Sky's the Limit for Kwon Sang-woo as He Targets China, Hollywood

      August 31, 2011 07:43

      Kwon Sang-woo

      Actor Kwon Sang-woo has been overlooked in the past when Korea feted its leading thespians, but he thinks his latest role in the movie "Pained" may change all that.

      The sculpted and chiseled Korean Wave poster boy is expecting a positive reaction to his 10th movie when it comes out on Sept. 8. The flick is directed by none other than Busan-born Kwak Kyung-taek, whose blockbuster "Friend," about mafia rivals and friends in southern Korea set the box office alight when it was released a decade ago.

      Kwon said the character he portrays in "Pained," a man who does not feel physical pain but who becomes involved with a woman who is hyper-sensitive, grew on him -- and he hopes it has the same effect on audiences and critics.

      "He's a bit of an unsophisticated, country bumpkin kind of a character, but I feel very attached to the role and the film," said Kwon. "I've not had too much luck at film festivals and awards ceremonies so far, but I feel quite optimistic this time."

      Describing the movie, he said: "It's about a romance between a man who cannot feel pain and a woman who suffers from haemophilia. I wanted to do this because I was so drawn to the script when I read it, just like [the comic book on which it is based]."

      Kwon also confirmed reports that he will start shooting an action film tentatively titled "12 Chinese Zodiac Heads" with Jackie Chan in Beijing this week. "We've already done a month's filming in Paris," he said. "There is also another project with Cecilia Cheung that I'm working on."

      "'12 Chinese Zodiac Heads' has been in the pipeline for the last two years already, but it was delayed due to Jackie's busy schedule. He told me he enjoyed watching my movies, especially 'Almost Love.'"

      He said the language barrier in China had not given him too much cause for concern."There are so many regional variations in the Chinese language that the films are usually dubbed, so I just worry about conveying my emotions and performing well in the action scenes."

      On the prospect of working in Hollywood, he said, "Of course, I would love to always be recognized in Korea, but I think I will have more and more projects overseas. The sheer size of the market is much bigger in other countries, and I think I can promote Korea if I work abroad. I can't reveal the details yet, but I have a film lined up in which I will play a starring role. We are talking about working with famous actors and a high-profile production company."

      But if he heads to English-speaking countries, where movies are not dubbed, language may become more of an issue. Kwon said he plans to knuckle down and study. "I can speak English, and I have no difficulty in communicating when traveling or shopping, but, of course, film is a totally different business and I need to practice hard," he said. "From this year, I feel like I will be starting my career afresh overseas."

      "I feel even more excited now than when I first won a small role in a Korean film."

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