|From left, actors Wi Ha-jun, Jin Ki-joo, Kim Hye-yoon and Park Hoon, pose during an online press conference for the film "Midnight," Wednesday. Courtesy of CJ ENM, Tving|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
Actor Jin Ki-joo said she discovered the hidden charms of the thriller genre by starring in "Midnight," which offers a suspense-laden plot that alternates between vigorous action and cerebral riddle-solving.
"I was a little hesitant at first because I'm not a huge fan of thrillers. But after watching the completed film over and over again, to the point that I can watch from beginning to end with my eyes open, I now understand why thrillers are such a popular genre," she said during a press conference for the film on Wednesday.
"Midnight" revolves around a deaf woman named Kyung-mi (Jin) who engages in a battle of wits with serial killer Do-sik (Wi Ha-jun). After Kyung-mi witnesses a crime, Do-sik begins to stalk and hunt her down.
Jin explained that the deafness of her character Kyung-mi serves as a major strength in the film. In the film, Kyung-mi is able to tell what's happening around her and sense the murderer's presence through light movements and other visual signals.
"I initially had vague thoughts about a world without sound, because all I could do was rely on my imagination. But then I started sleeping wearing earplugs, as the director recommended. When I woke up, I felt like my heart and breath were vibrating. After that experience, I kind of got used to the noiseless world and relied on other senses," she said.
|Actors Jin Ki-joo, right, and Kil Hae-yeon, in a scene from "Midnight" / Courtesy of CJ ENM, Tving|
The 32-year-old actress said that she felt a sense of accomplishment while learning sign language for her role. "I learned it quickly because it was really interesting. It felt like I was transforming a hieroglyphic language into hand movements," she said.
Meanwhile, Wi revealed that he had lost up to 12 kilograms to play the role of the psychopathic killer in "Midnight."
"It's a role that I've always dreamed of since I started acting, but it was more burdensome than I expected. It was mentally exhausting. However, I'm still grateful to the director and the cast for helping me bring out the best of my abilities," he said. "I also referred to a lot of movies, such as The Chaser (2008), I Saw the Devil (2010) and The Shining (1980) to act out the villain character."
Director Kwon Oh-seung, who is making his feature directorial debut with the work, said he drew inspiration for the film from a conversation between two deaf people at a cafe.
"I was sitting in a cafe working on my script, when I saw two deaf people use sign language to communicate. Because they couldn't hear the barista's request to pick up their coffee, an employee came up to one of them and tapped on her shoulder. At that moment, she seemed frightened. I wondered, what if I turn this story into a thriller, and the person who approaches her is a serial killer?" he said.
Actor Park Hoon, who stars as the victim's brother Jong-tak, lauded his castmates for completing high-octane action sequences without stunt doubles. "They performed so well that I thought to myself, 'Even stunt doubles wouldn't be able to perform like that,'" he said.
"Midnight" will be released simultaneously on Korean streaming platform Tving and in theaters on June 30.