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(Yonhap Interview) Actor Hyunbin ready for a new challenge

2017/11/15 09:42

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By Shim Sun-ah and Kim Kye-yeon

SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- Actor Hyunbin has played mostly upright and honest men in his previous works, including "Confidential Assignment" (2017). But in his latest, "The Swindlers," the actor has made a 180-degree turn from that image to a con man.

"If I were him, I would be too tired to cheat that much," Hyunbin said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency at a Seoul cafe Tuesday.

This photo provided by Showbox shows actor Hyunbin. (Yonhap) This photo provided by Showbox shows actor Hyunbin. (Yonhap)

His character is Ji-seong, a genius con man who only cheats other swindlers. He offers Hui-su, an ambitious prosecutor who was in charge of the case of a notorious con man Du-chil, the opportunity to team up with his team of con artists to hunt Du-chil down. Du-chil fled Korea after amassing trillions of won from ordinary investors through a pyramid scheme.

He was modeled after the infamous swindler Cho Hee-pal in real life who was accused of swindling about 4 trillion won from an estimated 40,000 people between 2004 and 2008 along with his accomplice.

Actor Hyunbin acts as Ji-seong in "The Swindlers." (Yonhap) Actor Hyunbin acts as Ji-seong in "The Swindlers." (Yonhap)

But there already are many movies inspired by the case like "Master" (2016) starring Lee Byung-hun and Kim Woo-bin.

"It wasn't that there was no concern at all because films of the same motif were being produced at the time when I received the screenplay," he said, adding that he was able to shake off the concern because the screenplay contained clear life stories of each character and exciting twists and turns.

Debuting in the KBS TV series "Bodyguard" in 2003, the 35-year-old actor shot to stardom with the 2005 romantic comedy series "My Lovely Sam Soon" with actress Kim Sun-a. He had appeared mainly in romance films and television dramas till in his early 30s.

After being discharged from two years of mandatory military service, however, he expanded his acting spectrum to King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty in the historical movie "The Fatal Encounter" (2014) and an elite North Korean cop in the action-thriller film "Confidential Assignment."

  

This photo provided by Showbox shows actor Hyunbin. (Yonhap) This photo provided by Showbox shows actor Hyunbin. (Yonhap)

His challenge will likely continue next year on the big screen.

He plays a captor in the crime-thriller "Negotiation" (English title pending), and a Joseon prince who struggles to save his country from ghosts that are active only at night in the period action flick "Changgwol" (English title pending). The two films are scheduled to open in local theaters next year.

"I used to pick up works that linger in people's minds well after it was over and have a clear message in the past," he said. "I didn't think that I should do a work that is entertaining and sought by the audiences this time, either. But I always try to do something different, juggling between what I want to do and what the public wants from me."

   sshim@yna.co.kr

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