“We had such a good time, and I got a big leg-up from Ma Dong-seok. I played the part of a ghost, which gave me trouble with moving and not touching stuff, but Ma gave me a lot of ideas. I was able to depend on him for that,” said Kim Young-kwang on his co-star.
“The best thing that can happen to a director is being able to work with good actors. I just unleashed Ma, Kim, Choi Gwi-hwa and other actors and they just went at it. ... The chemistry between them is the best part of the film,” said Cho won-hee, director of the film.
|“The Soul-mate” (Daydream Entertainment)|
“The Seoul-mate” follows judo instructor Jang-soo -- played by Ma -- an everyday person whose daily routine involves taking care of his daughter and staying out of trouble. His life turns upside down when overenthusiastic police officer Tae-jin -- Kim -- is killed in the line of duty and his ghost lingers on to haunt him.
Tae-jin, not letting his own death get in the way of pursuing justice, convinces his very reluctant host to help him investigate cases in the neighborhood.
“Jang-soo doesn’t get involved in anything unless it has something to do with his daughter. He is very skilled in not standing up to injustice,” said Ma, which is odd in that Ma’s filmography consists of some of the most badass characters in Korean cinema.
The presence of Ma, who like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Hollywood packs both action and laughter, is expected to be the biggest selling point for the comedy flick. He added that he was surprised to do so many action scenes in a comedy film, indicating that director Cho would not let his huge biceps go to waste.
Ma, however, added that his co-star Kim played a big role in balancing the laughter and heart.
“Playing the ghost was a very interesting and wonderful experience for me, which was what drew me in as I read the scenario,” said Kim.
The two co-stars are currently dominating the Korean box office. Kim’s “On Your Wedding Day” opened last week and is sitting atop the box office while Ma’s “Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days” is so far the only Korean film this year to sell over 10 million tickets.
Of course, one source of concern lies in that the opening of “The Soul-mate” had been put on hold indefinitely for no apparent reason -- having finished filming two years ago -- which is often a predictor of a box office flop.
In addition, Ma’s track record as the leading guy in comedic, family films has not been impressive. Most recently, “Champion” barely broke even, selling a ho-hum 1.1 million tickets.
“The Soul-mate” hits local theaters on Sept. 26.
By Yoon Min-sik