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An interview with movie director Hwang Dong-hyuk

Posted February. 10, 2014 04:37,   


-You have a high-pitched and loud voice.

“I’m just a fun guy. I crack jokes in this voice and cheer people up when drinking. When I said I would be the director of ‘The Crucible,’ my friends wondered why I make such a movie.”

-Your debut film “My Father" (2007) and "Miss Granny" are all about families.

“Both movies are about my family. ‘My Father’ is in line with a short film, which I made while studying in the U.S. I was strongly impressed when my aunt who was adopted by an American family came to Korea to her mother, who is my grandmother. My mother lost her husband at 29 like Na Moon-hee in ‘Miss Granny.’ She also lives with my grandmother. “

“My Father” is a story of an adoptee (Daniel Henney) meeting his biological father who is on a death row (Kim Yeong-cheol). Director Hwang majored in journalism (now, communications) at Seoul National University and studied movies at the graduate school of the University of Southern California.

-I heard that your grandmother shows up in the movie.

“Shim Eun-kyung, the heroin in the movie, meets an old lady while changing her clothes at a Jimjilbang (Korean public bathhouse). The old lady is my 96-year-old grandmother. She also played a minor role in ‘The Crucible.’ I paid her twice this time, haha.”

-It’s not easy to cast an actress for a role that turns from a grandmother to a young woman.

“The draft scenario was about an old lady changing into a glamorous young woman. But the story was so banal and uninteresting. Instead, I changed the character to a bizarre and comic one. Many opposed to cast Shim, who didn’t play a major role in a movie. I created a character based on Shim and the story got more interesting."

-Now, I can’t imagine the movie without Shim Eun-kyung.

“She appeared in ‘Romantic Heaven (2011)’ directed by Jang Jin as a grandmother. Her acting was quite impressive. She is only 20 years old but is great in controlling her emotions. When I said to her, ‘Smile lightly after a drop of tears,’ she did it perfectly. She has strong presence.”

-What’s the message of the movie?

“Our mothers and grandmothers have lived not for themselves but as someone’s mothers and grandmothers. I wanted to say that their lives were worth living and comfort them about their lives. I want to say that they could live freely in another life.”

-What if you get a scenario about a social issue?

“I don’t want to do a movie to create an issue and out of a sense of obligations. I made ‘The Crucible’ because I wanted to visualize it after reading the original novel. I wanted to create the atmosphere of foggy Moojin City, the background of the novel. I think the theme should have a feel of a movie.”