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[Herald Interview] Lee Kwang-soo returns as relatable office worker in disaster comedy ‘Sinkhole’

Actor Lee Kwang-soo (Showbox)
Actor Lee Kwang-soo (Showbox)

Lee Kwang-soo, 36, returns to the big screen as a relatable young office worker in the disaster comedy “Sinkhole,” directed by Kim Ji-hoon.

“Sinkhole” centers on the residents of Chungwoon Villa, one of the cheaper apartment buildings available in pricey Seoul. It took Dong-won (Kim Sung-kyun), an office worker, over 10 years to finally become a homeowner. Soon after moving in, Dong-won invites his co-workers over to his new place for a housewarming party.

After the other guests leave, Kim Seung-hyun (Lee) and intern Eun-joo (Kim Hye-joon) decide to spend the night. The next morning, the building falls into a sinkhole.

“I discussed a lot with the director about how we were going to show my character, Kim, who had to be relatable to office workers in their 20s and 30s,” Lee said during an interview via Zoom with a group of local reporters. “There is a line where Kim says he doesn’t think he can ever get married or buy a house to live in. He is a character who has low self-esteem. I thought it would be relatable to many and also explained why he seemed too sensitive and selfish at the beginning of the film.”

But we see a different side to the character through his interaction with the other characters in the sinkhole. Lee put a lot of thought into how he was going to show that change, he said.

Lee said he also thought Dong-won was an interesting character when he first read the script.

“When I was reading the script, Dong-won’s scenes made me laugh a lot and also emotional. I especially liked how he showed his fatherhood. When I read that scene I thought that I want to play a role like that someday,” Lee said.

Lee kept a close eye on how Kim Sung-kyun played Dong-won, Lee said.

“It seemed like that was a character only Sung-kyun could play. I learned a lot from watching how he portrayed the character,” Lee said.

The young actor also talked about the physical challenges that he faced because of the unstable conditions in the simulated sinkhole.

The actors had to film on gimbals, which shook and often made them feel sick, he said.

“The weather was also very cold. Whenever we faced difficulties, the staff tried to help us as much as they could. When we were cold they would prepare a warm bath. I am really grateful for that,” Lee said.
A scene from the disaster comedy “Sinkhole,” directed by Kim Ji-hoon (Showbox)
A scene from the disaster comedy “Sinkhole,” directed by Kim Ji-hoon (Showbox)

Toward the end of the interview, he also talked about the popular TV show “Running Man,” which he stepped away from in May after 11 years. Lee gained fame internationally through the show.

“‘Running Man’ is the first show that I ever took part in. Over the last 10 years or so, I learned how to be part of the show from the cast and crew,” he said.

Lee added that he had no plans to become a regular member of any other variety shows in the near future.

“To be honest, I am not sure if I can do the same on other shows without the cast and crew of ‘Running Man,’” he said.

“Sinkhole” is now running in local theaters.

By Song Seung-hyun (
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