Rules for survival: Obey or leave. Watch the character trailer for Concrete Utopia. The critically acclaimed film opens in Philippine cinemas this week, September 20.
Get to know more about the characters of Concrete Utopia and the actors and actresses that portrayed them, as described by director Um Tae-hwa.
YOUNG-TAK, Resident Delegate of Hwang Gung Apartments
Played by: Lee Byung-hun
Young-tak, a resident of Hwang Gung Apartments, caught everyone’s attention when he rushed inside a burning house without hesitation to put out a fire. His selfless act of risking his own life led him to be elected as the Resident Delegate. After that, when the situation calls for desperate measures, Young-tak puts himself on the line again, which leads to him gaining more trust and confidence among the residents.
Director Um Tae-hwa is all praises for Lee Byung-hun. “There was a scene when he expressed all his character has gone through through his facial expression alone,” says Um. “It was a moment when I witnessed the true definition of cinema.”
MIN-SUNG, a family man struggling for his family’s survival
Played by: Park Seo-jun
For Min-sung, surviving this chaos with his beloved wife Myung-hwa is his top priority. Having previously served as an auxiliary policeman, and currently working as a public servant, he unintentionally drew the attention of the other residents, which led him to be chosen as the leader of the anti-crime force by Young-tak. As he witnesses Young-tak’s unwavering devotion toward other people and his decisiveness in leading the survivors, Min-sung himself gradually changes and starts to resemble him in a way.
“I was certain he could portray a wide range of different aspects of Min-sung,” says director Um of Park Seo-jun. “I hoped I could bring it out of him. I’m confident that the audience will be captivated by his performance.”
MYUNG-HWA, the one who tries to hold on to her values
Played by: Park Bo-young
A resident of Hwang Gung Apartments, living in unit 602. After the unexpected catastrophe brought by a massive earthquake, she tries to keep calm and think of ways to live on with her husband, Min-sung. Myung-hwa has no hesitation in sharing her home with outsiders who have nowhere to go in the cold, and takes the initiative in caring for the injured residents as a nurse. She grows concerned as she notices changes in residents over time.
Director Um says of Park Bo-young, “I was always curious and wanted to see another aspect of PARK Bo-young different from the images of her that we are familiar with. She has satisfied all of that.”
GEUM-AE, the head of Hwang Gung Apartments women’s association
Played by: Kim Sun-young
A resident of room 207, who serves as the head of the women’s association at Hwang Gung Apartments. When it comes to the safety of residents and herself, Geum-ae does not hesitate to take action. She’s the one who recommended Young-tak as the Resident Delegate and she firmly believes in following Resident Regulations no matter what. She plays a central role in bringing residents together while remaining extremely vigilant against any potential threats.
Director Um says that Kim Sun-young perfectly embodies the ordinary yet profound nature of the character of Geum-ae, enabling audiences to be fully immersed in the movie.
HYE-WON, who has returned from the hellish outside
Played by: Park Ji-hu
A resident of room 903, who miraculously survives the earthquake and returns alone to Hwang Gung Apartments. Under a new set of regulations, living with residents is never the same as before. Observing residents being bizarrely optimistic as if they don’t care about the hellish outside, Hye-won experiences an inexplicable sense of unease.
“She embodied the character just right even in situations where she had to convey a wealth of emotions through facial expressions and gazes alone,” the director says of Park Ji-hu.
DO-KYUN, an uncooperative resident
Played by: Kim Do-yoon
A resident of room 809 in Hwang Gung Apartments. Dissatisfied with the approach of the residents’ committee led by Young-tak and Geum-ae, he starts making excuses for himself and is uncooperative. He complies with the basic rules so as not to go against the current, but he refuses to do any more. Amidst each of the residents’ various struggles to survive, he becomes more and more isolated.
Director Um says of Kim Do-yoon, “Kim Do-yoon excelled at portraying this character whose neat and smart appearance gradually begins to fray and collapse.”
Directed by Um Tae-hwa, Concrete Utopia is loosely based on Part 2 of the hit webtoon “Joyful Outcast” (“Pleasant Neighbors”) and stars an ensemble of A-list Korean actors including Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-jun, Park Bo-young, Park Ji-hu, Kim Do-yoon and Kim Sun-young. It is a disaster thriller about the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. The film will follow the story that begins when the survivors gather at Hwang Gung Apartments, the only building left standing in an earthquake-ravaged Seoul.