For Korean star Yoo Yeon-seok, an opportunity to work with actors and staff from different countries was something that he has been longing to do.
He finally got the chance to work on the global project “Vanishing” directed by French director Denis Dercourt in the fall of 2020.
“It was interesting to find out that a global project is being filmed when we cannot travel due to COVID-19,” the Korean actor added.
In “Vanishing,” Yoo plays Jin-ho, a Korean detective who gets to work with Alice (played by Olga Kurylenko), a forensic scientist and a former surgeon. As a forensic scientist, Alice has a successful career and is widely known for inventing a a revolutionary technique that can restore the damaged skin of corpses. She visits South Korea to attend a conference and during her visit she receives a request from the Korean police to apply her technique to an unidentified corpse found in a river. Jin-ho and Alice later learn that the body is connected to an organ trafficking syndicate. As they work on the case together, they slowly become close to each other.
Although the Korean actor has been taking English lessons regularly via videoconference even before he started this global project, Yoo said he put extra work into practicing the language after finding out that he has to perform mostly in English with Kurylenko.
“I took lessons from different tutors. Instead of studying with a textbook, I went through my script with the tutors. I asked them if they can understand me and whether I am delivering the emotion when saying the lines,” Yoo said.
The scenes where he speaks French were added spontaneously with his suggestions, Yoo said.
“I suggested it because I thought it was natural for my character to say a few greeting words in French. That is what we do when we meet people from France,” Yoo said. “The director made up a few lines for me in French and also taught me how to pronounce them.”
Yoo added that he learned a lot from working with Kurylenko, who is best known for playing Bond girl Camille Montes in “Quantum of Solace.”
“It was not easy for Olga since she had to quarantine here amid COVID-19 and also work with Korean staff. She did not bring along her staff or assistance. She came alone and overcame difficulties, learned about our culture and communicated closely with local staff. I could feel that she is a strong person,” Yoo said.
To help the French actor and director adjust to the foreign environment amid the pandemic, Yoo said he invited them to his musical “Werther.”
“After watching my musical performance, we had a cocktail. They enjoyed it and said that it had been a long time since they spent time like that after the pandemic broke out,” Yoo said.