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Asia Economic Daily Interviews Kwon Sang-woo



Kwon Sang-woo "thirsty" for "Fire" success

Hallyu star Kwon Sang-woo has said he is "thirsty" to see the success of his new film "71 Into the Fire," hoping the war pic will outshine the reputation of his former big screen hits.

"The movies I've starred in for the past eight years had all done well up till two years ago so I am thirsty for the success of this one," Kwon said of his expectations for "Fire" during an interview with Asia Economic Daily.

"In the end, it's up to the heavens but I do hope it breaks my previous record and that it becomes the highest grossing movie this year," the actor added.

Kwon had placed a succession of films atop the local box office during his ten-year career starting with smash hit "My Tutor Friend" which attracted 5.2 million moviegoers during its run in 2003, equivalent to over 10 million on today's box office, a feat which only a handful of local films have achieved in Korean film history.

His more recent works however, such as "Fate" and "More than Blue," flopped on the box office, and his small screen roles in "Bad Love" and "Cinderella Man" also failed to enhance the Asian-star status he had first gained from "Stairway to Heaven" co-starring actress Choi Ji-woo.

"That's why I had felt quite daunted recently but at the same time, was eagerly looking for an opportunity to work on a really good movie," admitted Kwon. That is when he came across the scenario for "Fire," about 71 student soldiers who fight in the Korean War.



"I didn't hesitate to take it on -- it had a very well-executed scenario, it was refreshing in that it would be about student soldiers and it's not often that you're given a chance to work on a war pic given the circumstances the Korean film industry is in," Kwon explained excitedly.

Regarding his role as a juvenile delinquent who has opted to fight in the war as a fake student soldier instead of being sent to a reformatory, Kwon said, "I also thought that I would be playing a very important character in the film, one that would have a big impact. He undergoes a lot of emotional ups and downs so I was happy to be able to get to show various sides to his personality,"

"Plus, who knows whether this will be my last time wearing a school uniform?"
joked the 33-year-old, also a father of a 17-month-old son.

Kwon has donned a school uniform for several big screen roles, with each becoming a hit, leading the actor himself as well as others to believe the school uniform is his lucky charm.

So it just may be that the lucky charm is working its magic or Kwon is better than ever at doing what he is considered to do best -- acting the role of a perverse student who has his school hat perched slantingly on his head -- but figures have indicated Kwon's wishes may come true.

The film has become the fastest grossing Korean film so far this year, breaching the one million admissions mark in just five days of its release on June 16 and is slowing no signs of slowing down.

The film, also starring top actors Cha Seung-won, Kwon Sang-woo and boy band Big Bang member TOP (Choi Seung-hyun), commemorates the 60th anniversary of the war this month.



Kwon Sang-woo eyeing acting roles in China

Actor Kwon Sang-woo, one of the most successful stars in both Korea and Japan, has turned his eyes to China as he sets out to expand his acting career to a wider audience in Asia.

During an interview with Asia Economic Daily, the 33-year-old Hallyu star explained he is "looking into a film or drama role for next year in the Greater China region," and that "talks are currently in process."

He added that it is "quite natural" that he would be set on acting in Japan as well, where he has his largest Asian fanbase, although he will take his time in selecting a role.


In the meantime, he said he would hold fan meetings in Tokyo and Osaka around his birthday in August and in December where he plans to sing newly recorded songs.

Having sung ballads "Missing" and "Tears for Love" during his meet and greets in February in Japan, Kwon said he will continue to record new songs for each fan meeting and release an album when he has recorded about ten songs in total.

"It doesn't mean I'll be making a debut as a singer however," he explained, adding it will rather just be a gift for his fans.

Kwon, who has appeared in several dramas and movies since his debut in 2001, is most well-known for his roles in the 2003 TV series "Stairway to Heaven" and Korean films "My Tutor Friend" and "Love, So Divine."

He has been promoting his latest box office topper "71 Into the Fire," about 71 student soldiers who battle against North Korean army soldiers during the Korean War, also starring some of Korea's most popular celebrities including Kim Seung-woo, Cha Seung-won and Big Bang member T.O.P.

He is married to Miss Korea-turned-actress Sohn Tae-young and has a 17-month-old boy named Rookie.

Source: asiae.co.kr - 1 & 2
Tags: douche, interview, kwon sang woo
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