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Director Kang Hyo Jin Dishes On The On-Screen Chemistry Of Uhm Jung Hwa And Song Seung Heon In 'Wonderful Nightmare' [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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(Photo : Megabox Plus M ) "Wonderful Nightmare" captures the struggles of professional women, as they attempt to balance their careers with homemaking. Uhm Jung Hwa is Yeon Woo, a successful attorney, who mistakenly dies due to a clerical error in heaven. In an effort to fix the mistake, she is given an opportunity to live as a housewife, for one month. Song Seung Heon portrays her newfound husband, whom she struggles to connect with, as a lifelong bachelorette. KDramaStars sat down with director Kang Hyo Jin to discuss the on-screen chemistry of the popular Hallyu stars and his affinity for creating movies with strong female protagonists, during the New York Korean Film Festival.

Director Kang Hyo Jin discusses his film, (Photo : ) KDramaStars: The film incorporates a strong cast of comedic stars with brilliant child actors. What was the casting process for Wonderful Nightmare?

Kang Hyo Jin: With the casting process, Uhm Jung Hwa was the first actor to come on board, for a role. When we first made the offer she declined it. I went for a rewrite after she saw the rewritten screenplay, she accepted the role. As for the child actors, we went through an audition process to find the right cast members. Even then, we continued to struggle with finding the right actor to portray the factor. I approached Song Seung Heon and he accepted the role, which surprised me, at first.

KDramaStars: How did Uhm Jung Hwa and Song Seung Heon create their on-screen rapport? What was it like to work with two stars who are extremely well known within their own right- Uhm as a pop vocalist and actress, Song as Hallyu star for his K-Drama roles?

Kang Hyo Jin: Not just the rapport between them, but because we had child actors with them, I think that also helped build a natural rapport. Midway through filming the romantic scenes, because there was physical contact, that also helped them embody their characters, in a more natural way.

Theres an anecdote about the on-set filming. There was a kissing scene that was going to be a no-cut scene in the film. In the beginning of filming, Uhm Jung Hwa and Song Seung Heon were both concerned that they would not be able to film the scene because they were so awkward. In the end, they were very natural about [romantic scenes] and it wasnt awkward, at all.

Song Seung Heon and Uhm Jung Hwa had no mutual friends. It was their first time meeting and their first project, together. Its kind of weird, because both of their careers span a period of 20 years, but in that time, they had never met each other, through work. They were both really surprised about that.

KDramaStars: Your previous works like Punch Lady and Twilight Gangsters feature strong female protagonists, which is rare within Korean cinema. Do you feel that you are drawn to stories about powerful women? If so, why?

Kang Hyo Jin: I would say that youre right, in that Im interested in strong female characters, especially those who grow stronger through experience, whether it is through struggles or hardships. I know that there is the notion that women need to be protected, but I really like stories that talk about how women develop and grow, through these experiences. But the main reason why Im interested in these types of characters is due to my mother. She was a very strong woman, but at the same time, she was a very warm-hearted person. She passed away, but at the same time, she has been the main influence, in myself, to be drawn to these characters.

I also feel the reason I became a filmmaker is because of my mother. She was an absolute movie buff or cinephile. She was a huge fan of classic Hollywood films with stars like Caroll Baker. Even growing up, I would have these films around me, all the time. I owe my desire to become a filmmaker, to my mother.

KDramaStars: The Korea Times compared Wonderful Nightmare to Miracle in Cell No. 7, in that the film begins as a comedy, but ends on a sad, emotional note. What are your thoughts on the progression of the film and why is there a juxtaposition between the emotionality?

Kang Hyo Jin: I didnt write the original screenplay. I received it and then rewrote parts of it. The main reason I was drawn to the original screenplay was because there was a limited amount of time Jung Uhm Hwas character would spend with this family. I felt like that point would be a good factor in drawing a type of natural, heartfelt warmth, to add a touching element to the story. I guess it is a little similar to Miracle in Cell No. 7, in the structure.

KDramaStars: The film also offers a critique on gender dynamics and the accomplishments of empowered women through Yeon Woo, a character who is forced to endure the trials and tribulations of homemaking, when she was previously accustomed to her independent lifestyle as a lawyer. What was the feedback from the cast members and domestic audiences?

Kang Hyo Jin: Im not sure if youre aware of this, but I was one of the original creators of the film, My Wife is a Gangster. I feel that people unintentionally view me as a director of films that are female driven or female oriented. But it is very hard to gain investors with women in the leading role. When I was working on this project with Jung Uhm Hwa, we talked a lot about making the film into a good project, because the fate of Korean cinema and whether women would have lead roles, depends on how movies like this perform. If it flops or did not do well, to gain more support for women in film. We focused on making this into a good film.

In terms of audience feedback, we invited female journalists and female audiences to view the first screening of the film. At the time, there was some criticism from women that the message of the film was that they needed to get married in order to be happy. As we did a wider release throughout Korea, I think the views of audiences changed. They accepted the film as having a message of unconditional love through family bonds, rather than a commentary that women were meant to fill a specific role.

KDramaStars: What are your thoughts about the inclusion of Wonderful Nightmare in the New York Korean Film Festival? Can you share details about your next project?

Kang Hyo Jin:Its an honor to be invited to the New York Korean Film Festival. Its actually the first international film festival to invite my film, Wonderful Nightmare. Its also my first time in New York, so Im so excited to see my film screen in such a wonderful theater and museum. My next project is likely to be a thriller/action film with another leading female character. Its a pretty edgy and dangerous film. Im in the process of writing and also talking to the investors about the project.

Song Seung Heon Wants To Be A Father, Soon

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Song Seung Heon wants to be a father, soon. (Photo : ) Song Seung Heon would like to become a father, as soon as possible. The 39-year-old Hallyu star expressed he desire to tackle parenthood during an October 31 fan meeting that was held in the Taiwanese city of Taipei.

According to an article published by My Daily, he clearly stated his intent to get married and become a father, during the event. My Daily referenced a report that initially ran on the Chinese-language outlet, Sina Entertainment, for the story.

"I want to be a very good father, soon," said Song.

While he did not make a wedding announcement or official state any future plans, his statement resounded with the Taiwanese audience.

Song is currently dating 28-year-old mainland Chinese actress Liu Yifei. The popular stars met on the set of the film, "The Third Way of Love." Their romance bloomed from their on-screen interactions, leading them to become one of the most talked about couples of 2015, in Korean entertainment.

He went on to express his gratitude for his fans in Taiwan."It"s been a long time meeting friends in Taiwan," said Song.

Song debuted as a denim model in 1995, before experiencing meteoric fame with the 2000 melodrama, "Autumn of My Heart." The series, which is often credited for sparking the Korean Wave, also starred Song Hye Kyo, Moon Geun Young, and Won Bin.

His other notable credits include the 2008 MBC series, "East of Eden," "My Princess" and "When a Man Falls in Love."

Whether wedding bells are in the future for the Korean actor and his Chinese girlfriend has yet to be announced, but his determination to embrace fatherhood could be another a catalyst for their nuptials.

Adrienne Stanley is a contributing editor at KDramaStars. She is also a contributing music writer at KpopStarz, MTV Iggy and other publications. When she is not listening to "Rhythm Ta," she can be found on Twitter. (@retrogirladdy).

Song Seung-heon in filming 'Saimdang, the Herstory'

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Song Seung-heon in filming 'Saimdang, the Herstory'

Song Seung-heon posted a photo of himself without any caption on his non-public Instagram in addition on Weibo on October 23rd.

In the published photo, Song Seung-heon dressed in classic gown is riding a horse. it roughly feels he's taking section in the ambient fall scenery at the back of a horse.

The symbol is a still cut from his new drama, "Saimdang, the Herstory", which may be broadcast on SBS in 2016.

The highly expected SBS drama, "Saimdang, the Herstory" could also be actress Lee Young-ae"s comeback drama in 10 years.

Meanwhile, Song Seung-heon is in courting with Chinese goddess actress Liu Yifei.

Song Seung-heon and Liu Yifei, 'I get grasping on account of you'

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Song Seung-heon and Liu Yifei, 'I get grasping on account of you'

Song Seung-heon and Liu Yifei co-starred in a Chinese television display at the 12th closing month.

Song Seung-heon looked at Liu Yifei and said, "I am no longer a egocentric man, yet i am getting grasping when I see you".

The studio used to be stuffed with love in the air.

Song Seung-heon also presented plant life to his female friend and she become shy about it.

Meanwhile, Liu Yifei posted on her Chinese SNS, "I have so much to say, but for now, here are two hearts".

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Song Seung-heon, guy of spring

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Song Seung-heon, guy of spring

Actor Song Seung-heon became once splashed at the canopy of a noted Chinese existence magazine.

Lohas chose Song Seung-heon as its duvet fashion for September.

On the cover, Song Seung-heon is protecting a baguette and is dressed in a military blouse and a petite shawl to match. He looks dandy and warm.

Meanwhile, Song Seung-heon is in a dating with Chinese actress Crystal Liu and is having a look ahead to the unlock of his first Chinese film with her, "The 3rd Love". He"s also coming back to Korea with a drama called, "Saimdang, the Herstory".

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Song Seung-heon, 'I would like to be with Liu Yifei for a long time'

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Song Seung-heon, 'I would like to be with Liu Yifei for a long time'

Actor Song Seung-heon mentioned his lover Liu Yifei, sometimes called Crystal Liu.

A Chinese media released the contents of an interview with him at the 24th.

Song Seung-heon used to be asked how it felt to big name in the film "The 3rd Love" and he said, "I"ve at all times sought after to paintings with her ahead of as I used to be a fan. i'm glad to have starred in my first Chinese film with her. It"s anything I can never forget. This time we were concerned romantically yet next time I want to be in contrary eventualities with her in an action movie".

Song Seung-heon looked glad when he said, "Crystal is more youthful than me yet she is mature and has fantastic concentration. She"s also very considerate. i suspect that appealed to me a lot. I hope our emotions for every other remaining a long time. I hope she does too".

When asked about marriage, Song Seung-heon said, "I don"t know about that yet. We haven"t mentioned it yet we love every other a lot. We actually do. It"s too soon to speak about marriage yet we"ll see".

Song Seung-heon and Liu Yifei admitted to seeing every other in May. They met during the film "The 3rd Love" which is in line with an normal Chinese novel.

Song Seung-heon plays a plutocrat and Liu Yifei plays a professional and wonderful lawyer.

The film comes out at the 30th of September in China.

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Song Seung Heon Proves He Is A Romantic, Both On And Off-Screen

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Song Seung Heon and Liu Yifei. (Photo : ) On August 13, early reports from Korean outlets like Daily Sports and The Korea Times, announced that actor Song Seung Heon proposed to Chinese-American actress, Liu Yifei. However, fans of both stars can rest assured that the 38-year-old "East of Eden" star did not issue a marriage proposal on Chinese television. Contrary to initial reports, the actor delivered a heartfelt confession of his love to his Liu Yifei.

Their appearance on the Chinese variety program, "Slowly Improving," marked the first public outing for the newly established couple.

Audiences watched in awe as the actor, who is best known for his performance in melodramas like "Autumn of My Heart," sweetly delivered a confession to the starlet.

A report published by Daily Sports highlighted his kinder words, during the broadcast. "I"m not a greedy person," said Song. "But you make me want you. I love you."

It was a move worthy of a K-Drama star and someone who is clearly enraptured with his partner.

The initial reports, which implied that the stars were engaged, were met with mixed reaction from fans.

The couple recently confirmed that they were dating, with the announcement delivered through several reports on August 5. Their relationship was established after the dramatic pair met on-set during the filming of "Third Way of Love."

Song and Liu were romantically linked in the film, which focuses on a wealthy businessman who falls in love with a lawyer who is hired to represent his firm.

Those who have analyzed their relationship have noted the age difference between Song Seung Heon (38) and Liu Yifei (27).

A spokesperson for ENT, the agency which represents Song, previously weighed in on the relationship. "The two people are cautiously dating," said a representative for ENT. "When you film a movie, it is only natural for to have closer contact."

What are your thoughts on the love confession from Song Seung Heon? Do you think a wedding announcement is coming soon?


About the writer: Adrienne Stanley is a contributing editor for KDramaStars. She is also a contributing writer for KpopStarz, MTV Iggy, Viki and CJ Entertainment"s KCON blog. Her passions include a love of K-pop and Asian drama. When she is not writing, she is hanging out on Twitter (@retrogirladdy).

Song Seung Heon Posts Photo with female friend Liu Yifei

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Song Seung Heon Posts Photo with female friend Liu Yifei

--> Song Seung Heon shared a photo with his female friend Liu Yifei.

Song Seung Heon posted a photo with Liu Yifei on Weibo on August 12.

Song Seung Heon and Liu Yifei were shooting Hunan TV′s Slowly Improving in combination on that day. All over the recording, Song Seung Heon stated to Liu Yifei, "Truthfully, I′m no longer a grasping person, yet seeing you, i need you."

Meanwhile, Song Seung Heon and Liu Yifei started dating after assembly at the set of movie The 1/3 Way of Love.

Photo credit: Song Seung Heon′s Weibo

Song Seung-heon proposes to Liu Yifei

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Song Seung-heon proposes to Liu Yifei

Actor Song Seung-heon proposed to his girlfriend, Liu Yifei.

The two of them accomplished recording the Chinese Tv display at the 12th.

They gave the impression in combination at the display to advertise the film "The Third Love" which they starred in together.

In the center of the recording, Song Seung-heon acknowledged to Liu Yifei, "I am now now not a egocentric guy yet you are making me selfish".

This is the primary public job they've done because the legitimate announcement to their relationship. They arrived in China at the 11th and stayed at the similar hotel.

Previously, Song Seung-heon"s control had announced, "They have just begun this relationship. They were now now not in combination whilst filming the film yet after. They keep up a correspondence by the use of telephone calls and texts yet haven"t actually been in combination in user who much".

The two met in the film "The Third Love" which is in keeping with a best-selling original.

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