Popular gambling-themed film series "Tazza" is making its way back to the silver screen, this time with poker.
"Tazza: One-Eyed Jack," the third installment of the crime drama series, will deviate from the Korean card game Hwatu to focus on poker.
"Hwatu cards are small so [scams] involve a lot of hand-tricks, whereas poker cards are larger and thinner, making it harder for those tricks. From what I've researched, [scams in poker] are usually carried out by teams to divert other players' attention," director Kwon Oh-kwang said Thursday at a media conference held in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul.
"This film would be fun to watch if you understand how the characters team up, each contributing differently, to rig the table."
"Tazza," based on the comic series by Huh Young-man, was first made into a movie in 2006 as "Tazza: The High Rollers." It was a hit and became the third-highest-selling movie of the year.
Although its sequel "Tazza: The Hidden Card" (2014) wasn't as great of a success as the first one, the series still generated a buzz among moviegoers.
The latest installment revolves around poker player Do Il-chool, played by Park Jung-min, who is the son of legendary gambler Jjag-gwi from the first series. After he meets the mysterious gambler Aekku, also a Korean word for one-eyed, played by Ryoo Seung-bum, he becomes drawn into the gambling world.
Led by Aekku, four skilled players ― Il-chool, Kkachi (Lee Kwang-soo), Young-mi (Lim Ji-yeon), Director Kwon (Kwon Hae-hyo) ― team up to win a high-stakes gambling round.
Park expressed the pressure he faced as a lead character in such a famous film series. "When I first got the screenplay, I was very much interested in it. But I hesitated [to take the role] as I knew that I should shoulder a heavy burden because of high expectations," Park explained.
He said the director sent him a long email in which he made a strong case for him to take the role. "[His email] convinced me to take the risk because I thought I could trust someone like him and work on a piece together."
"I didn't feel any desire to compete with the previous Tazza stars, rather I wanted to make a new Tazza film that wouldn't embarrass them," Park said as he felt some pressure to live up to the role previously taken by A-listers ― Cho Seung-woo and T.O.P.
The director also expressed he tried not to be pressured when shooting this film.
"I tried hard to get rid of the thoughts that this one should top the previous ones," said Kwon, adding that he wants the audiences to enjoy the film whether they have seen the previous "Tazza" films or not.
The director explained that he thinks of this film as more character-focused, compared to the previous ones. "I believe the film will be fascinating to see the interactions and chemistry between the characters throughout the plot. This one is different from the previous ones in the sense that the story evolves quickly but still has the sentiments of the Tazza series."
The teamwork and chemistry among the cast was evident throughout the media conference as the harmonious energy filled the air ― they complemented each other and joked around from time to time which made others laugh.
"Even when I wasn't shooting any scenes, I would want to go to the set. Everyone treated each other like family," Lee Kwang-soo said. He also told reporters he even took about a two-hour-long drive with Lim just to visit the set in Chuncheon on their day off.
Park recalled the first time he met his co-star Ryoo, who couldn't attend Thursday's event. "He hugged and greeted me so well even though we had never met each other before."
"I've always admired him since I wanted to become an actor. And we became very close," he said. "I wrote in my diary that I felt like I met the right person at the right time in my career. I thank Ryoo for being such a great mentor and giving me the advice I needed."
The film will hit theaters on Sept. 11.
Been waiting for this for a year! There are multiple men in the cast who I've crushed on at one time or another lol. Ryoo Seung-bum where have you been hiding, bb?
source: The Korea Times & Eon Talk