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Interview

KIM Byung-woo of TAKE POINT

May 09, 2018
  • Writerby KIM Hyun-su
  • View828
What would happen if a Second Korean War Broke Out?



Take Point is set in a future where North and South Korea are at war. However, the film doesn’t revolve around those political issues and grabs your attention for a very different reason. Could you imagine a military operation taking place behind closed doors? What if someone, neither Korean nor foreigner, was involved in this incident? Following his debut commercial film The Terror, LIVE (2013), director KIM Byung-woo comes back with another story about an individual pushed to the edge.

Most of us are not familiar with Private Military Companies (PMC) on which your film is based. Where did you first get this idea?

The idea of a second Korean war in a near future came to me first and I started off from there. If such a hypothetical situation were to occur, I believe it would be a lot different from what happened in the past, and so I started thinking about what kind of things could actually happen. That’s when I came across PMCs, organizations that are not part of the official army but appeared from the union of capitalism and the government. In Korea, people might not be very familiar with the concept, but there have already been many instances where they have been deployed in the US, the Middle East, and Europe, and that’s why I thought it would be great material for a story. In addition, when we discuss the possibility of an outbreak of war in Korea, we always assume that the US or China may be involved and so I also took such elements into consideration when writing the story.

After your feature commercial debut, this film will be your second film with HA Jung-woo.

After the release of The Terror, LIVE, I went on a trip to Iceland and that’s when he got in touch with me. He told me he had an idea and wanted to work on it together after my return. Back then, he gave me only one clue: an underground bunker. I took this and developed the background around the concept of a second Korean War conflict, that’s how I started working on the script. 

HA Jung-woo plays the Korean leader of a global PMC named Black Lizard and LEE Sun-kyun takes the role of a North Korean army surgeon. It will mark the first time we see these two together on screen.

The character of Ahab really came to life thanks to HA Jung-woo’s acting. His performance was excellent, but he was especially good with the English lines as well as focusing on the character’s traits and adjusting his acting along the way. I cast LEE Sun-kyun because HA Jung-woo and he have very different images. It was very important for the two characters to contrast with each other when they first meet and I thought of casting them both would be a good way to express their respective personalities.

It looks like you had to research not only military science but also international affairs.

When I first got this idea, I had only heard of PMC and didn’t know anything on how they run or what they are really like. I read every book there is on the conflict between North and South Korea, as well as publications on the North Korean nuclear weapon crisis. There were also many books written by Japanese and Chinese authors. As this film isn’t about a special event, it took quite a while to get all the research done prior to writing.

Your set must have looked like that of a war movie.

It took us a very long time to shoot. (laughs) We had 79 shooting days over a period of four months and, except for a couple of them, everything was done in a studio. Because there are actually diverse locations within the bunker, we had to build over 10 different sets for this film.

Could you talk more about your approach to filming the action scenes for this movie?

In most war movies, the combat scenes show the shooters and the persons being shot at, over and over again. In PMC, everything is seen through the protagonist’s eyes. The audience can only see what Ahab is allowed to see, but that doesn’t mean the film is shot only from his point-of-view. It will simply limit itself to the spaces where Ahab is. Although the genre itself is interesting, the reason I made this choice was to show Ahab’s character in the best way possible. 

Take Point’s story unfolds in a bunker, a restricted space, which reminds us of The Terror, LIVE.

I gave it a lot of thought and decided that from now on I would do what I’m best at. I actually had many regrets with The Terror, LIVE and in order to not repeat the same mistakes again, I worked hard on this opportunity to make a better film.
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