When Yu Ha's sharp and poignant gangster film A Dirty Carnival was released, cinema-goers did a double-take when they saw the lead actor: previously, most people associated Zo In-sung's tall good looks with the image of a fresh college student or rich playboy.
But in A Dirty Carnival, he played an ambitious lowlife thug, struggling to make good.
'A Dirty Carnival was a turning point for me,' the actor says. 'I learned a lot on the film and I can tell it's going to strengthen my acting in the future.
'The director really knew how to bring out the best in me when I was lacking, which is why I decided to be in his next film, too.'
The as-yet-untitled film is due to start production in early 2008. Set in the Goryo dynasty, it's to be a period melodrama with homosexual overtones.
'I'm going to keep making efforts to work with talented people on strong projects in the future,' he says.
'Right now, I'm just making my way in the world. I'm just going to keep going, looking forward.'
Zo began in modelling but soon moved on to television where he picked up multiple awards for his performances. Drama series such as Whatever Happened In Bali gained him a fanbase in the Asia Pacific region, and he starred in melodramas such as The Classic with Son Ye-jin.
Perhaps his stint with Hong Kong director Fruit Chan in the Venice entry Public Toilet was a precursor of the grittier side Zo would later show in A Dirty Carnival.
'The attraction acting has for me has to do with the fact you can go through a range of different emotions, and there's a great sense of achievement once a project is completed. It's a pleasure, too, to share it with audiences,' he says.
'It's a wonderful thing to be able to share cultures. You can feel things together even without speaking the same language. I hope Star Summit Asia affords an opportunity for everyone, including myself, to get to know a lot more different people and films.'
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A Dirty Carnival (2006)
Dir: Yu Ha
The Classic (2003)
Dir: Kwak Jae-yong
Public Toilet (2002)
Dir: Fruit Chan
Dir: Park K. C.
An untitled film to be directed by Yu Ha