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'A Taxi Driver' is more about hope than tragedy, says lead actor

All News 15:09 June 20, 2017

SEOUL, June 20 (Yonhap) -- The military's bloody crackdown of a pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju in 1980 remains one of the darkest chapters in Korea's modern history. But Song Kang-ho, the main actor of "A Taxi Driver" based on the incident, said he would like to convey a message of hope rather than tragedy and pain of the time.

"I turned down an offer to appear in the film at first. There was much pressure to join the film on the tragic modern Korean history," he said during a press conference for the film at a Seoul cinema. "It was a kind of healthy sense of pressure like 'Can I really do this?"

As time went by, however, the story did not leave his mind.

"I was eager to share the passion and enthusiasm of this story with many people although doing the film would be difficult," the actor said of the reason for choosing to be in the movie.

Actor Song Kang-ho speaks during a news conference to promote his new film "A Taxi Driver" at a Seoul cinema on June 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Actor Song Kang-ho speaks during a news conference to promote his new film "A Taxi Driver" at a Seoul cinema on June 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Directed by Jang Hun of "Secret Reunion" (2009) and "The Front Line" (2011), "A Taxi Driver" features the May 18, 1980, Gwangju people's uprising seen from the eyes of two outsiders, a taxi driver from Seoul and a journalist from Germany.

Song plays the taxi driver Kim Man-seop who picks up the German reporter named Peter (Thomas Kretschmann) and takes him to Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of the capital, for a big cash offer without knowing what was going on there during the day of the uprising.

As much of his filmography evinces, the 50-year-old has shown an appetite for film dramas depicting painful chapters of the turbulent modern Korean history, such as "The President's Barber" (2004), "The Attorney" (2014) and "The Age of Shadows" (2016).

"I didn't intend this, but I appeared in many films about modern and contemporary Korean history. ... I think I was captivated by the fact that the movies were going to feature history that we didn't know or sublimate already known historical facts into art," the seasoned actor said. "I would like to show hope through such films rather than convey tragedy and pain."

Also starring Yoo Hae-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol, the new film is set to open in August.

A promotional poster for "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

A promotional poster for "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)


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