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Hwang Jung-min returns as abductee in ‘Hostage: Missing Celebrity’

Actor Hwang Jung-min (left) and director Pil Gam-seong pose for photos after a press preview of “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” held on Thursday. (New)
Actor Hwang Jung-min (left) and director Pil Gam-seong pose for photos after a press preview of “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” held on Thursday. (New)

For veteran actor Hwang Jung-min, playing a character who shares his name in the upcoming movie “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” was huge challenge.

“When I was asked to play Hwang Jung-min, I was concerned with how I should act in the movie, because I had never experienced being kidnapped before and was not able to imagine how I would behave if I was really abducted,” Hwang said during an online interview after the press preview on Thursday.

Director Pil Gam-seong’s first major picture, “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” revolves around the actor Hwang Jung-min (played by Hwang) and kidnappers who demand a huge ransom.

With the famous actor’s name being used for the protagonist, the actors and film crew members focused on making the film as realistic as possible.

“Instead of a movie, I wanted the audience to feel they were watching some sort of a documentary program, like ‘Men in Black Box,’ the broadcaster SBS’ program analyzing the black box footages of cars. The energetic scenes were created by referring to William Friedkin’s ‘The French Connection,’” said Pil.

Thorough preparation was necessary to achieve the goal of making the film realistic, Pil and Hwang said.

Hwang Jung-min is being kidnapped in “Hostage: Missing Celebrity.” (New)
Hwang Jung-min is being kidnapped in “Hostage: Missing Celebrity.” (New)

Unlike movies where a kidnapped character is taken to a deserted factory or empty building, the film takes place in a house. The actors spent a lot of time studying how the sets were made, rehearsing how they would act and analyzing the different emotions in their situations.

The selection of the remaining cast was another way to make the film more realistic, Pil added.

According to the director, the audience would be more drawn into the story if the other actors were relatively unknown, making the viewers focus on Hwang’s situation.

However, this does not mean the actors are untalented. The cast members were picked after three months of auditioning involving more than 1,000 actors.

“I have not been able to talk much about the actors who play the kidnappers, but they really are talented individuals. I am certain that the public will recognize their unlimited possibilities after watching the movie,” the veteran actor said, praising the actors who were absent at the online press conference.

The director was glad about the cinematic release of his features directorial debut. He previous works include the 2011 short film “You Promised Me.“

“The character had to be tied up for a long time, restricting his movement. But I was amazed at how Hwang delivered the minute emotions mainly with his upper body and face. The kidnappers created a great chemistry with the veteran,” Pil said.

“Hostage: Missing Celebrity” will arrive in local theaters on Aug. 18.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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