SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) — Actor Park Hae-il has shared how Choi Min-sik, the star of the hit naval epic “Roaring Currents,” reacted in 2014 when he told him he years ago he was cast as the protagonist of the film’s prequel.
“When I told him that, he was deep in thought for a few seconds like he was remembering filming ‘Roaring Currents,'” Park said during a media interview to promote the upcoming film in a Seoul cafe on Thursday. “And then he said, ‘You should go through hardships. There is something you should live for. I think he would cheer me on from afar now. I was grateful for this advice.
The second installment in director Kim Han-min’s trilogy about the battles fought by legendary Korean naval hero Yi Sun-shin, “Hansan: Rising Dragon,” is about the Admiral and his men who fought desperately to repel Japanese invaders at the famous Battle of Hansan Island in 1592 off the southern coast of South Korea.
Choi played the legendary admiral in the 2014 film about a famous battle held five years after the incident in part two. He is one of the most revered and respected actors in the Korean film industry and achieved international fame as the star of Park Chan-wook’s masterpiece “Oldboy”.
Park Hae-il said he took on the new challenge “in stride”, because “there is no film without difficulties”.
Filming, thankfully, wasn’t as difficult as he expected, the actor said, as “the crew, almost all of whom worked on the first part, brought in all the trial and error that they had along the way with the previous film.”
“Choi dressed up as Yi and got on a boat at sea to film. I heard that once he went to sea, he couldn’t come back until noon. He must have had a hard time filming with countless soldiers aboard a boat, feeling the shaking waves,” Park said.
“But director Kim Han-min seems to have thought that the filming environment under the influence of weather and waves was not effective when he filmed ‘Roaring Currents’. Thus, he re-enacted the sea battle one hundred percent with CGI techniques, without putting any ship at sea.”
He added that he was also able to finish filming smoothly with the help of pre-production preview.
Park’s Yi Sun-shin, who is younger than the character in the original film, feels more laconic, cautious, intelligent, and generous than Choi.
“If I say that Choi used his fire side in ‘Roaring Currents’, I wanted to portray Adm. Yi using what’s inside of me. I understand that he spoke short, rarely exposed his feelings, and drank with other commanders of the Navy, sometimes joined by soldiers, when he was so stressed from work. But he got up as usual the next dawn,” he said.
He also said that Yi was so amazing in his self-restraint and ability to take care of the people around him that he tried his best to let viewers experience that side of the Admiral.
“Hansan” will open in local theaters on Wednesday.