090825- KMM Battles Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Kim Myung-Min Battles Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 내 사랑 내 곁에 (Closer to Heaven)
Posted by X at 2:00am. (25 August 2009)
If Park Jin-Pyo has shown us anything over the years, that is his peculiar talent for taking trite setups and making something memorable out of that. Starting with his controversial debut 죽어도 좋아 (Too Young to Die), he showed us a couple of elders enjoying life to the fullest, including oral sex. 너는 내운명 (You’re My Sunshine) put together two of the most talented actors in Korea, Jeon Do-Yeon and Hwang Jung-Min, and turned a simple love story about an HIV-positive woman and a naive country bumpkin into one of the best melodramas in modern Korean cinema. Finally, the very solid Seol Kyung-Gu thriller 그놈 목소리 (Voice of a Murderer) made great money and cemented Park’s status as one of the top directors in Chungmuro, and his latest 내 사랑 내 곁에 (Closer To Heaven) oozes similar vibes.
The story is, as you can expect from a Park Jin-Pyo film, deceptively simple, with Kim Myung-Min playing a man gradually and inexorably crippled by Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Ha Ji-Won of the 10 million ticket-seller 해운대 (Haeundae) as the titular “love by his side.” The interesting factor at play here is not so much the talent involved - Kim is notoriously the best actor of his generation, with only Ha Jung-Woo and Oh Man-Seok coming close - but the fact that he gradually lost weight (for a total of 20kg) during the shoot, to more realistically convey how devastating this disease is. MBC recently broadcast a documentary about his dedication to the role and the changes this abrupt weight loss brought to him, and it was pretty harrowing stuff. As always with Park, this might look pretty basic on paper, but his documentary roots and knack for poignant realism promise good things. Release is set for September 24, and you can find the teaser below the break.