The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Lee Byung-hun loves black comedy projects for allowing him to bring creative ideas

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Aug. 3, 2023 - 18:37

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Lee Byung-hun (BH Entertainment) Lee Byung-hun (BH Entertainment)

Lee Byung-hun finds acting in black comedy flicks exciting, as there is room for him to suggest creative ideas and improvisation, or even slapstick action sequences.

According to Lee, his upcoming “Concrete Utopia” is not a mere disaster flick, but a black comedy that realistically depicts human nature in an extreme environment.

“For some comic scenes in the movie, not just me but the entire staff really enjoyed shooting. I think the black comedy genre gives me room to suggest creative ideas for more comical and fresh acting. For that reason, I really loved how this movie was open to trying out various things and making good scenes together,” Lee told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday.

In “Concrete Utopia,” Lee plays Kim Young-tak, a representative of the residents at Hwanggung Apartment building No. 103, which is the only apartment to have survived a major earthquake in Seoul. Young-tak, a low-profile, shy character in the beginning, gradually become a merciless leader among the survivors.

Lee Byung-hun stars as Young-tak in “Concrete Utopia” (Lotte Entertainment) Lee Byung-hun stars as Young-tak in “Concrete Utopia” (Lotte Entertainment)

“Young-tak is in fact a very loser-like person. He must have never been a leader before,” Lee said, adding that to portray Young-tak he employed slapstick comedy-style movements in his performance.

“There is a scene when Young-tak kicks out nonresidents from the apartment building. He is hit with a bat from a man who protests, and bleeds, but kept missing grabbing that bat to take it away. That room for a little laugh in this dark, dystopian setting really suits well with the vibe of our movie. It was fun to create such scenes together with the director,” Lee said.

Despite over 30 years of acting experience, the 53-year-old said he still feels anxious to reveal his acting to the audience, especially when he plays an extreme character.

“I feel finally relieved when I see the audience assimilate with the character and understand the emotions and feeling of the character I play. But I trust in myself better than anybody else in understanding the character, imagining the situation and getting myself immersed into the plot,” Lee said.

“It’s the staff and the people around me who also assure me about my performance. I gain an energy and power of letting go of my anxiety after they confirm my belief that my acting and script selection was not off-track,” he added.