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Cheol-Min (So Ji-Sub), a man with a dark, mysterious past, picks up a part-time night job as a parking lot attendant. He sits in the tiny pay booth in the parking lot and stares at the small television. A woman named Jung-Hwa (Han Hyo-Joo) walks into the booth. She offers something to Cheol-Min and sits next to him. Cheol-Min realizes the woman is blind and she is confusing him for the parking attendant who worked their previously.
Nevertheless, the woman comes back on another night to watch the same television drama series. She constantly asks Cheol-Min questions on what is happening on the television screen. Cheol-Min starts becoming attached to the woman. Their past is tied by a life altering incident.
One day, Cheol-Min accompanies Jung-Hwa to a musical. Afterwards they have dinner together. Jung-Hwa asks about Cheol-Min's past. Cheol-Min ruthlessly berates Jung-Hwa for asking about his past. Their relationship becomes frozen.
Several days later when Jung-Hwa's boss follows her home and tries to sexually assault her. Cheol-Min busts through the door. He beats Jung-Hwa's boss savagely and attempts to comfort Jung-Hwa. They move in together and start to live as a couple. But can their happiness last?
- Filming took place March 31-June 30, 2011.
- So Ji-Sub took boxing lessons to prepare for his role in "Always".
Additional Cast Members:
Press Conference (Busan International Film Festival)
Press conference took place after a press screening of "Always" at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 6, 2011. Appearing as speakers are the movie's director Song Il-Gon, lead actress Han Hyo-Joo and lead actor So Ji-Sub . AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Song Il-Gon (director) - I feel nervous because this movie is being shown for the first time and I'm curious how people will react. Me, So Ji-Sub, Han Hyo-Joo and all the staff members tried to make this movie with all of our hearts. I'm honored to show this movie here.
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - Hello, I'm Han Hyo-Joo who played Jung-Hwa in the movie. I'm also nervous since this movie is being shown for the first time. We made this movie with all of our hearts, so hopefully the public will like the movie.
- So Ji-Sub (actor) - Hello, I'm So Ji-Sub who played Cheol-Min in the movie. I just watched the movie for the first time, so I'm still trying to get over the emotions. I'm curious what people will think about after the movie. I think our movie is a classic, heart-breaking movie, but also a very warm movie. Thank you.
- Press Question - To the director, this movie seems different from your previous movies. When you made this movie what things did you focus on?
- Song Il-Gon (director) - It took one week to write down the original script, but after that, I wanted to make the movie a love story with a city backdrop. The idea for the film started from Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights." Charlie Chaplin loves a blind woman and would do anything for her. The idea started from that. It's one of my favorite movies. The background of the movie is 2010 in Seoul. A man loves a woman and sacrifice himself for her. A woman waits for him sincerely and loves him deeply. The movie is very classic and a simple story which has been made in various forms for a long time, so I cared most about the characters. How the main characters Ha Jung-Hwa and Jang Cheol-Min move the audience. This movie relies on these 2 characters a lot. They (at least one of them) appear in every scene in the movie. Their emotions are the basis for the movie - past, present and future. The most important thing was to contain the most sincere emotions in every scene.
- Press Question - This movie is the opening film for the Busan International Film Festival and the first movie shown at the newly opened Busan Cinema Center. How do you feel about that?
- Song Il-Gon (director) - Our team came here yesterday and we were surprised. I think the Busan Cinema Center is an important place - a new symbol for Korean cinema history. I am honored "Always" is the first film shown here.
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - I'm honored and excited to show the movie here to the large group of press members gathered here. On the other hand, I do feel more nervous and responsible.
- So Ji-Sub (actor) - I'm also honored, but at the same time feel even more burdened because of that. I'll try to enjoy the moment.
- Press Question - I'm thankful I watched a romance film that I could shed tears with and at a time when there's not a lot of romance in films. Is the ending supposed to be a happy ending? While shooting, how did So Ji-Sub and Han Hyo-Joo empathize with their characters?
- Song Il-Gon (director) - From the beginning, the movie was set for a happy ending. Like So Ji-Sub mentioned, I want to make a film which makes people feel warm. I thought the most important part was to make it fit as a contemporary film and have the proper emotions for the present day. From the ending scene I built the screenplay.
- So Ji-Sub (actor) - Before playing Jang Cheol-Min I talked to director Song Il-Gon. How to play a person in love with a blind woman. After some thought I came to conclusion that love doesn't have any particular reasons. I did find it difficult to maintain the emotions for Jang Cheol-Min.
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - It was difficult for me to express. Jung-Hwa went through a difficult past. Under this situation, it's more difficult to be cheerful than in tears. Keep the cheerfulness while being blind ... all these things. It was hard to portray. On the shooting set, Song Il-Gon and So Ji-Sub led and helped me a lot a lot so I thank them.
- Press Question - To director Song Il-Gon, compared to your previous movies is there anything you found more difficult to make in "Always?"
- Song Il-Gon (director) - I think I'm still a young director. I debuted early, about 10 years ago. I think I made movies I dreamed about - without restrictions. I think "Always" continues that. I think the movie's style might be different from my past work. Though, I don't think style is particularly important. More important is Cheol-Min and Jung-Hwa's relationship & how their simple love story can reverberate with the audience. I think style can differ according to content.
- Press Question - 1.) For Han Hyo-Joo. What was the most difficult thing you did for the melodramatic parts and performing as a blind woman? Also, what were some major differences between your past bright & cheerful characters from TV dramas and this movie? 2.) For So Ji-Sub. This is the first time you performed in a melodrama. What do you want to show most from your acting? Movie also contains action scenes and you getting beat-up. Was that difficult?
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - Acting as a blind person was more difficult than I imagined. It was very difficult to portray someone unable to see when I can see. Small mistakes and people wouldn't find my performance believable. I worried about that. As time passed I became more comfortable in my role. I felt happy. Compared to my previous roles, Jung-Hwa is more of a woman. She is in love. In my prior TV drama roles they were also in love, but that love included the family. This movie deals with a love relationship with one person from beginning to end.
- So Ji-Sub (actor) - I think acting for action films and melodramas is the same, but I realized how difficult it is to perform in a melodrama movie. For TV dramas, you maintain certain emotions for a short period, but for this movie the emotions stayed for the entire film. Doing action scenes became harder for me. One month prior to filming the movie, I practiced for the action scenes and, in the process, injured ligaments in both of my wrists. But I'm fine now.
- Press Question - You (Song Il-Gon) mentioned you were inspired by the movie "City Lights" by Charlie Chaplin. Compare your film to "City Lights" and how satisfied are you with the results. Also what are some differences between the two films?
- Song Il-Gon (director) - "Always" is different from "City Lights." "City Lights" is a movie I admire. I wanted to make a love story between a man and a woman. Charlie Chaplin is one of the directors that I respect the most, so it's impossible to compare to his movie "City Lights." I'm not sure how satisfied I am with "Always." I want to hear what people think about the movie. There are some parts that as a director I'm not satisfied with. Time, editing and ... but I can say So Ji-Sub, Han Hyo-Joo and the staff did their best. The movie's storyline is simple, but the emotional line is very important.
- So Ji-Sub (actor) - I like the scene where I am working out. As an actor, I have never been satisfied with my acting.
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - As an actress, it is difficult to be satisfied with my own acting. I like the kissing scene the most. I felt the kiss scene come out so beautifully.
- Press Question - In the movie, there are some sex scenes. Did you have to prepare for the sex scene beforehand and were there NG (not good) shots for that scene?
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - That's quite a provocative question. There wasn't any preparation. The director focused on the emotional feelings between two people. Shooting schedule took place according to the story's timeline. Before the bed scene we had a kiss scene. I didn't have any awkward feelings or difficulties. And no NG.
- Press Question - Tell us what were good things about working with each other.
- So Ji-Sub (actor) - Before the movie, I had an impression from TV that Han Hyo-Joo had a bright and cute character. On the shooting set, I saw her acting for the first time. She is quite cautious and had deep thoughts about acting, especially when compared to her age. I got along well with her.
- Han Hyo-Joo (actress) - I'm honored to have worked with So Ji-Sub. On the shooting set he led me and took good care of me. Even though he was in a difficult position, he didn't show it. I hope to pick up that trait.
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