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Won Bin in The Man From Nowhere

The boy sheds his skin, becomes a man

By JI Yong-jin

WON Bin and Ajeossi (Korean title of the film). Until now, no one would ever put these two in the same category. Ever since WON Bin made his existence known to the public, an image of Adonis has always stayed with him as a feature of his own. A word like ‘ajeossi’ generally used as a term for ‘adult male’ in Korean society was impossible to pair with his image. Yet WON Bin has become an ajeossi. One thing for sure is that because of WON Bin, now the word has a new image attached to it. Here is a transformation into an awesome ajeossi.

WON Bin can be analyzed by his pre and post The Man From Nowhere acting career. Although his filmography of work is not that extensive, the roles he has taken in films have been mostly weak, passive characters who needs protection. Jin-seok from Tae-guk-gi was so, and Do-jun from Mother was so too. However, he has shown a completely different image in The Man From Nowhere . He instantly knocks down 7 or 8 big guys, becoming a frightful man who can eliminate the villains mercilessly. The external changes are important but even more so, it should be noted, he has shown with his entire body the insides of a man who can pour out everything he’s got to save a girl. It is something far different from the WON Bin we have known until now. With this piece, he has gone through a true metamorphosis.

The film The Man From Nowhere is the story of Tae-sik (WON Bin) who lives a solitary existence save his only for his friend So-mi (KIM Saeron), a young girl living next door. When she is kidnapped by thugs, he stops at nothing, chasing the bad guys down until the very end. To show Tae-sik to the fullest, some 7 months prior to crank in WON Bin went through harsh training with action director PARK Jungryul, which resulted in near perfect martial arts skills.

Says WON Bin, “The action sequences that we portray in this film are something rarely seen in a Korean movie. Various types of martial arts are brought into the mix. This is not done with just the body, as having the right emotions was equally important. In this film, action is Tae-sik’s language, a method of expressing emotions.”

Like his words, the physical maneuvers performed by WON Bin in the film delivers a graceful, sharp, hefty, swift, foreign yet exciting experience. This is why he  peaks little, although he has done so even before. The movie that had led WON Bin into the world of acting was The Terrorist , with CHOI Min-soo taking the leading role.

“When I saw the movie in high school, I wanted to be a man as brilliant as that.” Still, intentional or not, WON Bin before The Man From Nowhere was confined within words like beautiful and pretty. As director LEE Jeong-beom has said, “WON Bin has a strong image lying within. Inside him, there surely existed such a desire to break out.” Designing WON Bin’s new image, it was director LEE who carefully observed the soaring urge for change that was in WON Bin’s heart, and successfully led that desire out into the open.

“Considering my age, if I am unable to move beyond playing passive characters who are constantly protected by others it will seem odd in the eyes of the audience. While I did want to seek a new image and make a change, I chose to do it when I felt confident enough that I can perform the role successfully.” For WON Bin, who had been decisive in choosing this film, change was probably more an inevitability than a coincidence. For a man who thirsted for a change of character, the film was an oasis. “I knew it would be a difficult project both mentally and physically so I was expecting the worst from the beginning.” These words of WON Bin must mean something more than determination.

Now WON Bin has become a perfect ajeossi. Many fans may feel sorry, but on the other hand many fans may feel excited. The ‘WON Bin’ we knew before and the new ‘ajeossi’. The two now co-exist together, emitting a new and grand energy.

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