Sea-themed movies set to make their maiden voyages

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Sea-themed movies set to make their maiden voyages


Left to Right: Three narratives against the backdrop of the ocean, “Roaring Currents,” “Pirate” and “Haemoo,” will tackle different genres and eras of Korean history. Provided by CJ Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment and NEW

Summer is fast approaching, but this year is set to be a cool one as three local flicks take on the high seas. From a historical account to a period comedy to a modern drama, these films, with their intricate sets and use of star power, are a testament to just how far Korean cinema has come.

Each movie featured detailed replicas of ships, which were placed on rotating structures simulating the movement of the ocean. And as well as the plight of filming on water, all three features had their own obstacles. But only time will tell if the budget and effort invested were worth it.

“Roaring Currents”

Based on the historical Battle of Myeongnyang, “Roaring Currents” is the heaviest of the three films. The battle led by Joseon Admiral Yi Sun-sin, which took place in 1597 off the coast of Jindo County, is one of the greatest triumphs in Korean history.

Accordingly, the film promises a spectacle, as viewers will witness warfare between 13 Korean ships and 330 Japanese vessels.

Playing Admiral Yi is none other than Choi Min-sik of “Old Boy” fame - one of today’s most respected actors.

“It’s a story that all Koreans know, and I was curious to see how they’d commercialize it,” said Choi about getting on board the project that has captivated director Kim Han-Min since childhood.

For Kim, asking Choi to be his lead was a no-brainer. “To take on such an accomplished character, there was no one else who came to mind other than Choi,” he said.

The real battle for the filmmaker lay in realizing the battle scenes, which make up almost half the film. Choi described the process akin to war itself and said that the set was rife with injured staff.

The film opens July 30.

“Haemoo” (Sea Fog)

Critics are expecting big things from “Haemoo,” which is directed by Shim Sung-bo, co-writer of Bong Joon-ho’s “Memories of Murder.” With Shim at the helm this time and Bong as the producer, the film raised eyebrows when K-pop star, JYJ’s Park Yu-chun, was cast as one of the main characters.

The plot centers on a group of down-on-their-luck fishermen. While out at sea, Captain Chul-ju (Kim Yoon-suk) and his six men find their ship overtaken by stowaways.

As a fog descends on them, against the backdrop of the deep blue sea, Shim plays on primal fears and testing human limits. The film boasts a talented lineup, including Kim Yoon-suk, Moon Sung-geun, Kim Sang-ho and ingenue Han Ye-ri.

The youngest sailor is Dong-sik, or JYJ’s Park. Taking the leap from TV dramas to the big screen, Park said he was honored to be a part of “Haemoo,” although he said it did come at a cost. “I got reprimanded by Kim Yoon-suk a lot,” he explained, “and I remember when he first saw us he said to me, ‘how am I going to work on a ship with you lot?’?”

Park also confessed to “being addicted to medicine for seasickness” while shooting. But over time, as he mastered the raging water, the singer won over his co-stars.

“I thought he’d be just this pretty boy, but then I got to know him and we decided that he’s a real man,” said Kim.

The film opens Aug. 13


The lightest of the three films, “Pirates,” which boasts big names like Son Ye-jin, Kim Nam-gil, Yoo Hae-jin, Lee Kyung-young, is a period piece that will have viewers in stitches.

With 120 staff overseeing 3,000 costumes, the film was ambitious and took a year to complete. Director Lee Suk-hoon said his work, loosely based on the Great Seal of Korea going missing during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) was “a fusion of history and imagination.”

For the lead Son, rather than historical or comedic appeal, she couldn’t turn down the irresistible female pirate lead, Yeo-wol.

“I’ve never tried an action film, and in what small portion of action there was in my previous comedy or melodrama works, I found it so hard,” said Son. When shooting got underway in the middle of winter, Son admitted she wanted to cry and that all she can remember now is “how cold it was.”

“But this character is unprecedented in Korea, so I thought I should get on board before I get older,” Son said.

The film opens Aug. 6


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