Principal Photography Begins on Korean Tsunami Movie HAEUNDAE
All-Star Korean Cast Teams with US FX Crew for Large Scale Disaster Movie
Source: Polygon Entertainment official press release, official Korean press release
Translations and Additional Material: Kim Song-ho (Loomis)
On August 18, 2008, Doosaboo Film, Inc. began principal photography on the motion picture HAEUNDAE at the beaches of Busan, South Korea. In the upcoming film— billed as “South Korea’s first big-budget disaster movie”— Haeundae Beach and the surrounding district will be utterly destroyed by a tsunami.
Besides serving as the name of the movie, Haeundae is one of the most popular beaches in Korea; on any given day one can find more than 100,000 tourists packed on its narrow one-mile strip of sand. The beach is also home to Korea’s world-famous Pusan International Film Festival.
HAEUNDAE is being directed by Youn Je-Kyoun, CEO of Doosaboo Film. Born in Busan in 1969, Youn is a popular writer, producer and director whose credits include the hits MY BOSS, MY HERO (Doosaboo Ilchae, 2001), SEX IS ZERO (Saek-jeung-si-gong, 2002), MY LOVELY WEEK (Naesaengae Gajang Areumdawun Iljuil, 2005), and MIRACLE ON 1St STREET (1 Beon-ga-eui Gi-jeok, 2006). Youn is well known for translating his humorous and romantic nature into his films, and the press release for HAEUNDAE states this will also be the case with this latest production.
Following the “all-star cast” formula of American disaster movies of the 1970s, HAEUNDAE is packed with A-list actors from the Korean film industry.
Lead actor Sol Kyung-gu plays the part of Choi Man-shik, a Haeundae Beach shop owner and the head of an association called the “Haeundae Dock Shopping Street Prosperity Committee”. Sol is an internationally acclaimed actor who has won the Korean Grand Bell Award and been named “Best Actor” at the Blue Dragon Flim Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Bratislava International Film Festival. His credits include the award-winning PEPPERMINT CANDY (Bakha Satang, 2000) and OASIS (2002) as well as the box office hits PUBLIC ENEMY (Gonggongui Jeog, 2002) and SILMIDO (2003).
Actress and singer Ha Ji-won stars in HAEUNDAE as Kang Yeon-hee, the owner of an unlicensed sashimi restaurant located on the Haeundae waterfront. Ha previously starred in the Korean horror film PHONE (Pon, 2002), SEX IS ZERO, and MIRACLE ON 1St STREET. She won a “Best Actress” award for her role in the television drama SOMETHING HAPPENED IN BALI (Ballieseo Saengkin Il, 2004). Doosaboo Film recently announced, “We are excited to see actresses like Ha ji-Won, who is currently in the mainstream of popularity in Korean movies, in our film”.
Ha Ji-won responded in kind. “I’ve worked with director Yoon Je-kyoun several times before,” she said, “so now we can read each other’s minds with just an eye contact. I will do my best on HAEUNDAE.”
Veteran actor Park Joong-Hoon portrays Kim Hwi, a geologist working at an oceanographic institute. Park has worked on dozens of Korean movies and also acted in the American film THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (2002), which was directed by Jonathan Demme and starred Mark Wahlberg and Tim Robbins.
Popular Korean actress/singer Eom Jeong-Hwa plays Lee Yu-jin, a career woman coordinating an international event taking place in Busan. Her character is the ex-wife of geologist Kim Hwi.
Eom is one of the most successful K-pop singers of the 1990s, and is as well known for her revealing outfits as she is for her roles in movies like MARRIAGE IS A CRAZY THING (Gyeolhoneun Michinjishida, 2002) and PRINCESS AURORA (Orora Gongju, 2005). She is also the older sister of Eom Tae-woong, the star of the Korean/American monster movie CHAW which is scheduled for release in December.
Rounding out the main cast are Lee Min-ki and Kim In-kwon. Lee has the part of Choi Hyeong-shik, a lifeguard working with an ocean rescue unit. He is also the younger brother of Sol Kyung-gu’s character, Choi Man-shik. Kim plays Oh Dong-choon, a local scamp and former elementary schoolmate of Kang Yeon-hee. The actor was most recently seen playing a violent drug addict with a penchant for razor blades in FATE (Sookmyeong, 2008).
The first day’s filming for HAEUNDAE involved shooting a scene where Choi Man-shik delivers side dishes to Kang Yeon-hee’s sashimi restaurant. It describes a peaceful day in Haeundae where the characters do not yet know that a great disaster is headed their way. Actor Sol Kyung-gu said, “I’ve been worried about the bad weather, but it seems that heaven helped us. It looks like a good omen for a smooth shoot.”
Director Youn Je-kyoun added, “It is an honor to have a chance to work with this great cast, and I feel very good because the first day of shooting was successful. I will do my best to a finish the film on schedule.”
After principal photography in Busan has wrapped, the crew will head to the US in November for special effects photography. The American feature film production company Polygon Entertainment has taken on the challenge of producing the tremendous special effects of water scenes and to provide the CGI for the picture.
Based in Marin County, California, Polygon was founded by Hans H. Uhlig (a digital artist and supervisor on such films as STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE, SIGNS, and SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW) and Kim Doo-jin and provides a full suite of digital production services from live action to 3D animation and visual effects. Youn Je-Kyoun enthusiatically announced, “With Polygon Entertainment’s founders’ impressive resume of past productions like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, THE PERFECT STORM, and MASTER AND COMMANDER we are all excited to see what they come up with for this action-packed film. We know it’s going to be footage never before seen!”
The budget for HAEUNDAE is reportedly 15 billion won (approximately $15 million US). The Korean film distributor CJ Entertainment will provide all financing for the movie and act as co-producer. HAEUNDAE will wrap in December 2008 and be released in the summer of 2009.