[INTERVIEW] Yoo Ah In’s Veteran Pushes Pass 12 Million, The 7th Most Watched Movie of All Time
Last week’s number one, Ryu Seung Wan’s Veteran, has enjoyed a stellar run at the top of the pile over the last month, but this local crime drama looks to have peak and has finally surrendered pole position after 35 weeks being the local delight’s domination.
Veteran, starring Hwang Jung Min and Yoo Ah In, added another million admissions over the last weekend to write its total tally into the history books. For the past month Ryoo’s popular crime drama has remained the country’s film of choice and now moves onto an incredible 12,493,737 admissions.
With that current number, Veteran is crowned as the South Korea’s 7th most watched movie or 7th highest-grossing movie in Korean film history, taking over Masquerade‘s spot.
Only nine other Korean films have managed this impressive feat, including The Admiral: Roaring Currents (17.6), Ode to My Father (14.2), The Thieves (12.9), and Miracle in Cell No.7 (12.8).
The success of Ryoo’s film has bumped The King and the Clown (10.5), The Host (10.9), Haeundae (11.3), The Attorney (11.3), and Taegukgi (11.7) out of this exclusive top ten.
Each weekend since its release Veteran has managed to capture over 40% of the box office pie for four straight weeks in a row. The film has become the second Korean movie to sell more than 10 million tickets this year after the historical film Assassination.
Veteran is a criminal action movie about an investigative team going after a third generation plutocrat and the movie hit 12 million viewers on the 8th this month, four days faster than Assassination.
In South Korea, Veteran has hugely resonated as a cathartic ride-along with a true-blue cop, personally delivering justice in a system where the rich and powerful always seem to have the upper hand. It’s been 6 weeks since its release -with 4 weeks being first at the Box Office- and is currently going strong as second.
Having made impressive records, the box office sensation Veteran is poised to ignite North American theaters across the U.S and Canada beginning September 18. The film makes its North American debut at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival, September 10 to 20.
Director Ryu Seung Wan will be attending the opening at CGV cinema in Los Angeles. LAPD Detective and their family will be the special guests.
Showtimes and theater locations for North American screenings of Veteran can be found on the website for CJ Entertainment America.
Win A Pair Of Tickets to See “Veteran” in U.S Theaters HERE
Ryoo Seung-wan reveals his thought on the runaway hit Veteran, “It was an energetic time for me”
Ryoo Seung-wan is a natural born story-teller. The story might seem simple but once it passes through Ryoo Seung-wan’s hands it becomes different. Veteran is about a regional investigations unit tracking down an audacious plutocrat. It’s exciting from the beginning to end. Thus, the movie is being called one of the four greatest entertainment movies this summer.
We met Ryoo Seung-wan at a café prior to the release of the movie and he was still full of excitement.
“I am nervous because people are investing their time and money to go watch the movie. However, the cast and I talked about the movie saying we don’t want to make an embarrassing movie for each other and we can say that the movie wasn’t just well made, but it’s a fun and exciting one”.
Ryoo Seung-wan reunited with Hwang Jung Min from The Unjust. The humane part of Hwang Jeong-min created the character of Seo Do-cheol. Seo Do-cheol is a detective who tracks down Jo Tae-oh till the end. He’s the hero that fights against power.
“The Unjust brought out the best in Hwang Jeong-min. Impressions of someone are bound to linger after a movie and I felt that Hwang Jeong-min was very much alike Seo Do-cheol. He can’t stand others being uncomfortable and steps forward to speak for the unjust. That’s the human Hwang Jeong-min and the mind of citizenship he has appealed to me”.
Seo Do-cheol and Jo Tae-oh’s confrontation mocked the corrupt authorities and plutocrats who try to overpower everything which the nation hates. News about plutocrats’ bossiness can easily be heard on the news these days and a few can be thought of as example cases.
“There are few cases that can be reminded from the movie, but I didn’t want to make it specific. It would interfere with the essence of the movie, so we created a monster of our own by using similar stories. I wanted to make a wider plate. The point of the movie is not a specific case but the fact that the nation stands against this kind of crime”.
Veteran is less serious than The Berlin File. There’s action, slapstick and black comedy in a simple story. Ryoo Seung-wan has lived up to expectations and come out with one of the best movies this year. However, he says it was all thanks to the cast.
“I just lay it out and the actors and actresses fill it in. They don’t do just that but more and amazing teamwork was seen throughout the making. Everyone gets busy when a new idea is born. In a tracking scene, there’s a lot of work with moving the containers and such but no one complained and all went well. Everyone sweated out more than any other movie; it felt good, like we were playing soccer”.
Veteran is competing with The Assassination and Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. Ryoo Seung-wan doesn’t care about the numbers, he just cares if the movie leaves a good impression or not.
“I think we did well in the direction and target of the movie. There are many great movies that don’t succeed in numbers yet still remain in history as time goes by and there are some movies that succeed but are forgotten. But that doesn’t make them good or bad movies. Numbers are not that important”.
Yoo Ah In picked a particularly nasty character for his role as a villain in his latest film Veteran. The character is a third-generation heir to a powerful conglomerate who has everything in the world but compassion.
Yo Ah In’s chaebol role is a far cry from his previous role as the sensitive piano prodigy in love with an older woman in Secret Love Affair. This is the first time he has ever played an evil role since he started his acting career.
The Korean media outlet interviewed him about the role and said the actor’s smile in Veteran “never looked so vicious.”
“I agree that my face isn’t really the face of a villain,” said Yoo Ah In. “But I thought the common denominator between Jo Tae Oh and me was the innocence. I thought, instead of wearing all frowns and keeping my chin high, wearing a smile and doing bad things would leave a stronger impression.”
He talked about why he decided to take up the role.
“If I try to find anything good to say about my acting, it would be consistency”, Yoo Ah In said. “But consistency can also mean boring. If you become predictable, then it’s no fun. I want to be a fun person, a fun actor and I wanted to see a new side of me”.
Playing such a dislikable character was a challenge for Yoo Ah In, but the role allowed him to break out of his comfort zone.
“When people said they were getting tired of me, I didn’t care”, he said. “But it came to a point where I was getting tired of seeing the same side of myself. It’s not that I have a one-dimensional voice, face or personality. I wanted to expose some new personal qualities”.
It seems that he proved he was right as he is acclaimed for creating a whole new villainous character. He said it was a rewarding decision and he enjoyed the role very much.
“Until my soul and body wear out, I want to continue to evolve and see variations of myself”, he said.
Veteran has made no flaws in casting. Amidst several actors and actresses, there are those who can’t be left out as they played key roles and it’s hard to believe they only appeared one to four times.
Ma Dong Seok, who appeared in two Ryu Seung Wan’s movies, made a surprise cameo at the last scene of the film, as himself. He caused big laughter and gave a short yet funny memorable presence to audience with his punchline, “I’m the president of Art Box Company.”
Ryu Seung Wan said that he already wrote a character for Ma Dong Seok in Veteran. He was supposed to be one of the villains. But due to Ma’s conflicting schedule, Ryu rewrote the character and gave it to Yoo Hae Jin. In the end, he asked Ma Dong Seok to appear as a cameo.
Jin Kyeong acted as Hwang Jeong-min’s wife. The scene where she turned down an expensive bag filled with 50,000 won bills and scolded the plutocrat’s puppet gave a feeling of catharsis to the public. Hwang Jeong-min said, “She made the story even more filling. Everyone’s outstanding talents made the movie so strong”.
Cheon Ho-jin and Bae Seong-woo also did great jobs.
Cheon Ho-jin who played a corrupt chief of police in the previous movie The Unjust, played a similar role this time. However, he wasn’t a bad guy. He was almost a special appearance but his friendship with the director led to his appearance in the movie.
Bae Seong-woo is also recognized as a 10 million hit movie star. He appears in Veteran as a fraudulent car dealer and there’s no one else who could’ve done it as well as he did.
The casting choice worked as the film earned 100 percent attendance in 19 out of 21 among Korea’s major cinemas on its debut, August 5.
What to look forward to after the success of Ryoo Seung-wan’s Veteran?
Directors Ryoo Seung-wan and Choi Dong-hoon are creators of the movies, The Assassination and Veteran which both hit a staggering 10 million viewers.
At the celebratory party of Veteran on September 9, Ryoo Seung-wan mentioned that him and his wife, Choi Dong-hoon and his wife met for dinner one night.
Ryoo Seung-wan’s wife Kang Hye-jeong is a movie companion and the same goes for Choi Dong-hoon. His wife Ahn Soo-hyeon is his trusted movie companion. The two couple helped each other create the greatest movies of the year.
Ryoo Seung-wan said, “Choi Dong-hoon talked about his concerns when The Thieves hit 10 million. We talked about the changes that the record holding movies brought to us, what we thought about and our plans for the next movie”.
Ryoo Seung-wan said, “Choi Dong-hoon created a bigger scale movie called The Assassination. Coincidentally, I was planning on a movie called Warships.”
The first round was paid by Choi Dong-hoon and the second round was paid by Ryoo Seung-wan.
Fans of the star-studded movie Veteran, will be able to enjoy a second installment of the film in two or three years. Due to the immense popularity that the cop action comedy has enjoyed, the production crew and actors have decided to work on a sequel. The subject material is still being discussed.
According to director Ryoo Seung-wan, “The decision to create a sequel has been confirmed, and we’re looking for the material. [We’re] currently searching for who the public feels intrigued about and which social issue they are interested in,” reported Korean media outlet Osen.
Ryoo Seung-wan also said, “I am thinking about someone in politics for a new villain, but it’s going to take another 3 years for the movie to come out”. So far, Hwang Jung Min has given his nod to come back in the sequel.
No date has been set for Veteran 2. Ryoo Seung-wan’s Warship is currently in pre-production and The Berlin File sequel is also in the polishing mode.
Once again, congrats on the super huge success, Veteran team and Yoo Ah In! More power! 😀
Source: hancinema, naver, CJEMM, joongang daily, instagram