Lee Byung Hun Talks About

In a recent interview with Sports Chosun, Lee Byung Hun spoke about his role in the upcoming film “Emergency Declaration”!

Directed by Han Jae Rim, upcoming disaster film “Emergency Declaration” follows the unprecedented calamities that arise when terrorist threats are made against an impending flight. The film stars Song Kang HoJeon Do Yeon, Lee Byung Hun, Kim Nam GilIm Siwan, Kim So Jin, and Park Hae Joon.

In the film, Lee Byung Hun plays Jae Hyuk, a father who overcomes his phobia of planes to get eczema treatment for his daughter Su Min (Kim Bo Min). Although he’s fearful and anxious in the face of calamities, he also has a noble spirit and is willing to makes sacrifices for his family and for others.

“Emergency Declaration” was originally set to premiere at the 74th Cannes Film Festival last year before releasing in theaters in January 2022. However, the premiere was postponed due to COVID-19 and the film is finally hitting theaters this summer.

Regarding this delay, Lee Byung Hun shared, “It was a situation where the film was all completed but we had no choice but to postpone [the premiere]. It wasn’t just us as it was the same for other films.”

He elaborated on this being a blessing in disguise, sharing, “Although this wasn’t intentional, as we passed through the pandemic, I figured that this was a story people living in today’s generation could more easily immerse into while watching. That’s why I think the response was better from those who watched the movie.”

The actor expressed pride in his action scenes, commenting, “As the film begins, tension is induced. After that, more and more tension is added as the film progresses. Even when I was reading the script, there was constant tension and panic. As if I was riding a roller coaster, I read [the script] enjoyably in one go and I think those aspects are captured well in the film.”

Lee Byung Hun continued, “Originally, ‘Emergency Declaration’ was going to be created with an expert gimbal team from the United States. They needed to bring big equipment to Korea so it took time. Eventually, the pandemic began so everything got postponed and we got the news that the staff members in charge of the equipment wouldn’t be able to come. That’s how our team ended up personally setting up the gimbal.”

“Emergency Declaration” is Lee Byung Hun’s third role as a father, following the films “Single Rider” and “Ashfall.” Additionally, the actress who plays Lee Byung Hun’s daughter in “Ashfall” is the sister of the actress who plays his daughter in “Emergency Declaration.”

Lee Byung Hun remarked, “I’ve come to portray the father of both daughters. They’re both really great actresses. As a father of a son [in real life], there’s a certainty that real-life experience gives you. However, I observed those around me to see the differences between fathers with sons and fathers with daughters.”

Lee Byung Hun also spoke about his personal experience with panic disorder which ultimately helped influence his role in “Emergency Declaration.” He shared, “It was in the past when I was around 25 or 26 years old. The first time I experienced panic disorder was when I got on the plane to go to the United States after I finished [filming] the 1997 SBS drama ‘Beautiful My Lady.’ My memory from then is so vivid. I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die here.’ That memory was so shocking.”

He added, “They even made a broadcast announcement asking the entire plane if there were any doctors on board. I thankfully arrived okay in the United States but at the time when the plane took off, I thought we’d be able to land mid-flight in a different country. But they said they weren’t able to stop. I couldn’t breathe and I had such a hard time. I can talk about it now while smiling but back then, it was a really difficult memory.”

With regards to this experience and his role in “Emergency Declaration,” Lee Byung Hun continued, “Due to my experience with panic disorder in real life, rather than relate to this character, I thought I’d be able to better express aspects of panic. Throughout the process of portraying the character of Jae Hyuk, I spoke a lot with director Han Jae Rim about what kind of panic he feels, what symptoms he feels, and how his breathing is.”

He explained, “Simply being on the plane is terrifying [for Jae Hyuk] and he needs medicine, but as the plane situation becomes more extreme, he develops recurring panic symptoms. Aspects of panic disorder are shown little by little, but as someone who knows about this, I wanted to express it in a more realistic manner.”

After sharing his admiration for his co-stars, Lee Byung Hun elaborated on Im Siwan, who makes a bold transformation into a villain in “Emergency Declaration” as the mysterious passenger Jin Seok. He commented, “Since Im Siwan acted with the expressions and gazes that fit his role, I think that brought out better chemistry in my own acting too.”

He continued, “Unlike his image in the film, in real life, Im Siwan is an incredibly cute junior. He’s so cute, random, and has a lot of questions. We occasionally meet up to eat, have drinks, and chat but he asks questions that I need to think about and cannot easily answer.”

“Emergency Declaration” hits theaters across Korea on August 3. Check out a trailer here!

In the meantime, watch Lee Byung Hun in “Memories of the Sword” below!

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