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Actor Jo Woo-jin says ‘Hard Hit’ is like miracle to him

Director Kim Chang-Ju (right) and actor Jo Woo-jin pose after a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, central Seoul. (CJ ENM)
Director Kim Chang-Ju (right) and actor Jo Woo-jin pose after a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, central Seoul. (CJ ENM)

For actor Jo Woo-jin, playing his first title role in the upcoming action film “Hard Hit” in his 22-year career seems like a miracle.

“There was a posting that I recently wrote to my fans. It says: ‘Hard hit’ will be released and I am now starting my race. I came to Seoul in 1999 with only 500,000 won ($440.84) in my hand. Everything that is happening to me from now on will feel like a miracle,” Jo said during a press conference held last Wednesday in CGV Yongsan, central Seoul.

As he was watching the movie, directed by Kim Chang-Ju, the word “miracle” popped into his mind again, he added.

In “Hard Hit,” Sung-kyu (played by Jo Woo-jin) works as a manager at a bank in Busan. One morning, he receives an anonymous phone call while driving his two kids to school. The stranger on the phone asks Sung-kyu for money and also threatens him by saying there is a bomb installed under his car seat.

During the press conference, Jo shared his experience of shooting most of the scenes in a car.

“I’m not claustrophobic but after spending so much time in an enclosed space. I started to have minor symptoms so I had to get out of the car for a while,” Jo said.

Jo added that it was especially difficult because he had to convey extremely tense emotions throughout the entire film.

“I had to make sure that I looked extremely nervous in every camera angle,” Jo said. “After filming, I went to the doctor’s and found out that I now have high blood pressure.”

Jo said he was also “shocked” when he first read about the car chase scenes in the script and while filming, “it felt like we were coordinating a military operation,” he said.

“Hard Hit” is a remake of the Spanish film “Retribution,” directed by Dani de la Torre. In making the new film, director Kim talked about the adjustments that he made.

“The film is similar to the original movie, but there are special settings that fit Korea’s circumstances. I can’t mention everything here because it can be a spoiler, but it is based on a real incident,” the director said.

Kim is widely known as the editor of many popular Korean films such as “Snowpiercer,” “The Terror Live,” and “Tunnel.” This is his first film debut as a director.

“I think the biggest difference (between being an editor and a director) is that this time I got to be there when the actors were performing and communicate with them back and forth,” he said. “I tried to support Jo Woo-jin in pulling off Sung-kyu who is a character that is always on edge.”

“Hard Hit” will hit local theaters on Wednesday.

By Song Seung-hyun (