Jung Jae-young, who plays a title role for the forthcoming film "Castaway on the Moon (Kim-ssi pyoryugi)," seems to be relishing a box-office battle with Tom Hanks.
"Whether we wanted it or not, we are going to stage a showdown with Tom Hanks," Jung told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.
The implication is two-fold. First, "Castaway on the Moon" obviously has taken its cue from "Cast Away" (2000), which starred the Hollywood actor. Second, the Korean flick is released on May 14, the same day that Hanks` latest film "Angels & Demons" hits local theaters.
But any similarities end there. "Castaway on the Moon" is not about the dramatic struggle of a man deserted in the middle of the ocean, but about a quirky man who becomes stranded on an island in the Han River.
Mr. Kim (played by Jung Jae-young) plunges from a bridge into the Han River to end his life, only to end up on an island. Mr. Kim realizes that it is difficult to live, but that it is equally hard to die.
As he grows accustomed to the isolated life on the island (the SOS letters on the sand are changed from "Help" to Hello"), he comes across a wine bottle containing an anonymous letter, offering a fresh impetus.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kim (Jung Ryeo-won) maintains a secluded life in her own room. She has a solid daily routine, updating her homepage and taking pictures of the moon. She is awakened from her reclusive life, however, when she catches a glimpse of a dark figure on the Han River -- a turning point that finally prompts her to leave her sacred room.
"When I got the screenplay, I really liked the story because it`s quite entertaining and interesting, and it also has a last-minute surprise," Jung Jae-young said at the press event.
Jung Ryeo-won, who built up her career in television dramas, said she did not have any difficulty in playing the role of Ms. Kim. "Some people were worried about my role because Ms. Kim was a loner, but I have been living alone myself for a while, so I found it interesting to see some similarities between my life and Ms. Kim`s life," she said.
Director Lee Hae-jun, who also made "Like a Virgin," said his second film was designed to give the audiences a sense of hope. "Even though some viewers might take the message of hope as an outdated cliche, I still believe hope is the very message we want," he said.
"Castaway on the Moon" was originally planned to hit theaters on April 30, but the film`s distributor Cinema Service pushed the schedule back to avoid direct competition with Park Chan-wook`s much-awaited Korean vampire film "Thirst."
By Yang Sung-jin