[CELEB] 'Action master' Jang Hyuk lives for the adrenaline rush

Actor Jang Hyuk in the new action film ″The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die″ [ASCENDIO]

New challenges are what drive actor Jang Hyuk forward.

Dubbed the local screen's “action master,” the 46-year-old tried his hand at action choreography in the upcoming film “The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die.”

“The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die” tells the story of a legendary killer named Bang Ui-gang, portrayed by Jang, who has retired from the gig and lives a normal life with his wife. But he is drawn back to his old ways after becoming embroiled in a fight with illegal sex traffickers who kidnapped the daughter of his wife’s friend.

The film held its Los Angeles premiere at the Regency Village Theatre in June.

Actor Jang Hyuk in the new action film ″The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die″ [ASCENDIO]

In an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily on Wednesday, Jang said "The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die" stemmed from his craving to partake in the production process of the ultimate action film with people he had connected with over his 25 year-long career.

He began discussions of a potential film in 2020 with director Choi Jae-hoon, who worked with him in the action drama film “The Swordsman" (2020).

“Choi and I found the material for our film in the web novel ‘The Kid Deserves to Die’ [2018] by author Bang Ji-ho,” Jang said at a cafe in Jongno District, central Seoul.

As the movie's action choreographer, Jang wanted to create sequences that Korean audiences haven't seen before. After much deliberation, he found the answer in single, long takes with minimal computer-generated imagery.

“Short cuts have been the trend for action scenes for a while now, but I wanted to use longer takes to better relay the actors’ emotions and deliver their sense of purpose in these scenes to the audience,” he said.

Especially as an actor dabbling in action choreography, finding the motivation for each punch and trigger pulled, and displaying that on screen, was critical for Jang in the movie's extensive fight scenes.

“I wanted the scenes to go beyond displaying the great chemistry of the actors or just the performance,” he said. “There is a reason that the character is fighting, and that’s what I wanted to show.”

Long takes were possible because nearly all the scenes were done by the actors themselves instead of stuntmen.

Jang said that he keeps up his strength through routine exercise. He is especially fond of boxing and Jeet Kune Do.

Actor and martial artist Bruce Khan, who plays the role of the ringleader of sex traffickers named Yu-ri, also showcased high-level action performances with Jang.

Actor Jang Hyuk in the new action film ″The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die″ [ASCENDIO]

Though taking on two jobs in one film was challenging, Jang said that he was able to manage it because he was able to work with actors and crew that he knew and trusted.

“In addition to director Choi, I also recruited members of the martial arts team with people who worked with me in 'Iris II' [a 2009 KBS drama].”

Jang’s personal friends and colleague actors Cha Tae-hyun and Son Hyun-joo also appear as cameos in the movie. Cha played a CEO of a corpse disposal company and Son played a gun dealer.

At this point in the veteran actor’s career, Jang said that a lot of his inspiration comes from the solidarity of the people in the entertainment industry.

“There is still a part of me [after the film 'The Killer'] that wants to work with people that I know and had a connection with in the past,” he said.

Actor Jang Hyuk, left in a scene of the 2020 film “The Swordsman.” [JOONGANG ILBO]

But that isn’t to say that he isn't interested in further diversifying his profile as an actor.

“I like action, but I don't want to limit myself to just starring in action movies and dramas,” said Jang. “I want to do more acting in sageuk [Korean historical dramas] or try out a role of a villain. I didn't start Jeet Kune Do because I enjoyed it, but because I wanted to create my own color as an actor. I don’t think my career will be sustainable if I only do what I am good at or what I like.”

Though Jang gained much of his popularity through action films “Volcano High” (2001) and “Jungle Juice” (2002) and dramas “The Slave Hunters” (2010) and “The Swordsman” (2020), the actor has worked in many different genres such as romantic comedy in SBS's “Wok of Love” (2018), romance in MBC's “Fated to Love You” (2014) and sageuk in KBS's “Bloody Heart” (2022).

Actor Jang Hyuk in KBS drama ″The Slave Hunters″ (2010) [KBS]

He has also dipped his toes in singing and rapping, under the stage name TJ Project.

“I wanted to widen my spectrum as an actor and celebrity, which is how I got involved in the project,” he said, though he admits he never enjoyed it as much as acting, which is why he stopped after releasing just one album.

“The problem was that I wasn’t nervous or and I didn't feel any adrenaline on stage. But when I act, I feel my blood running. It’s painful but it is also joyful.”

“The Killer: A Girl Who Deserves to Die” will open in theaters on July 13.

Actor Jang Hyuk [ASCENDIO]

Jang Hyuk

Date of birth: Dec. 20, 1976
Zodiac sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Busan
Debut: 1997 through SBS drama series "Model"
Agency: iHQ

Jang Hyuk debuted in 1997 through the SBS drama "Model." He gained widespread popularity after appearing in the music video of 1990s boy band g.o.d’s song titled “To Mother” in 1999. Best known for his performances in action films and dramas, Jang first stepped into the genre in 2001 through the film Volcano High (2001). His most successful work is the KBS drama series “The Slave Hunters” (2010) where he portrayed Daegil, a bounty hunter who captures a runaway slave. For his performance in the series, he won the Grand Prize at the 2010 KBS Drama Awards and was nominated for the Best Actor award at the 2011 International Emmy Awards.

This information was confirmed by iHQ on July 4, 2022.

Actor Jang Hyuk in the music video of boy band g.o.d's ″To Mother″ in 1999 [SCREEN CAPTURE]