By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- Actor Jung Woo-sung has become a household name through a combination of talent, luck and hard work over the past three decades, and he is still on a journey of self-discovery by expanding his horizons beyond the screen.
Since his iconic high school dropout character in the 1997 film "Beat," Jung has starred in several films and dramas across various genres and tried his hand in directing short independent films.
His most recent and notable challenge was his first feature film, "A Man of Reason." He also played its protagonist -- a former gangster who wants nothing but a normal life but is dragged back into the world of violence to rescue his kidnapped daughter.
In an online group media interview Thursday, the 50-year-old said he feels both nervous and relieved but is ready to meet the audience ahead of its theatrical release Tuesday.
"Regardless of the outcome, I'm satisfied with the overall filmmaking process," Jung said. "Although new challenges can be difficult, they can lay the groundwork for new developments and open up new possibilities for audiences."
The action flick tells the story of Suhyuk, a former gang member who wants to cut ties with his past after being released from prison after 10 years, but his former associates won't let him go.
Suhyuk belatedly discovers that he has a daughter and wishes to live a normal life with her, but he is forced back into violence when she is kidnapped by those trying to kill him.
Although the plot is simple and uses genre cliches, Jung said he wanted to recreate the familiar theme by adding twists to the characters and presenting thrilling action scenes in his own style.
"After reading the script, I decided to stay true to my feelings. My first direction to the film crew was not to collect references and use their imaginations to create scenes that fit the story," he said. "It was part of the process of discovering my directorial style."
Rather than showing reckless violence by the enraged father, Jung said he delved into the protagonist's dilemma and the irony surrounding the villains who chase him to add depth to their narratives.
The veteran actor, particularly known for his performances in action movies, said his strength as a director lies in his obsessive attention to detail and his ability to communicate with cast members.
"One of the advantages of directing a movie as an actor is that I can smoothly communicate with the cast members. As I give directions from an actor's perspective, the way we communicate becomes simple," he said.
As an actor who has been wary of taking on similar roles to avoid being typecast, Jung said he wants to explore different possibilities in other genres, such as straightforward action and psychological drama, if he is given another chance to take the helm of a movie.
"If you look at my filmography, you can find several surprising turning points and wonder why I made such choices," Jung said. "I never tried to continue my past glory, and I don't want to repeat my directorial style in future works."
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