On location with KONG Hyo-jin and HA Jung-woo as they shoot a wild “real variety film”
HA Jung-woo and KONG Hyo-jin went on a walking trip across the whole of Korea, from Seoul to Haenam. It’s a distance of 577 kilometers and the entire trip was filmed as a ‘real variety movie’. This is enough to tweak many people’s curiosity. The journey lasted from the 15th of November until the 4th of December, for twenty days, covering Seoul, Asan, Gongju, Nonsan, Imshil, Damyang, Gwangju, Youngam and Haenam. This is the on-location report of the tough journey.
“If I get the award, I’ll take the trophy on a walking trip across the whole of Korea!” This was what HA said at The 47th Baeksang Arts Awards Ceremony on 26th May, 2011. He was speaking as someone giving out an award and also one of the candidates for the Best Actor Award. HA Ji-Won, who was standing next to him on the stage had asked him, “If you win the award again this time, what about making a public promise to the people of Korea?” At these words, HA had made the promise to go on the trip and the words he uttered in public at the awards ceremony came back to haunt him, compelling him to carry out the promise. This is how HA embarked on this unique, rather unusual project.
He then looked for a partner who would help him keep his public promise. He knew it had to be someone who could help him out on the journey. He put out the bait to KONG Hyo-jin, who had worked with him on Love Fiction, and she bit. HA Jung-woo was in charge of three aspects of the production including planning, acting and casting. KONG Hyo-jin joined HA Jung-woo on a journey along with 16 other actors. They walked 577 kilometers together, showing their unadorned selves. It will be the first time for many to see Korea’s stars displayed ‘raw’ this way. KONG Hyo-jin is seen with no make-up and we see HA Jung-woo who is lying on the road, having taken off his socks. They appear in this film in a frank, natural state and the whole journey is seen in its 100% raw state.
What’s behind the title ‘577’?
The story behind the title of this project, ‘577’ is an interesting story. First, HA himself gave the project its title for the following reasons. First, the name of a fusion bar that he likes to frequent is ‘Shinsa-dong 577’. Secondly, the distance the actors walked on the journey was exactly 577 kilometers. And finally, the address at which HA lived as an unknown, struggling actor was 577. Due to these incredible coincidences, the title of the project had to be ‘577’. HA says the reason why he picked 16 other actors was to give himself “an opportunity to learn from his junior actors. I thought this would be a rare chance to learn from them and also give them advice as we walked together.” The 577 Project is set to be released on August 30th.
On the road to reality
What the actors did on the road!
1. On the 4th shoot | Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province
It’s a shot taken after they left the Millennium Nature School, heading towards Pyeongtaek Station. It’s morning and the road doesn’t seem to end. The actors look totally unadorned. After having done the third shoot the previous day, they’d walked 35 kilometers that day. Despite having consumed a huge hamburger in Pyeongtaek, KONG realizes that it was a mistake to join HA on the journey. What she says about having lost her mind is a fair indication of her feelings then. Due to the tough stretch of walking that day, there were even late-risers the following morning.
2. On the 15th Shoot | The Metasequoia Road, Damyang
They have left the inn in Damyang and are on their way to the Red Cross Training Center in Gwangju. They’re on the famous Metasequoia Road in Damyang. There is another way to get to the same destination which is the Old Road next to the New Road. The Metasequoia Road is a long road and everyone looks worn out despite it only being early morning. The most tired team member is HAN Seong-cheon, who everyone expects to drop out. The others decide to film him in secret and a complicated web of intrigue involving a secret film is set. HA is the only one who knows everything about the scheme and he’s walking confidently ahead of everyone.
3. On the 17th Shoot | Wolchul Mountain, Youngam
This still cut was also used for the teaser poster and it was taken at the Samyang Temple in Naju, South Jeolla Province. The team is on their way to the inn on Wolchul Mountain in Youngam. The name of the road is ‘Beautiful Road’ and it’s morning. There are hardly any cars on the road and everyone is taking a well-deserved rest. It rained lightly for a while and poured down from the afternoon. KONG and everyone started taking photos of the beautiful Wolchul Mountain and HA couldn’t stop exclaiming how magnificent it looked. HA, in a happy mood, visits the local village hall and did a wonderful impersonation of the local village chief, making everyone laugh. As they get nearer to the 20th day of shooting, the team took a group photo against the backdrop of the mountain. They all agreed that it was the most beautiful spot on the whole journey.
4. On the 20th Shoot | Haenam, South Jeolla Province
They’re on Samnam Road in Haenam, South Jeolla Province. Construction work is in progress to make roads that can enable people to walk all the way to Haenam, letting them avoid big roads for cars, and the team is walking on the unfinished road. Tomorrow is the last day of filming and everyone seems happy but they also fall into deep thoughts.
5. On the 20th Shoot | Songho Beach, Haenam
The team is entering the beach in Haenam, the southernmost area on the Korean Peninsula. The beach was chosen as the place of reunion for the actors and their families. This beach is about a five minute drive from the main part of Haenam. HA, ectatic that he’s finally made it, jumps into the cold, wintery sea with some other team members. You can also check out the moving scenes of the actors meeting their families in the film.