a movie by internationally acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou. 
Actor Ha Jung-woo speaks during a press conference promoting his upcoming film “The Terror Live” in Seoul on July 10. (Yonhap News)
Actor Ha Jung-woo speaks during a press conference promoting his upcoming film “The Terror Live” in Seoul on July 10. (Yonhap News)

On top of directing the film, Ha will star as the movie’s protagonist. According to NEW, Yu has watched all of Ha’s films and is happy that the Korean actor is directing the film as well as starring in it.

“I think Ha is perfect for the role,” the author said through the Korean promoters. “I am very excited to see how this movie will turn out.”

Ha, on the other hand, said he very much enjoyed Yu’s novel.

“I was touched by the book and am honored to make it into a film,” he said through the promoters. “I will try my best to make it a good one.”

Ha, who is considered one of the most prominent actors in the local film industry, has enjoyed much success in recent years with works including director Ryoo Seung-wan’s spy thriller “The Berlin File” and Yoon Jong-bin’s “Nameless Gangster.”

He has worked with some of the most acclaimed filmmakers in the country, including Kim Ki-duk, Na Hong-jin and Lee Yoon-ki.

The upcoming project will be Ha’s second film as a director. His directing debut “Rollercoaster” is slated to open in theaters this fall. The comedy tells the story of a Korean hallyu star who gets on a plane to Seoul from Tokyo and encounters severe turbulence during the flight due to a typhoon.

Ha reportedly wrote the script based on his friend and actor Ryoo Seung-bum’s real-life experience. Ryoo said the plane turbulence went on for almost seven hours ― it normally only takes about two hours to get to Seoul from Tokyo ― and he genuinely thought he was going to die.

Before that, Ha’s latest starring film, director Kim Byung-woo’s “The Terror Live,” opens in theaters Aug. 1. In the thriller, he plays a prominent news anchor who receives a call from a terrorist after he bombs Seoul’s Mapo Bridge.

By Claire Lee (