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Lee Min-ho talks violence, poverty, and pressure on “Gangnam 1970”

Actor Lee Min-ho talked about playing an impoverished orphan-turned-mobster in the upcoming “Gangnam 1970,” a noir action film depicting the tumultuous history of real estate development behind Seoul‘s now most famous district.

“I haven’t really played a lot of impoverished characters,” the actor commented during a news conference on Tuesday. “Mostly I’m depicted as that guy from a really rich family, so I doubt audiences will be able to immediately adjust to my character. But I just hope that people will be curious to see the transformation.”

Lee Min-ho poses at a news conference to promote his new film
Lee Min-ho poses at a news conference to promote his new film "Gangnam 1970" in Seoul on Tuesday.Yonhap

Ridden with bloodshed and brutal murder scenes, “Gangnam 1970” portrays two brothers’ struggles amid sociopolitical turmoil and corruption of the 1970s in South Korea.

“I think there is a sense of violence deep inside all human beings,” the actor answered when asked about his numerous fight sequences. “Playing this role, it was the first time I had to tap into my own inner cruelty. It was definitely mentally grueling.”

Well known for roles in hit series “The Heirs” and “City Hunter,” Lee focused primarily on TV roles prior to this movie.

“It is my first time playing a lead on the big screen,” he comments. “I think TV acting and film acting are two quite different processes, so I tried to rid myself of my past acting habits.”

While Lee has performed minor roles in such movies as “Public Enemy Returns” and “Our School’s E.T.,” it is his first time taking the lead.

“Rather than trying too hard, I tried to relax and focus on portraying the character,” Lee answered when asked about the pressures of playing the central protagonist.

Lee also commented on the family-like atmosphere of the crew on set.

“I’m a pretty good judge of character. When I see someone for the first time, I can usually size them up -- tell whether they’re nice people and so on. And the whole cast for our movie, as soon as I met them, I just felt like they were good people. Actor Jung Jin-young, for example, I called him ‘dad’ on set. I’ve been a big admirer of actor Kim Rae-won since a long time ago, as I’ve told him several times. That made for a pleasant filming experience.”

“Gangnam 1970,” directed by Yoo Ha and starring actors Lee Min-ho, Kim Rae-won and Jung Jin-young and girl group AOA member Kim Seol-hyun will open in local theaters on Jan. 21.

By Rumy Doo
Korea Herald daum