South Korean disaster film 'The Tower' starring actress Son Ye Jin will be making its grand debut in cinemas this Christmas season.
Son Ye Jin plays Seo Yun Hee who is the manager of a Chinese restaurant, who finds herself facing a fruitless battle with a devastating fire raging through the tower.
A disaster film represents a giant test for an actress, as it requires them to have good physical endurance, and also withstand a certain amount of stress mentally. There are also situations where they might have to tear down their goddess image. But Son Ye Jin decided to take the film offer despite all the obstacles laid before her. So what made her decide on taking the film?
Q. This is your first time filming such a genre?
"I did not reject such genres on purpose. But it's just that I prefer films that focuses on people, so I took a lot of romance and related films. There wasn't a big budget film or script that charmed me back then. But 'The Tower' changed my perception. But I have never thought prior to 'The Tower' that I had to film a big budget film next time.
Q. What attracted you to film 'The Tower'?
"I didn't have to film a lot? There was director Kim Ji Hun and Sol Kyung Gu around, so I needn't worry too much. It's unlikely that we aren't mindful of viewers' reactions. But we can't be too hard on ourselves, otherwise we will really feel the stress. When I was filming this, I was able to sleep well, and always had a mindset of going to the film set to play. I had a feeling that everything will turn out well, so I led a happy life while filming this."
Q. What inconvenienced you the most during filming?
"When I replay the scenes that I had filmed, I realized that my actions weren't that polished. Actress usually focuses on emotional scenes, and aren't suitable for action scenes. My thinking was that even if they attempt action scenes, they would eke out a sense of feminine aura while doing it. It was only later that I realize that I needed to accumulate more action techniques and experience. In addition, it was pretty embarrassing at times during filming. Although there are plenty of scenes that involve water and fire, most of them were done using CG, so it was like a play when we were filming, and at times I wondered to myself what am I exactly doing now."
Q. Were you able to withstand the physical exertions?
"Scenes that involved water were really tiring. There was one scene that was filming around September and October at an outdoor pool where we had to stay underwater. We had to sync with the explosion timing and it was a very tense scene. But it was really cold when we filming it and my body was at its limit. It was like doing a strenuous physical endurance test. So I had to eat 3 full meals every day, and also went for drinks often. I actually put on weight while filming this, otherwise I would be really slim with all these filming."
Q. Heard that you only had 1 outfit throughout the film?
"As it was a disaster film, so I couldn't change outfits often. Often after finishing filming a scene, I would dash into a waiting room with heater for a rest. My outfit would be wrapped up in plastic to preserve its condition, before I resume filming in it. I had to keep dousing my outfit with ash, so I appeared rather 'dirty' every day, and some guys remarked that I looked more 'awesome' than those in the army."
Q. Did you harbor any thoughts of leaving the filming?
"There were many instances where water were doused on my head, and I really grumbled about this to the director. We attempted many new things in the film. To recreate the scenarios as real as possible, we had to get everything right especially the special effects. We had to use our bodies even during rehearsals. For example, there was a scene when we had to face up to a gush of water. As everyone was running away from the onrushing water, if you just lose focus for one moment, you will be buried under the water and won't be able to react for at least 2-3 seconds. I sometimes find this really incredulous and would just laugh loudly at this."
Q. How did you survive and pull though?
"The director treated me very well and is a very understand person. It wasn't easy controlling the filming site, as there were hundreds of cast members on the site. But everyone just trusted and followed him. Seol Kyung Gu and Kim Sang Kyung were also very nice and were really experienced and knowledgeable. Although it might feel tiring to work with them, but Seol Kyung Gu is very easy going and makes me feel that you actually can act in that way. Kim Sang Kyung is one who understands and follows you. Despite their vast contrasts, I learnt a lot from them."
Q. Having put in so much effort, do you wish for it to be a box office success?
"I definitely hope that 'The Tower' will be a box office success. It's not because I am in it. It's just that the success will help in aiding more of such films to be attempted in the Korean film industry in future. If it fails, the film industry will decline. So I hope that this film would find success.