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Ryu Seung Ryong and Lee Hanee on why they accepted their roles in Korean action-comedy, 'Extreme Job'

By Flora  /  11 Mar 2019 (Monday)
From frying chicken to working with the narcotics team, stars Ryu Seung Ryong and Lee Hanee of Korean action comedy, Extreme Job, talk about their characters, working with director Lee Byeong Heon, as well as their favourite moments on set.

The film had a massive box office success in Korea when it premiered in January and became has set a new record for a second-most-watched film in Korea of all time, behind The Admiral: Roaring Currents.

Photo Credit: Encore Films

Extreme Job tells the story about a narcotics team that become the ugly duckling of the police department and potentially face dismantlement. Captain KO (Ryu) gets intel about an international drug deal and embarks on a risky undercover mission with his entire team. In order to establish around-the-clock and up-close-and-personal surveillance, the team takes over a rundown chicken joint across the street from the drug gang’s safe house. But things take an unexpected turn when Detective MA’s yet unrevealed culinary talents begin to shine, turning the chicken restaurant famous overnight. Should we chase chickens or criminals?

Ryu Seung Ryong (Miracle in Cell No. 7) plays team leader Go, a ‘Captain KO’ of the narcotics squad who takes on every case as if his life depended on it, but his arrest record is dismal. At work, he is always told off by his boss, and at home by his wife. When his narcotics squad faces the possibility of being dissolved, he uses his savings to set up a fried chicken joint as the face for an undercover sting. 

Actress Lee Hanee (Fabricated City) plays detective Sang ‘Detective JANG’ is a woman of action, with a sharp tongue to match her fists. She is the problem solver of the narcotics squad, and she cares for her team more than anyone else. But even for her, waiting on the tables and dealing with the endless stream of customers is a difficult, even fearsome task. 

Transcriptions courtesy of Encore Films

Q: How would you describe the movie, “Extreme Job”?

Ryu Seung Ryong (RSR): “Extreme Job” is a movie about a team of detectives on the brink of disbandment, who tried to bust a drug gang by taking over a fried chicken joint to work undercover there. The joint was then introduced to the public as highly recommended which caused things to go out of hand as the joint became extremely popular among the crowd.

Lee Hanee (LHN): The movie is about a noisy narcotics team on the brink of disbandment who went undercover operating a fried chicken joint which ended up doing really well in business. The story in the movie uncovers from there. 

Q: What was your reason for choosing to be a part of the cast of “Extreme Job”?

RSR: Not only was the story theme a very interesting and unique one, but I have also heard that director Lee Byeong Heon has a great sense of humour and the way he sets his lines is one of a kind, and that he was the mastermind behind this film. Besides that, the composition of this film was really interesting and I had really wanted to challenge taking on the role of team leader Go. Lastly, I have always wanted to take on another comedic film ever since “Miracle in Cell No. 7”.

LHN: Honestly I don’t think there were many instances in my life that has allowed me to laugh really hard at. However, when I was looking through the script, most of the scenes really gave me a good laugh. The story also talks about family and other touching aspects of our lives that made me want to share all of that with everyone through this movie since I thought that it was a really interesting one. That was what made my decision to be part of the cast.

Photo Credit: Encore Films

Q: How would you describe your character, detective Jang?

LHN: To be frank, Detective Jang is a female detective who isn’t really anywhere near feminine. Rather than the issue over gender, it was more about the comradery between the five detectives. Detective Jang didn’t specially try to be any tougher just because she is a female or a female detective. The importance was simply placed on the harmony between the five of them. Although she is a generous person, she is someone who is cold on the outside but warm on the inside, taking good care of her fellow colleagues. This is the most apparent in her treatment towards Detective Ma.

Q: It turns out that everyone in the narcotics team in the movie is extremely capable. What was the capability of Detective Jang?

LHN: Her capability is none other than Muay Thai. Actually, just like “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman”, all of the detectives have got something they are really capable of. For my character, it is Muay Thai. Detective Jang has the ability to suppress the opponent with strong force and is someone who shouldn’t be messed with. Her other strength is that she knows no fear. She is similar to that of a heroine; one who is fearless in the face of a fearful situation in front of fearful opponents. 

Q: How was the teamwork within the narcotics team?

RSR: Well… Is it possible to have this much fun and joy from start to finish while also having such good colleagues while working on such a good production? As we came towards the end of filming, I felt like ending it was such a pity and that was the extent of how fun it really was. We were as tightknit as a family and I hope we all will continue to stay that way till the film gets officially released. 

LHN: When you work undercover as a team, you basically do everything together, spending even more time than you do with your family and friends and maybe that is why we have a lot of understanding for each other. The actors were whom I have previously worked with before and therefore the comradery between us became more family-like. I was fascinated. All characters in the movie had big things to do but in this movie, they were 'one for all and all for one', just like the Three Musketeers. This time, I got to understand what it means to have a “community spirit”.

Q: Was there anything in regards to your character which you paid special attention to?

RSR: Team Leader is an honest yes a little old-fashioned. However in the forefront of investigations, he will never forget his role as a veteran and is always firm and righteous. He is a team leader that never changes. He has both the age and the experience, and always places importance in family love and teamwork. 

Although everything about the film is comedic, I had to do my best to hold my laughter while filming. I also kept in mind that it would be more fun if I were to keep things natural like how it would be in real life.

Photo Credit: Encore Films

Q: How was it like to work with director Lee Byeong Heon? Was there anything special about his method of directing? 

RSR: His script is a very palatable one and I found myself giggling while reading through the script, which has never happened to me prior to accepting this role. I have always thought that director Lee Byeong Heon is a fun figure. Howeve,r when I got to meet him, he was more introverted and shy towards people. Whenever there was a problem with our performance or if it was different from what he thinks it should be, he would always give accurate and brilliant directions which really helped a lot. Besides that, he was mostly trying to get us going with our own style of speech, rhythm, language and so on. 

LHN: The director himself is cold on the outside but warm on the inside. As he is a person who doesn’t beat around the bush, we were able to quickly understand what he is looking for and therefore no unnecessary emotional attrition was needed. In order to effectively get the job done well, I have put a lot of effort into listening to every word and instruction from the director in detail and it was really fun. Many people say that Lee Byeong Heon is the biggest director of the next generation. His works are really catchy and modern, always being completely different from the other directors around. It feels like I can learn a lot from it as an actress and the experience was an eye-opening yet fresh one. 

Q: Director Lee Byeong Heon’s movies are famous for their interesting lines. Out of all your lines, which line left the deepest impression on you? 

RSR: “There has never been a taste quite like this. Is this chicken galbi(ribs) or spring chicken?” was a really interesting line. Lines like “I have always been turtleneck!” are short yet interesting. 
As for lines like “be quiet, be quiet”, there was nothing much to them but since I had to say them repeatedly, it just felt like it means something to me and there are many other minor ones like this. 

LHN: Whenever I call out for Detective Ma, I would say the line “you dog-like family member” a lot. It means he is part of the family but there are other connotations behind it. It might sound vulgar to others but it is a form of affection and more. Since Detective Jang is second in the line of hierarchy within the team, her presence is like that of a mother taking care of the others. For that reason, she uses that line when calling out to Detective Ma. 

Extreme Job also stars Jin Sun-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi and Gong-myoung, and is now showing in theatres. 
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