‘Avengers’ bring dramatics to Mapo

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‘Avengers’ bring dramatics to Mapo


Crew members shoot the upcoming movie “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” in Digital Media City in Sangam-dong, Mapo District, western Seoul. By Lee Ho-hyoung

Following shooting scenes for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” on Mapo Bridge on Sunday, Disney’s Marvel Studios blocked a mile-long section of North World Cup Road in Sangam-dong, Mapo District, western Seoul, yesterday for car chase scenes.

According to a traffic restriction plan released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on March 18, the stretch of road will be shut off from normal use from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting yesterday and continuing through tomorrow.

Vehicles that pass through the area, including 16 regularly scheduled buses, made detours yesterday during the filming.

No severe congestion resulted, as there were many alternative routes.

However, some individuals scuffled with crew members as sidewalks were restricted during the filming. The area, Digital Media City, is crowded with office buildings, many of them media and broadcasting companies.

“It is too much to block off sidewalks,” said Park, an office worker who was commuting to his workplace by bicycle yesterday morning.

Some workers complained to the crew that they would be late for work if they had to take detours.

After people filed complaints that traffic inconveniences, the Seoul Metropolitan Government chose to pass the buck, issuing a statement Monday saying the Seoul government was cooperating with decisions made by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. That contradicted Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon’s comment on Twitter last month in which he promised his full support for the filming.

Some are criticizing the Seoul government for being cowardly.

“In advance of the approval of the filming, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Police Agency fully discussed and agreed on the decision,” said a ministry official. “The Seoul government agreed on the traffic restriction plan as well.”

“The biggest beneficiary is the Seoul government, not the ministry,” a representative of the film crew said on condition of anonymity. “It seems inappropriate for the Seoul government to shift the responsibility to the ministry.”

Meanwhile, the main challenge for the film crew will be preventing the possible leak of the scenes they’re filming, as the scene is set amid office skyscrapers and apartments. Despite a statement by Walt Disney Company Korea asking people not to take photos or video, one man, believed to be an American, already posted a three-and-half-minute video clip of the Mapo Bridge scenes on YouTube on March 30. The video was blocked upon the request of Disney

On Twitter, some people working in nearby buildings already uploaded photos they took of the area, and others came out to see the filming in person. Some managed to see a car chase and the car crash featuring a body double for the Captain America character.

Filming will continue in several other areas in Seoul and Gyeonggi, partially or completely blocking roads, until April 12.

BY KIM BONG-MOON AND KANG KI-HEON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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