“Tazza: The Poker Queen,” directed by Lee Ji-seung (Boxoo Entertainment)
When Korean actor Lee Chae-young first heard the title of the upcoming film “Tazza: The Poker Queen,” it immediately reminded her of Korean film “The War of Flower,” which had the Korean title “Tazza.”
Lee said she was hesitant to accept the role out of worry she could not outperform the 2006 hit.
“However, after reading Kim Se-young’s comic that the film is created based on, I became to think that there is a story about woman gamblers that could be interesting to audiences,” Lee said during a press conference at Lotte Cinema Konkuk University in eastern Seoul on Thursday. “Also director Lee Ji-seung has been doing films with female protagonists and did a great job telling their emotions.”
Director Lee’s upcoming film “Tazza: The Poker Queen” centers on ordinary woman Mimi (Lee Chae-young) who plays card games online. One night, Mimi loses her family in front of her eyes due to a mysterious gang attack. At the crime scene, police find a playing card, which Mimi finds out is exclusively used at a secret gambling house. To discover the secret behind her family’s tragedy, Mimi goes to the underground casino where she meets female gambler Ozawa (Jung Hye-in), disguised as a man.
During the press conference, the director praised the actors’ passion.
“When we were having our meeting I was careful to ask Jung Hye-in what she will do with her long hair. At the time she approached me first and said she will cut it short,” the director said. “I was surprised and told her that it is fine to wear a wig. When I said that, Hye-in said a wig will not work because people will notice that it is not her real hair.”
The director also added that actor Choi Min-cheol, who plays villain Yookson in the film, bleached his hair completely white for the role.
“I saw the actors’ passion through those meetings and thought I should work harder,” he added.
Jung responded to the director’s praise and said the director helped her understand the mysterious character Ozawa better.
“My character hides her identity and lives as a male. At first, I was worried a lot about how I should change my appearance. Of course, the audience all know that I am a woman, but in the film I have to look as manly as possible,” Jung said. She added that was why she told the director she would be willing to cut her hair short.
“I was also worried that I am too skinny and my voice is too high,” Jung said. “I discussed my concerns with the director and his solution was simple. He told me not to worry too much and try not to be something that I am not, and to focus on my character’s feelings instead.”
Jung also talked about learning card tricks.
“I did not know that you can have cramps in your hand. The practice was that difficult. If I make minor mistakes, it could seem like I am an amateur player. So, I practiced to make it look professional,” Jung said.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org