Novice Director Hits Ground Running with 'The Terror Live'

      August 17, 2013 08:16

      "The Terror Live," directed by Kim Byung-woo and starring Ha Jung-woo, one of Korea's top actors, has attracted over 400 million viewers in about two weeks. It was released on July 31, the same day as "Snowpiercer," directed by proven hitmaker Bong Joon-ho, hit the silver screen.

      At first, it seemed like the two films were no match for each other, because Kim's movie was expected to get pummeled at the box office by the star-studded cast of "The Snowpiercer," which includes Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Song Kang-ho and Tilda Swinton.

      But "The Terror Live," produced on a meager budget of W6 billion (US$1=W1,115), is putting up a solid fight in terms of ticket sales against the W43-billion Hollywood blockbuster, which focuses on the last group of human survivors aboard a heavily insulated train amid a new Ice Age. As of Tuesday, "Snowpiercer" has drawn 6.44 million viewers, while "The Terror Live" has attracted over 4 million to maintain a firm grip on the No. 2 spot at the box office.

      The Chosun Ilbo spoke with Kim about his movie, which concerns a news anchorman's struggle to outwit a terrorist bent on destruction.

      "I thought it would be good just to break even [with around 2 million theater admissions]," Kim said. "I didn't expect it could draw so many people because it doesn’t follow the formulaic style of most commercial films."

      Kim, who set most of the movie within the confines of a radio booth, conceded that "many films have dealt with similar subjects, like terrorist threats." But he said he thought he could overcome the limitations of such a confined set and deliver thrills and exciting plot twists by meticulously portraying the characters' emotional changes. As such, the film focuses much of its attention on the main character, played by Ha.

      Kim spent four years preparing for his commercial debut after graduating from Hanyang University. "I revised the scenario 17 times, telling myself each time that this would be the last change," he said. "But I never felt like giving up. I had a lot of confidence in the film from the start."

      When asked about future projects, he said, "I may work on similar kinds of movies, because I don't feel that comfortable making romantic comedies or melodramas."

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