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Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ filming brings Hollywood action to Busan

BUSAN - The shooting of a Hollywood action flick in Busan had residents of Korea’s largest port city excited Tuesday night.

The street bordering Gwangalli Beach in Busan was closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday for the filming of Marvel Studios’ upcoming blockbuster “Black Panther.” The film is another instalment in the “Avengers” series, of which “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was filmed in Korea in 2015.

Filming in Busan which began on March 17 continues through Wednesday, with up to 2,000 crew members shooting in various locations in the city, including the famous Jagalchi fish market. The filming is said to mostly follow a high intensity car chase.

The Hollywood action film “Black Panther” is shot Tuesday night at Gwangalli in Busan. (Paul Steinke)
The Hollywood action film “Black Panther” is shot Tuesday night at Gwangalli in Busan. (Paul Steinke)

Despite all-night road closures at Gwangalli on Tuesday, local business owners said they were excited about the filming, hoping that their business might appear on the big screen.

Lee Jae-hoon, a manager at local restaurant Guess Who, mentioned the filming could have a positive effect on the area’s businesses.

“We haven’t had any problems. If our restaurant sign comes up on the screen, that’s great publicity for us. They wanted us to keep the light for our sign on all night, until 6 a.m.,” said Lee. He added that the “Avengers” filming in Seoul drew a lot of attention and the movie became a hit in Korea, partly from locals wanting to catch a glimpse of their favorite hangouts on the big screen.

Some businesses have even used the filming to fill their seats, with one bar hosting a “Black Panther” viewing party to go on throughout the filming. HQ, a bar on the Gwangalli beachfront strip, was open from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. to anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of a Hollywood star, or at least some action sequences.

“We’re very excited,” said Sun Kim, a co-owner of HQ. “One of the crew members said they’re planning to have a helicopter, and a car chase on the road outside.”

She added that HQ has been seen in plenty of Korean movies, but never one of this size.

“I’ve seen our bar in other Korean films, our little sign. But this is a big scale movie, so the whole world can see it. I know most of the owners in this building and a few others. Everybody’s happy about it. Nobody complained,” Kim said.

Kim added that they received a small amount of money to pay for the electrical bill, as they kept lights on all night for the filming. She and other business owners think the film will be good exposure for Busan, and will also offer a good look at modern Korean life.

“Korea has a lot of history, so in some movies you see the Korean War or some other dark part. But with this movie they can show how Koreans live today.”

The Busan Film Commission has worked alongside the film’s crew to make the filming possible.

Lee Seung-ee, a production team manager at the BFC, says films like this help bring positive attention to Busan, and showcase the city many outside Asia are unfamiliar with. He adds that Busan is becoming known around the world as a center for film, helped by the Busan International Film Festival, the largest film festival in Asia.

“It’s not just being released here, it’s a global film. So films like (Black Panther) are becoming a good way for people around the world to become more aware of the city. Filming ‘Avengers’ in Korea spread some awareness. Now it seems there are some other studios looking at Busan,” Lee said.

He added that noise from the shooting could be an issue for some, but that Busan citizens have been helpful so far in creating a good environment for filming, helping make Busan an attractive choice for overseas studios.

“There could be some people who are sensitive to the noise, so we’re conscious of that, but overall people have been very helpful,” Lee said.

Lee asked that Busan citizens continue their support while the filming is going on and to exercise caution when visiting filming locations.

However, safety seemed to be the last thought for the onlookers at Gwangalli Beach on Tuesday night, who came out to get a glimpse of the Hollywood action. They watched as a car with the Black Panther straddling the top, played by a stunt double, rolled down the boardwalk between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Filming will also take place in Yeongdo, Gwajeonggyo, Dongseo University, and in the area around Sajik Baseball Stadium.

“Black Panther” revolves around an African king played by Chadwick Boseman, who returns to his home of Wakanda after his father’s murder and finds his role of king and protector challenged by a longtime adversary. The film is set for release in February 2018.

By Josh Doyle (