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[Herald Interview] Eom Tae-goo curious about global audience’s response to ‘Night in Paradise’

Eom Tae-goo (Netflix)
Eom Tae-goo (Netflix)

Many local movies since last year have decided to skip theaters to release on Netflix due to the spread of COVID-19, which has kept moviegoers away from theaters.

“Night in Paradise”also took this path, being released in 190 countries through Netflix on April 9.

Five days after its release, lead actor Eom Tae-goo said he is curious about the response from global viewers, during a joint media interview held via Zoom on Wednesday.

“To me, it is amazing that the movie is being simultaneously released in multiple different countries,” Eom told local reporters. “Our movie has deep Korean cultural sentiment, as it was created by Koreans. I hope our way of depicting desperate emotions and loneliness can be delivered properly to foreign viewers.”

“Night in Paradise,” directed by Park Hoon-jung, premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival last year. The film tells the story of Park Tae-goo (Eom), a crime syndicate member, who flees to Jeju Island after he becomes a target of another organized crime group. On the island, he meets Jae-yeon (Jeon Yeo-bin), who is always cynical because she sees no hope in life.

“All of director Park’s movies are memorable to me. But I was especially shocked when I watched ‘New World’ and ‘The Witch: Part 1 -- The Subversion,’” Eom said.

Eom added that he feels that "Night in Paradise" is different from Park’s previous films.

“It has the structure of a Korean-style crime film but there is Jae-yeon, which is a new character that has not been seen often in Korean-style crime films and brings this fresh mood. This is also the reason that I wanted to work with director Park.”

Although Eom is usually an introvert in real life, the actor said it was not difficult to perform a charismatic character that is a key member of an organized crime group.
Eom Tae-goo (Netflix)
Eom Tae-goo (Netflix)

“I think I have several different sides to my personality,” he said. “When I am filming, I bring out different personalities freely. The shooting site for me is like a playground so I feel free to expose them.”

Eom also gained 9 kilograms to look more like a typical gangster.

“The director asked me to gain weight but said to try not to look like I have trained at the gym. I worked on it for two months,” he said.

During the interview, the actor also talked about his co-star Jeon Yeo-bin, who recently rose to stardom in popular Korean TV series “Vincenzo,” and veteran actor Cha Seung-won.

“My first scene with Jeon Yeo-bin was most memorable. It was the scene in which she uses guns,” he said. “She did not scream and exaggerate. But in her blank face, I could feel the character’s sorrow. She is a good actor.”

While Jeon was a great partner, Eom said Cha was more of an actor he could look up to.

“Just being able to perform with him was an honor,” Eom said. “When we were monitoring what we had filmed, his acting made the staff go quiet and all of a sudden start laughing out loud. I think I can never be as charismatic as him.”

When asked what is paradise, Eom said it is a moment that makes him feel happy.

“For me, paradise is not a certain location. It is rather a brief moment,” he said. “I am in paradise when I get in the car after a difficult scene. That moment when I finally feel relieved. That is a short moment. I soon think about what I have to work on the next day, but that moment is paradise to me.“

By Song Seung-hyun (