Glass shards to the face and having to dance without music

From left: Actors Kim Woo-Bin and Gang Dong-Won and director Cho Ui-Seok laugh as they talk about their filming experiences during a media conference for action flick Master. Photo: Hon Jing Yi/TODAY
From left: Gang Dong-Won, Cho Ui-Seok and Kim Woo-Bin are in town to promote their latest movie Master. Photo: Hon Jing Yi/TODAY
All in a day’s work for Korean actors Kim Woo-Bin and Gang Dong-Won
Published: 6:00 PM, January 12, 2017

SINGAPORE — Movie-making is a tough business — just ask Gang Dong-Won and Kim Woo-Bin.

The Korean stars, who were in Singapore on Thursday (Jan 12) with director Cho Ui-Seok to promote their latest movie Master, faced multiple challenges shooting the action flick. In addition to picking up skills like boxing, the cast and crew had to spend days in a hot and crowded slum in Manila, where it would often rain just before shoots began.

“It was a tough and challenging environment,” Kim, 27, said about his experience filming in Manila, with the help of a translator. “Aside from the hot weather, there was a slaughterhouse next to (our set), so that was tough. But after a few days, we got used to it, so we started shooting and eating together and it was fine. We also saw children playing in the slums, and they looked so happy and cheerful it made me think a lot (about how they lived).”

Gang and co-star Lee Byung-hun also injured themselves while shooting action scenes on the set of Master, which tells the story of a detective (Gang) who is determined to take down the mastermind (Lee) of a massive pyramid scheme with the help of a genius coder (Kim).

Even though he left the most dangerous scenes to stuntmen, Gang was injured by glass while shooting an explosion scene. Lee, who did not attend the media conference in Singapore, sprained his neck and shoulder.

“The gunpowder was too strong (in the explosion we were filming) and the glass hit my face. I saw my face bleeding and went, ‘wow, this is terrible’,” Gang recounted, speaking in English. “I sat and waited... (Everyone was) shocked, and nobody touched me. Everybody was just watching me, so I had to (pull the shards out) myself.”

The 35-year-old, who sustained small cuts on his face and still has a scar under his chin from the accident, said Cho felt so guilty over the accident, he apologised to his mother several times.

“Whenever reporters ask him about this accident, I feel so sorry. But Gang has a really good attitude so he just laughs it off,” Cho said. “I felt like I was injuring a national treasure.”

While Kim was spared from boxing lessons and facial-scarring injuries, he had his own set of difficulties to contend with. The actor, who’s starred in shows such as Friends 2 and The Heirs, had to dance “like Beyonce” for the camera.

“I am not good at singing or dancing in front of people. And at that point in our shoot I was not close to the crew yet, so I couldn’t rehearse the scene on the spot. Instead, I spent the night before practising in front of a camera. I showed it to the director the next morning, and he liked it. I tried to channel as much as Beyonce as I could,” Kim quipped.

Even though no one apart from the costume designer could tell that Kim was actually trying to dance like Beyonce, Cho seemed to appreciate the actor’s efforts.

“There was no background music, so he had to dance while the crew (just) stared at him,” the director said.

Master opens in theatres in Singapore on Jan 13.