The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Jung Woo says he was instinctively attracted to noir film ‘Hot Blooded’

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : March 23, 2022 - 15:34

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Jung Woo (Kidari Studio) Jung Woo (Kidari Studio)

Jung Woo said he was instinctively attracted to the noir film “Hot Blooded,” directed by Cheon Myoung-kwan.

“My heart told me to join the project, not my head,” he said in an interview with a group of local reporters Tuesday. “The film does not have the plot of a typical commercial film, but I really wanted to do a noir film.”

He hesitated a little, however, when he found out that the film was set in Busan, as he had played multiple characters already from the city.

“I read the script three times and came to the conclusion that it was worth a try,” he said. “Apart from the fact that my character in the film uses a Busan accent, everything was totally different from my past roles.”

The film is based on a popular novel of the same title written by Kim Un-su.

Set in 1993, Jung‘s character Hee-su is a third-rate gangster, born and raised in the small port town Kuam, just outside Busan. Hee-su has been acting like a hotel manager under Don Son (Kim Kap-soo) for 20 years. One day, Yong-kang (Choi Mu-sung), who fled the country as a murder suspect, returns home and begins causing trouble.

“He (Hee-su) is a character that seems like a quiet and calm lake. But inside, a giant wave is crashing,” the actor said.

Jung explained that the process of understanding the dark and complex Hee-su was so difficult that it was hard to even smile while filming.

“I should have tried to lighten the mood for everyone. But my character was so lonely and dark that it was difficult to do that,” Jung said.

The actor also talked about his experience working with veteran actors Kim and Choi.

“I could feel their charisma when we gathered to read the script together. It felt like I was in a jungle,” he said.

Jung was especially impressed by Choi’s performance.

“I watched his acting on set, but it felt different when I watched the same performance on the big screen. It was interesting to see how it turned out and I learned a lot from it.”

Jung also briefly talked about his experience working with director Cheon, who is a novelist who debuted as a director through this film.

“The director did not seem anxious at all even though this was his directorial debut,” he said. “But I do know that he took migraine meds.”

“Hot Blooded,” starring Jung Woo (right) and Kim Kap-soo (Kidari Studio) “Hot Blooded,” starring Jung Woo (right) and Kim Kap-soo (Kidari Studio)

Without prompting, Jung alluded to negative reviews from film critics. The criticisms were mainly aimed at the film’s genre, Korean film noir, having a cliched storyline of two gangster groups fighting each other and the fact that the film featured only male protagonists.

“I think people can have preferences over this genre of film. I will look into all the bad and good feedback concerning my film and try to accept them humbly to become a better performer,” he said.

“Hot Blooded” is playing in local theaters.