Hwang Jung-min reunites with director Yim Soon-rye for new film 'Bargaining'

From left, Hwang Jung-min, Kang Ki-young and Hyun Bin poses for the cameras during a press conference for the film "Bargaining" at Seongdong District, eastern Seoul, on Tuesday [NEWS1]

Actors Hwang Jung-min, Hyun Bin and Kang Ki-young set off on a mission to save a Korean civilian who is being held hostage by the Taliban in the upcoming crime action movie "Bargaining."

Hwang plays a diplomat charged with the mission of negotiating the release of a Korean citizen in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Hyun Bin plays a National Intelligence Service agent. Hwang’s and Hyun Bin’s characters have to settle their differences and work together to release the kidnapped Korean within 24 hours, or else the Taliban will kill the hostage. Kang plays a streetwise Korean living in Kabul.

Though the film is described as being wholly fiction, its plot closely resembles the 2007 kidnapping incident where 23 Korean church missionaries who left for missionary work in Afghanistan were abducted by the Taliban.

"Bargaining" is helmed by Yim Soon-rye, who worked with Hwang 21 years ago in the movie "Waikiki Brothers" (2001).

Hwang said that he was incredibly grateful for the chance to work with her once more.

"Director Yim Soon-rye is someone who has allowed me to become a successful actor and I will always remember her as one of the people that I am most thankful to have met," said Hwang. "When I heard that she was behind 'Bargaining' I said right away that I will definitely do it."

Yim said that she gave the role to Hwang because she saw him fit to play a very persistent man with a steady core.

"His appearance in 'Bargaining' will show a new side of Hwang Jung-min," she said.

Hyun Bin said that he decided to star in the film after hearing that Hwang would be part of it.

"I knew that I could depend on Hwang Jung-min and was excited to create something new with him through 'Bargaining.'"

Actor Kang Ki-young, best known as one of the stars of the hit drama "Extraordinary Attorney Woo," is also starring in the film.

He described his character as someone who doesn't care too much for rules and laws, but an essential person nonetheless, who ends up working with the National Intelligence Service to save the Korean hostage.

For the role, Kang had to speak Pashto, which is one of the national languages of Afghanistan. "I memorized my Pashto lines as if I were memorizing lyrics of a song," he said.

A large part of the movie takes place in Afghanistan and those scenes were shot in Jordan.

"It was a difficult process, especially because the pandemic struck right as we were getting ready to shoot it, but our team really wanted to film at a foreign location," said Hwang. "When we finally got the okay to film in Jordan, there weren't any planes because all flights were down. So we flew in a private jet."

Hyun recalled his experience of filming in Jordan as "incredibly hot and dry."

"There was a lot of sand blowing [...] Because it was so hot, car engines would stop working," he said. "I still distinctly remember acting in all that sand and heat."

"Bargaining" will hit local theaters on Jan. 18.