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Director Cha Bong-joo creates ‘Good Morning’ after watching documentary about hospice center

From left: Actors Song Jae-rim, Kim Hwan-hee, Yoo Sun and Lee Soon-jae alongside director Cha Bong-joo pose after a press conference at CGV Yongsan on Thursday. (D Station)
From left: Actors Song Jae-rim, Kim Hwan-hee, Yoo Sun and Lee Soon-jae alongside director Cha Bong-joo pose after a press conference at CGV Yongsan on Thursday. (D Station)

Director Cha Bong-joo said he created his debut feature “Good Morning” after he watched a documentary about patients at a hospice center.

“As I was working on the script, I watched a documentary about a hospice center and there was one person who grabbed my attention,” Cha said at a press conference at CGV Yongsan on Thursday. “I found out that he did not have much time left, but he looked so bright and it made me shed tears. I wanted my character Soo-mi to feel what I felt and created the film.”

“Good Morning” centers on a young girl named Soo-mi (Kim Hwan-hee), who wants to die due to the difficult situation she had to face as an orphan. Seo-jin (Yoo Sun), a volunteer hospice worker who lost her daughter five years ago, saves Soo-mi as she is about to jump off a bridge. Seo-jin tells Soo-mi that she can learn how to die at the hospice center and suggests she join the volunteers. There, Soo-mi starts teaching an old man In-soo (Lee Soon-jae) how to read and write Korean before his imminent death.

During the press conference, the director emphasized that he wants cinemagoers to feel happy and take time to think about what it means to value every moment of life after watching the film.

Young actor Kim, 19, known for her role in the hit thriller “The Wailing,” said she learned a lot from Cha’s project.
 
A scene from “Good Morning,” starring Kim Hwan-hee (D Station)
A scene from “Good Morning,” starring Kim Hwan-hee (D Station)

“I am not proud of it, but I did not know much about hospice care centers. As I was doing this project I did some research and felt that I really do want to be part of this project,” Kim said. “Soo-mi is a character that has to show a wide range of emotional fluctuation, starting from the bottom. I focused on how I can make audiences understand her better.”

Kim added that the project was also meaningful since it was her first leading role in a movie and her first film since she became an adult.

“I filmed this last May and I was 18 back then. It was my first work as an adult and also my first leading role so I had lots of pressure. As I was working on it I felt a little lonely too,” Kim said. “I could still enjoy the process because there were so many great actors helping me out.”

Veteran actor Lee, 87, added that it was meaningful to perform in Cha’s project because his role had his own story.

“When you reach my age as an actor, you usually get small and limited roles. I don’t usually take those roles. When I read this script, I thought that my role contributes to (the story), so I am grateful to the director for letting me play this role.”

Lee also talked about his experience working with young actors. 

A scene from “Good Morning,” starring Lee Soon-jae (D Station)
A scene from “Good Morning,” starring Lee Soon-jae (D Station)

“Young actors these days sometimes feel like a totally different species to me. I also felt that this time. Not only do they have a good physique but they are also more talented. I am sure we will see more global stars like Youn Yuh-jung and Oh Young-soo.”

“Maybe one day I will appear on ‘Octopus Game’ or something and have an opportunity to be a global star too,” Lee joked.

“Good Morning” hits local theaters Wednesday.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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