‘Walking Street‘ which premiered worldwide at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) two weeks back, marks director Lee Sang Woo‘s yet another emotional ride that explore familial bonds while crossing paths with love at its raw form, set in the backdrop of the psychedelic paradise of Thailand. The cast consisting of Baek Sung Hyun, Lee Si Kang and Lee Song Lee, alongside the director, sat down with us for a group interview as they shared their filming experience in the heat of Pattaya and rated their sizzling chemistry.
When younger brother Tae Gi (Lee Si Kang) commits a crime, he escapes to Pattaya with his mute elder brother, Tae Sung (Baek Sung Hyun). Along their cruise down the lane, the brothers eventually meet with Korean prostitue Jee Na (Lee Song Lee), stuck in an endless loop of forced business transactions by her very own mother. A love triangle forms as the brothers fell in love with her, entangling them in a fragile web of emotions and relationships.
Having filmed this in a foreign land, it seemed like the cast enjoyed a fun time and made good memories. Actor Lee Si Kang even showed some simple Thai greetings, though he reflected sadly that they haven’t had much chance to tour the area amid their tight schedules. Baek Sung Hyun recalls having Morning Glory (a stir-fried vegetable dish) every other day, even mentioning that Thai dishes fit with his appetite.
In terms of difficulties, he also shared that the filming set is very different from Korea, and with locals; meanwhile, actress Lee Song Lee mentioned that it was fun filming, but she didn’t manage to sleep well, so she was worried how she would look on screen. To summarize the movie in a short phrase, the trio reflected that it is a movie on “love and desire”, that “all in love is fair” and finally, “love is beautiful, beautiful love”. Director Lee Sang Woo also shared that he wanted to focus on making a beautiful film, an old-style love story with Walking Street, and was glad that it managed to pass the local censorship board without problems this year.
When asked to rate each other’s chemistry, all stated ten out of ten, except for the actress, who gave a score of a nine, as she hoped that the reservation would allow them to forge stronger bonds should the chance arise to work together again in future projects. Nonetheless, amid the constant laughter and friendly jabbing at each other, the cheerful atmosphere at the interview showed the close harmony between the cast members and the director without the need for more words.
On what inspired the film, Lee Sang Woo opened up that he was inspired by the scenery and textures, the stories of Koreans visiting Pattaya’s very own Walking Street and the people living there themselves.
In regard to the suggestive stills released from the movie, the two actors state that their fans actually liked it, saying that they grew up well and looked cool. Baek Sung Hyun also shared a funny incident after the stills’ releases, where his fans were a little shy to establish eye-contact after seeing them. To that, the actor had jokingly asked, “Why can’t you look at me in the eye?!”. On the other hand, Lee Song Lee was worried about her father’s reaction. Thankfully, he was nothing short of supportive to his daughter’s career, and even shared sweet words like “not to worry” and “she is beautiful”.
As the movie talks about the brother’s escape to Pattaya, where would the cast escape to if they’re on a search for their heavens? Baek Sung Hyun wittily states our very own Universal Studios Singapore, where he’s been to once and thought it was a really fun place to run to. Lee Si Kang added that he wanted to go to Clarke Quay, or Marina Bay Sands’ Infinity Pool, which he says is beautiful. As Clarke Quay is not lacking in a thriving nightlife, Baek Sung Hyun teased that Lee Si Kang is actually a clubber despite the latter’s immediate rebuttal of ‘No, no, no! No alcohol!’, and even the director chimed in to say that he’s there to see pretty girls. Lee Song Lee have a very interesting world however, hoping to escape to a paradise with rainbows and unicorns, showing her innocent and optimistic side, before adding that she too, love Singapore.
Both the actress and director seemed to be smitten with Singapore and our people, commenting on how nice and welcoming Singaporeans are. Lee Sang Woo especially, elaborated that Singaporeans are very welcoming to him even at the last SGIFF, so much so that he liked it much better here than film festivals in other places. He also shared that he has thoughts filming on our sunny isles one day – who knows, maybe you would just spot him down one of our busy streets some day!
We also caught the cast and Director Lee Sang Woo gracing the red carpet for the 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) and they no doubt caught the eye of many that evening.
A big thank you to the 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) team for extending the interview opportunity.