Actor says he hopes to contribute to diversity in Korean film by
sharing his experience.
For 42-year-old veteran actor Jung Woo-sung, “Remember You” is more than
just another line on his filmography. He took part in the romantce-mystery as
both lead actor and producer, taking on the dual role in order to “keep the
personality of the director alive” in the work.
Speaking at a press conference last Tuesday, Jung explained that he had
initially wanted to introduce a producer to director Lee Yun-jeong. “But there
were many producers who found the unique feel of this movie uncomfortable. I
was afraid that the movie would lose its character with another producer, and I
ended up producing it myself,” he said.
On Monday, Jung elaborated on his thoughts about the need for more
diversity within the Korean film market, giving more opportunities to new directors
and screenwriters who wanted to make movies that were out of the ordinary
during a group interview at a Seoul cafe.
“The idea (of the script) was so fresh,” he said, recalling his first
reading of “Remember You.” “It‘s not a traditional romance. It brings in very
realistic depictions to create the mood of a different genre. I thought it
would definitely be worth making into a film,” he said.
However, talking to director Lee Yun-jeong, who was a scriptwriter on
Jung’s previous movie, “The Good, The Bad and the Weird,” he found that she, as
a novice director, was not even trying to recruit experienced actors and staff
because she assumed they would not work with her.
“It was sad to see that she saw more experienced people as just objects
of admiration,” he said.
“When new and experienced members of the film world interact more, it
leads to more creative ideas. Two hundred million people watch films in Korea
every year, but the movies are so polarized (between blockbusters and art house
films). The genres are all about the same. The film industry has to give
audiences diverse choices, but there‘s no spectrum. ... Filmmakers are so
focused on being safe that they’re not even making new attempts. Even when they
get a script that tries something new, they try to fit it to the formula.”
According to Jung, he talks about this issue with fellow actors and
filmmaking staff whenever he gets the opportunity. “Remember Me” was his chance
to make his actions follow his words, even if he had to acknowledge the movie
may not do well in theaters.
“A good producer has to be able to promote a film‘s marketability when
it comes out,” he said upon being asked to evaluate the film from a producer’s
standpoint. “But for me, the movie had a much larger personal significance, so
I could not sacrifice that for marketability‘s sake. ... I was more of an
emotional mentor than a rational producer.”
However, he added as an actor that he was confident in the film’s
“It‘s a very warm movie, and I hope audiences will take that away with
them,” he said.
“I think that it was a good pairing,” he said about his match with
romance film darling Kim Ha-neul. “Casting is particularly important in romance
movies, because it has to feel real.”
In the film, Jung plays Seok-won, a man who suffers selective amnesia
after a traumatic experience. He comes across a woman named Jin-yeong (Kim
Ha-neul) and falls in love. Throughout that process, he senses that she is
keeping big secrets from him. The film is structured so that the audience can
follow their love story while also trying to figure out the secrets of
“I want this to be a movie about Jin-yeong,” Jung said emphatically. “I
like that the movie shows that, in some ways, women can be much stronger than
While promoting “Remember You,” Jung is also shooting the film “Asura”
with costars Hwang Jung-min and Ju Ji-hoon and director Kim Sung-soo. According
to Jung, filming is set to wrap up this month, with a release set for later
“Remember You” opens in local theaters Thursday.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)