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Do or die: Actor Jeon Do-yeon’s approach to ‘Kill Boksoon’ action scenes

By Kim Da-sol

Published : March 21, 2023 - 15:50

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Jeon Do-yeon in “Kill Boksoon” (Netflix) Jeon Do-yeon in “Kill Boksoon” (Netflix)

Cannes-winning actor Jeon Do-yeon said she practiced a “do or die” mindset for her role as a top assassin in her first-ever action film, “Kill Boksoon.”

“I was particularly careful about doing action scenes and practiced a lot because I had to (work with) fellow actors, not stuntpeople. I worried about getting too emotional and overdoing the action scenes,” she told reporters during a press conference held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas on Tuesday.

“Contrary to my wish to flawlessly perform the action scenes, I had trouble moving my body,” she laughed, adding that most of the action scenes were shot long-take.

Jeon plays the lead character Gil Bok-soon, a legendary female assassin who juggles killing and parenting her teenage daughter Jae-young (Kim Si-a).

“The Merciless” (2017) and “Kingmaker” (2022) director Byun Sung-hyun has put his signature stylish mise-en-scene, multi-dimensional characters and sensuous action sequence involving punches, kicks and shoot outs into this Netflix dark comedy film.

“The concept of a contract killing company has become familiar after ‘John Wick.’ But I wanted to tweak it a bit by adding different sources, such as replacing the concept of killers with actors based on my personal respect for actors Jeon and Sol Kyung-gu,” director Byun told reporters.

In the film, the killing company is referred to as an entertainment firm, and an assassination mission is called “shooting a project.”

Despite a variety of martial arts, Byun said the film is not just about action but about Bok-soon’s personal development and Min-kyu’s romance. It is also a family film that has a universally understandable and relatable story line, according to the director.

Actor Sol Kyung-gu stars as Cha Min-kyu, head of MK Entertainment, who discovers Gil’s talent early on, while Lee Som stars as Cha Min-hee, the firm's executive director.

It is Jeon and Sol’s third project together after “Birthday” (2019) and “I Wish I Had a Wife” (2001).

“For me, Sol is like a mountain, I always feel relieved to see him next to me,” said Jeon.

“I felt sorry watching Jeon doing action scenes, because it was apparent that she is an actor who wants to overcome her limits -- and she did just that. I told her that no one but her could have taken up the role,” said Sol.

“D.P.” and “Kingdom” actor Koo Kyo-hwan plays Han Hee-sung, a killer whose talent is neither recognized nor appreciated by the company.

“Director Byun told me that part of him has been projected on my character, Hee-sung, who thinks ideally and talk innovatively, but compromises with reality and ends up following money,” said Koo.

The upcoming action thriller “Kill Boksoon” will be released on Netflix on March 31. The release follows the film's world premiere at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival last month.

Sol Kyung-gu (right) and Lee Som in “Kill Boksoon” (Netflix) Sol Kyung-gu (right) and Lee Som in “Kill Boksoon” (Netflix)