Kwan Hyun Sang and Jae Soh sat down for an hour-long interview with Cheryl Dawley and Jini Shim of KKonnect.
Here’s what they had to say about their upcoming movie,”Let Me Out” – coming to San Diego for one day one only – and more!
Cheryl: Hyun-sang-씨, congratulations on your first leading role! How was it being the main focus of a movie?
Kwon Hyun-sang: This was the first film where I was in over 90% of the scenes and dialog. It was a big responsibility, but it was a great experience.
Cheryl: What was the best part of filming this movie?
Kwon Hyun-sang: The type of film this was – being about film students – was fun, because I have been a film student so it was a concept I knew.
Cheryl: What are your hopes for “Let Me Out” – especially with respect to U.S. audiences?
Jae Soh: I really hope US audiences enjoy this movie. American audiences see to receive indie films better than Korean audiences do. Plus American like Zombies!
Cheryl: Anything funny or interesting happen during filming that you want to share?
Kwon Hyun-sang: We were actually trying to film, (being film students) but the film crew were actors, so no one really knew what they were doing, so it was interesting trying to get the scenes done!
Cheryl: Do you plan on doing movies in the US?
Kwon Hyun-sang: Yes, I’d like to make films in Hollywood.
Cheryl: You’ve now been in horror, comedy, historical, drama. What is your favorite genre?
Kwon Hyun-sang: I don’t have a favorite genre. Since I haven’t had that much experience yet, I am still learning and enjoying all the genres. I can’t really choose. It’s all acting, they’re all good.
Cheryl: You come from a a very well-known theatrical family. Is it hard establishing a name for yourself under the shadow of your parents? Or are they a big help?
Kwon Hyun-sang: Having famous parents is not necessarily as big a help as you might think. In fact, sometimes it can be a hindrance. Because my father has such a successful career and such a good reputation, I am always very conscious of that, and I am careful about what I do. The media always seems very interested, though.
Cheryl: You’ve played really great bad guys and really sweet good guys. What’s your preference?
Kwon Hyun-sang: I like playing the good guys! (Cheryl’s note: His answer was immediate and unequivocal!)
Cheryl: 2013 has been a really busy year for you so far: Dramas: Fugitive of Joseon, Queen of Ambition; Movies: Let Me Out, A City In Blossom, Fists of Legend. Which was your biggest challenge?
Kwon Hyun-sang: The Fugitive of Joseon (천명). It was a historical drama, and the directors had very definite ideas about how they wanted the character portrayed, so I was always working on that. Also, there were a lot of action scenes, lots of swordplay, and I even got injured.
Cheryl: What are you working on now?
Kwon Hyun-sang: It’s a secret! But I’m taking a short break then I’m working on a movie and a drama.
Cheryl: What are your professional ambitions?
Kwon Hyun-sang: I want to do many more films and dramas. Eventually, I want to work in the U.S., too. Hollywood!
Cheryl: Films and dramas are so different. Do you have a preference?
Kwon Hyun-sang: They are very different. I like doing movies because there’s more time to build characters and the filming is done at a slower pace. On the drama set, everything is rushed. There’s not as much time to develop a character, no time to build friendships amongst the cast.
Cheryl: What are your personal ambitions?
Kwon Hyun-sang: I’m a workaholic. I have no ambitions outside of work!
Cheryl: “Let Me Out” seems to be a movie about making movies. What makes this one stand out?
Jae Soh: Although this type of movie is more common in the U.S. it is quite uncommon in Korea. Also, Zombie movies are not really done in Korea, so this is really unusual. Zombies are pretty popular in the US, so this movie should appeal to American audiences as well, especially since it’s a comedy.
Cheryl: You’ve gone from American cinematographer to Korean writer/director/producer! Big changes. What was the impetus for the change?
Jae Soh: I worked in the US doing a cinematography and working on short films. There were plenty of opportunities to do more work in those areas, but I really wanted to direct. I moved to Korea, thinking that would put me on the fast track, (laughs) and 18 years later I’ve directed a movie. It’s been good, though, reconnecting with my Korean history. I didn’t know much Korean when I moved back here!
Cheryl: What was the inspiration for “Let Me Out”?
Jae Soh: We were kind of under the gun to produce something fast when the money came through, but I believe that being ready when opportunity knocks is important. The script was easier to write because I have been a film student and professor and have worked in the film industry.
Cheryl: Did you learn anything interesting while directing “Let Me Out”?
Jae Soh: Everything was a new experience. Just directing it was valuable experience. Learning to do things from the director’s point to view, and the production end as well. I was also more involved than usual in many other aspects of the film, such as promotion.
Cheryl: Is there anything you would change or do differently of you had the opportunity?
Jae Soh: Everything! As soon as you’re finished you find things you want to do differently!
Cheryl: Now that you’ve worked in the American film industry and the Korean film industry, can you compare and contrast? Especially with respect to artistic freedom, production, etc.
Jae Soh: On a basic level, the industries are very similar. There are some big differences in production. In the US, you have the Screen Actor’s Guild, unions, etc. There’s nothing like that in Korea. If production time runs over, no one gets paid overtime. Things are starting to change a little, though. Artistically, there is more freedom in Korea, in some ways. In the US, it seems you’re locked into certain formulas when making films. Korea films tend to break out of those molds. Artistically, they are not as set in their way – still experimenting. However, Korean audiences tend to be really picky. In fact, when American movies are released in Asia, they go to Korea first. If Korean audiences like it, it will do well everywhere.
Cheryl: What do you plan to do next? What’s the next project? Movies in Korea? Movies in the U.S.?
Jae Soh: I’m working on documentary about the changing landscape of Seoul. How the historical Seoul is disappearing. I’ve also got another feature film in the works. It will be more commercial. I would like to direct movies in the US, too.
All too soon, the questions were over, the evening was running late and it was time to bid our farewell. We thanked Hyun-sang and Jae for their time and for sharing a few laughs with us. Next – we see them at the movies!
Join us for a Movie meet-up:
AMC Fashion Valley Wednesday Night
The movie starts at 7:00pm
After-movie meet-up and discussion review? I want to hear your voices. Let’s have coffee or drinks. Make suggestions below!