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  • Press Release| January 13, 2016 [Herald Interview] Jung Woo-sung encourages budding director in ‘Remember You’

    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 merits.

    “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 Jin-yeong’s past.

    “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 men.”

    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 this year.

    “Remember You” opens in local theaters Thursday.

    By Won Ho-jung (