By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) — New South Korean caper movie “The Swindlers” will deliver crowd-pleasing humor coupled with a fast-moving plot filled with unseen twists and turns, its directors and stars said Wednesday.
“It’s a bright popcorn film about a group of scam artists trying to catch a notorious bigger con man. It’s a comedy in which strong characters clash,” Jang Chang-won, director of the movie, told reporters at a press conference at the CGV Apgujeong theater in southern Seoul.
“The Swindlers” marks the feature directorial debut for Jang, who cut his teeth in the film industry working under star director Lee Joon-ik in hit films “King and the Clown” and “Radio Star.”
In the footsteps of past caper and heist movies — a la South Korea’s “The Thieves” or Hollywood’s “Ocean’s Eleven” — the movie revolves around a team of scam artists and a corrupt prosecutor teaming up to track down a notorious fraudster, but they all have different ulterior motives.
The movie boasts an star ensemble cast, lead by Hyun Bin and Yoo Ji-tae, along with supporting roles by Park Sung-woong, Bae Sung-woo and Im Jin-ah, a former member of idol group After School who is better known as Nana.
“I cannot stress the importance of the casting. There were a lot of scenes involving team play, so we needed not just chemistry between the characters but also an added element of fresh synergy,” said Jang.
Lead star Hyun, who plays the shrewd yet audacious lead con man Hwang Ji-sung, said he was enamored by the notion of anti-heroes joining forces to hunt a bigger evil predator lurking in the underground world of fraud.
“Since there aren’t any real fraudsters around me, there wasn’t a place for me to get advice. I focused on how to express Ji-sung’s flexible character, from his meticulous planning to his temerity in moving forward with a scam, even when the plan falls apart,” Hyun said.
Yoo, perhaps most well-known outside Korea for his work in “Oldboy,” praised the script for being “perfect” and “intricately woven.” “We worked extra hard for the ensemble cast and the substance of individual performances,” he added.
Im, the sole female lead, said she was initially nerve-wracked over her first experience in a film but managed to work comfortably with support from her fellow co-stars. “I was amazed and learned a lot from watching ad-libbed takes by my co-stars on set,” she added.
“The Swindlers,” distributed by Showbox, is scheduled to hit theaters next month.