Park Yong-ha Returns as Scam Artist
By Lee Hyo-won
The economic crisis is chilling the winter weather, but South Korea's first stock market movie ``The Scam'' is expected to turn the temperature up a notch.
A hotel ballroom was crowded with over 300 reporters in Seoul Tuesday for the appearance of top Korean talent, including hallyu star Park Yong-ha. He plays the role of a jobless, self-taught trader who hits the jackpot. But little did he know he disrupted a big stock market scam led by a gangster trying to reinvent himself as a financial mogul (Park Heui-soon).
``I mostly played suave roles in melodramas, so I was drawn to my disheveled, desperate character. Also, the script was so gripping, despite my zero knowledge of stocks,'' said the ``On Air'' star, who is also a popular singer in Japan. He sported a semi casual look with a crisp white T-shirt and gray suit. The 31-year-old plays his first prominent film role ever since starring in an obscure project 10 years ago (``When It Snows on Christmas'') and a supporting role in ``Again.''
Continuing the recent Korean film industry trend, the crime story is written and directed by another newcomer, Lee Ho-jae. ``I focused on characters to express the human desire for money. I tried my best to make a truly entertaining film rather than a futile one ― only possible in fiction,'' the director told reporters.
Park appears opposite charismatic actor Park Heui-soon, screen beauty Kim Min-jung and musical star Kim Mu-yeol. In the movie, the four form a dream team to pull off a 60 billion won scam.
``Before, my co-star was a `world star' (Kim Yun-jin) and this time it was a hallyu star (Park Yong-ha),'' said Park Heui-soon, the critically acclaimed actor of ``Seven Days,'' drawing laughter from the crowd. ``I wondered how he would approach me. But he came to me first, and said `I wish we can become close' over a bottle of soju,'' said the actor, imitating his co-star's voice in a babyish way.
Kim, looking sexy in a black keyhole dress, stars as a snobby private banker. The ``New Heart'' star said she was strongly attracted to her character's soft charisma, despite her wish to avoid playing another conceited professional.
Kim Mu-yeol, who plays the character who is the brains behind the scam squad, expressed nervousness about his screen debut but appeared confident before the press in his edgy, double-breasted jacket.
``The Scam'' is slated for release Feb. 12 and is distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex.