A-Listers Vie for Screen Time in Heist Movie 'The Thieves'

Choi Dong-hoon's "The Thieves" tells the story of 10 thieves from Korea and China who steal a W30 billion (US$1=W1,147) diamond from a casino in Macau. Given the plot and the size of the cast, the movie, which is scheduled to be released here on Wednesday, is reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's star-studded crime caper "Ocean's Eleven."

The crooks are played by A-listers including Kim Hae-sook, Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Oh Dal-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Jeon Ji-hyun, Kim Soo-hyun and Simon Yam Tat-Wah from Hong Kong. But they only get to appear on screen for a measly 13 minutes each on average, making them both leading and supporting actors at the same time.

Last week, the Chosun Ilbo met with the 41-year-old director Choi and actress Kim Hye-soo, who plays the role of a veteran safebreaker.

Kim Hye-soo (left) and Choi Dong-hoon Kim Hye-soo (left) and Choi Dong-hoon

Asked to describe the appeal of the film given the relatively short amount of screen time she gets, Kim said, "When I appeared in Choi's last film, 'The War of Flowers,' I really liked working with him, as well as with the other actors and staff. I didn't want it to end, actually, as I would happily continue working with the same crew forever."

Kim said that being surrounded by such a talented cast kept her on her toes. "From Kim Hae-sook and Yam Tat-Wah to Kim Yun-seok, Lee Jung-jae and Jun Ji-hyun, they are all outstanding actors. Even young Kim Soo-hyun is more than just a cute face," she said.

"It was a rare opportunity to be able to work with so many great actors and get to know them better in person."

"The Thieves" seems to draw its inspiration from a number of sources, including film noir and heist movies, but Choi was quick to make a distinction with Soderbergh's successful "Oceans" trilogy.

"'Ocean's Eleven' was also a remake, and many heist movies begin with a similar premise. But even though the starting point may be familiar, this becomes a very different movie as the story progresses."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 24, 2012 08:23 KST