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First Love

Posted November. 23, 2006 06:49,   


“Once In a Summer” is shaping up to be the love story of the year.

“I’m just thankful. It’s an archetypal answer, but… could I say anything else? I came to the hotel late from drinking in Busan, and my fans were still waiting for me.”

He lives in a house in Gyeonggi-do, and a Japanese woman bought the house next to his. When men see that type of fan, they usually say, “I wonder if their husbands don’t say anything.” This reporter asked what he would do if his future wife did the same thing with another actor. He immediately answers, “I would feel bad.” He is also a typical Korean man.

The movie starts with a college professor Seok-yeong (Lee Byeong-heon) searching for his past love Jeong-in (Su Ae) on a TV show program. They first met when Seok-yeong went to the countryside to do volunteer work as a college student. However, due to the agonies of the times, they broke up.

In the movie, Lee Byeong-heon plays the character’s early twenties and sixties. “It’s a serious movie, and I was worried that my disguise as a sixty year old man might look funny.”

The movie put a lot of care into location, costumes and props to reproduce the year 1969. The movie may be a traditional mellow story, but the friend roles Oh Dal-su, TV station PD Yu Hae-jin and other comic supporting actors bring laughter onto the screen.

“In the movie, it all seems like one town, but in reality, we went around Gyeongsang-do, Chungcheong-do and Jeolla-do to shoot the scenes. But I was with Oh Dal-su so much that people thought it was a mellow movie between Oh and I.”

Every word he says, he laughs.

A mellow fantasy film-

The original name of the movie was ‘Summer Story.’

“The producers put out a 500,000 won award for a new name, saying they would change the name. The one I put out got chosen, but I only got 100,000 won. They say there were five people in total who came up with this name.”

On site, he is famous as an “actor tormenting director,” who continuously gives his ideas to the director. The scenario of ‘Once in a summer,’ which was comparatively passive, was reborn through Lee’s ideas. Thanks to his input, scenes such as getting off a bicycle to pull his pants out after he gets a wedgy, or looking at Su Ae listening to music coming from the hardware store, are included.

In the movie, Seok-yeong loves only Jeong-in for his whole life. Would it be possible to love one person an entire lifetime? “Rather than loving the same woman for a lifetime, there was a woman in his life when he was young, and afterwards he didn’t feel any emotions that could be called love. It is a difficult thing, but because that kind of love is difficult, mellow movies must give the audience a fantasy.”

We asked him vaguely, “What is love?” He didn’t answer. After looking out the window at a faraway place, he opened his mouth. “Maybe it’s the point when one throws their ego away.” As I tried to say it was a fine answer, he smiles again. What am I to do, if he keeps smiling in front of me like that?