Female protagonists test their 'Limit' in upcoming crime thriller

From left, actors Choi Duk-moon, Jin Seo-yeon, Lee Jung-hyun, Moon Jeong-hee, Park Myung-hoon, Park Gyeong-hye and director Lee Seung-jun pose for the camera at a local press event held at the Konkuk University branch of Lotte Cinema, eastern Seoul,

The cast of upcoming crime thriller “Limit” by director Lee Seung-jun promises the film will be one-of-a-kind with its narrative led by female protagonists, in a local genre dominated by men.

The film revolves around a police officer named So-eun, portrayed by Lee Jung-hyun, who becomes involved in a serial child abduction case. To catch the kidnapper, she goes undercover as the victim’s mother. The twist, however, is that the culprit knows that So-eun is a fake and takes her real son as well.

“I always loved crime thrillers,” Lee said at a press event held at the Konkuk University Entrance branch of Lotte Cinema in eastern Seoul on Thursday. “But in this sort of genre, I saw many projects in which only male actors appeared. It was really refreshing for me that ‘Limit’ centered around female actors.

“For the character of So-eun, although she’s a police officer, she’s not a cool cop like people imagine her to be. She somehow barely managed to pass her civil service exam and she has another job as well — a single mom, so [in the beginning] she’s more focused on maintaining her family’s livelihood. However, she completely changes once she hears that her child has been kidnapped.”

The rest of the cast refrained from going into details about their respective characters due to plot twists, but Moon Jeong-hee, who portrays the villain in the story named Hye-jin, said the film was unique in the sense “that every character, as a mother, had very good reason for their actions.”

“They each have their own reasons as to why they had no choice but to do what they did,” Moon explained.

“[The audience] might think [before seeing the film] that the story would be bland or not entertaining because it revolves around women,” said Jin Seo-yeon, who portrays the victim’s true mother, Yeon-joo. “But this film’s narrative is so impacting and fast-paced that it doesn’t really give the audience time to even think about that. It’s very shocking, but I thought the story was more gripping because it centers around the bond between a parent and her child, not those between women and men.”

The film is adapted from the 1998 Japanese novel with the same title by novelist Hisashi Nozawa, familiar to local audiences for his 1996 novel “Love Generation,” which was adapted into the SBS television series “Alone in Love” (2006) starring Son Ye-jin and Kam Woo-sung.

Director Lee Seung-jun, who made his directorial debut with “The Spy: Undercover Operation” (2013), reaped commercial success with the film, pulling 3.4 million ticket sales with its big-name stars such as Seol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri and Daniel Henney. “Limit” is his second film.

Lee explained that the meaning of film title is twofold.

“It is similar to what the original novel did, as the characters grapple with the time limit,” Lee said. “As I adapted the novel into film and began shooting, there were times when I felt I was stuck by my limits. I also saw that the staff, including the actors, were overcoming their own respective limits through their performances, so I felt that ‘limit’ was the most adequate title for this film.”

“Limit” will premiere in local theaters on Aug. 17.