How did you get involved with this project?
I really liked the script. The power contained within the film, the characters that centered around the story are what made me choose this project. Also, I wanted to work with director NA and Kim Yun-Seok once more.
There were many action thrillers in 2010. What part of The Yellow Sea stood out?
It could be said that The Yellow Sea is a very highly concentrated film. The way this film's drama unfolds, or the character development, it's very realistic in a way that's never been before in Korean film industry. Although packaged in an action-thriller genre, this is a strong sense of drama in the process of following this character.
How was shooting in China?
I concentrated on accepting and learning a new culture. I practiced mah-jong, understood it and tried to experience what Korean-Chinese people experience in their daily life. With Kim Yun-Seok, we flew to China and saw firsthand where they lived and soaked in the atmosphere. That was very cinematic and noir-like. The shoot took place mainly in Harbin.
What was the most memorable and difficult part of shooting?
I climbed steep mountains, fell into the water during shooting, but more than anything, getting into a character and concentrating for a long period of time was the most difficult part of shooting. Rather than a specific scene in the movie, I remember, fondly, the character, cast and crew, who made this film possible.
What drew you to the character of Gu-Nam?
When I thought about why he had to cross the yellow sea and the circumstances behind it, I felt the drama was very humanistic. As head of a household who had a wife and a child, I could sympathize with him, who turned into a monster when he was cornered from all sides while trying to save those he loved.
What was it like to collaborate with director NA and Kim Yun-Seok?
Because of my previous experience with the duo, I was able to go over this hurdle. It was very enjoyable experience. But what I realised once again was the fact that actor Kim Yun-Seok was such a giant support as a fellow actor. Without him it would have been extremely difficult for me to get into the character of Gu-Nam. I probably survived this production because of him. Also, director NA had a very difficult task of leading this production with very arduous production schedule. When in production, it's easy to get greedy and face many shortcomings from things that we could not plan well previously, but he always understood the situation and led us to the finish line. For that he has my utter respect.
The Yellow Sea was released in the UK through Eureka on June 9th 2011.