Starring Lee Byung Hun and Kim Nam Gil among other prominent actors, Emergency Declaration is at the #1 spot in Korea and is currently the 6th highest-grossing Korean film of 2022. In an exclusive interview with tvN Movies, Lee Byung Hun and Kim Nam Gil share their experience preparing and filming their newest project, EMERGENCY DECLARATION.
Characters of Lee Byung Hun and Kim Nam Gil in EMERGENCY DECLARATION
Lee Byung-hun as Jae-hyuk
Jae-hyuk is a passenger who boards the plane for the sake of his daughter’s treatment. His daughter suffers from a bad case of skin eczema. When he finds out that a suspicious-looking man who was intimidating them at the airport has boarded the same plane, he becomes seized with anxiety and apprehension. As the situation on the plane evolves into a crisis, he begins to realize what he needs to do.
Having displayed his inspired acting ability in all genres, Lee Byung-hun this time takes on the role of a somewhat ordinary father. Having experienced a fear of flying himself, Lee used this experience to better express the emotions of Jae-hyuk in this moment of chaos on the plane. This character who shows fear and panic, but also a resolve to save the other passengers, is sure to leave a strong impression on viewers.
Kim Nam Gil as Hyun-soo
Hyun-soo is the co-pilot who must land the plane safely at all costs. After preparing as usual to take on his responsibilities as co-pilot, a sudden death on the plane sends Hyun-soo going back and forth from the cockpit to the cabin, trying to resolve the crisis. Keeping in close contact with the crisis management centre on the ground, he tries his best to keep the plane aloft, but with no solution in sight he finds himself having to make an ‘emergency declaration’.
It’s the same for all passengers and flight crew in Emergency Declaration, but for the co-pilot Hyun-soo as well, this is his first time facing such a situation. Kim Nam-gil gives a memorable performance as a co-pilot who must carry out his duties without giving unnecessary agitation to the passengers.
Interview with Lee Byung Hun and Kim Nam Gil
1. Why did you choose this film?
Lee Byung-hun: This is my first time working with director Han Jae-rim. I’ve always wanted to work with him when I watched his previous films. When I received the script and read it, it was so tense and exciting that I read it all at once. Just because it is a disaster film doesn’t mean it simply has spectacular visual effects. Like what Song Kang-ho mentioned, the story talks about and makes you think about humanity.
Kim Nam-gil: This is also my first time working with director Han Jae-rim. There were actually a few times we almost got to work together. He was working on the storyboard, and I met him by coincidence at the studio. So, I said, “Is there a role for me? I’d love to be in the film, even if it’s a minor role.” In some ways, the reality we’re in now is even more similar to a disaster, having gone through it, and we’re all in the midst of overcoming, so I was curious how the disaster would be portrayed. Also, it felt like this film would be able to provide some comfort, so I decided to choose this film.
2. Please introduce your character and what your focus was when acting
Lee Byung-hun: Basically, Jae-hyuk has a really serious fear of airplanes. It’s so serious that he has to take medication continuously. He had no choice but to board the plane together with his daughter to seek treatment for her. Even in normal circumstances, he already requires medication, and when the emergency starts on the plane, he tries his best to overcome his own fears and think of what he could do in that situation. That is what I felt was the most important for this character.
Kim Nam-gil: Me? I was the first officer. While on the plane, Lee Byung-hun was having wild thoughts and looking nervous…
3. So you were the one watching him.
Kim Nam-gil: Yes, I was the one watching him. I focused a lot on the bromance between my character and Lee Byung-hun.
4. You act as the first officer in the film. What did you find difficult or pay extra attention to when acting in this occupation?
Kim Nam-gil: The character has a very strong sense of responsibility. Lee Byung-hun mentioned this earlier as well, the cockpit in which we were acting is, in some ways, a very lonely space. We were responsible for the lives of all those passengers and had to lead them to safety, so I tried my best to act with an authenticity like it was a documentary. Also, along with Lee Byung-hun, we went into the simulator and also studied a lot, but it isn’t something we can easily get access to. For example, many situations aren’t something we experience in life, and yet we must look like we are familiar with it, so that was also difficult. For the simulator, I had to try landing the plane, and every time it showed that all the passengers died. So, I tried hard to act naturally despite that.
5. What was the toughest or most difficult point, having to act in a small space, like in the airplane, or on a serious topic, like a disaster?
Lee Byung-hun: The pandemic started not long after we started filming. The airplane was really narrow for close to 100 actors and staff to fit into. And we had to be masked, even though the actors would remove our masks before filming started. So, we were all worried, even though all of us had to be tested before filming started. But as confirmed cases started appearing, we had to hurry up with filming while continuing to be worried. When we used a machine to move the plane, everyone had to be really careful. An accident could happen if someone didn’t put on their belt properly. Even the cameraman, who had to stand while filming, had to be tied to somewhere like a pillar before he could be spun around. So, I think we were all very worried that an accident might happen. That was what we paid the most attention to.
6. Please say something to your fans who are looking forward to the movie.
Lee Byung-hun: Right from the start of the film till the end, you’ll continuously experience many strong emotions, be it tension or feeling touched. Anyone watching this film will be thinking about how they would react in that situation. That’s the kind of film this is, and I hope many people will look forward to the film.
Kim Nam-gil: Emergency Declaration is Korea’s first aviation disaster film, and I think that itself makes it worth watching. The scale and technology used make me feel that our industry has really made a lot of developments. How people come to accept this disaster, how they react and respond to it, there’s no right answer, and it differs from person to person. Still, the film explores how people sacrifice themselves for the community and face the disaster with intelligence. I hope you’ll look forward to the film. Thank you.
Watch “Emergency Declaration” premiere on tvN Movies on January 23. And stay with Kpoppost and follow us on Telegram Channel, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more Korean dramas and movies updates.
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