K-star Lee Dong-wook is a friendly ‘uncle’ on the set of A Shop For Killers, Latest TV News - The New Paper

K-star Lee Dong-wook is a friendly ‘uncle’ on the set of A Shop For Killers

Firing machine guns, throwing punches and taking down bad guys.

K-drama A Shop For Killers gave its two leads – actor Lee Dong-wook and actress Kim Hye-jun – a chance to play out the action fantasies of their childhood.

The stars of the action series – premiering on Disney+ on Jan 17 – have many thrilling sequences in the eight-parter, where they play uncle and niece.

Lee, 42, told The Straits Times: “As boys, we played with toy guns, weapons, toy cars and acted out these grand action scenes with our friends. This drama has given me a chance to play those fantasies out in such a realistic way.”

He plays a mercenary­-turned­-weapons dealer and got to fire 200 bullets from a machine gun on set.

Meanwhile, Kim, whose character is a college girl trained in muay thai, attended a stunt academy every day for four months before filming began.

The 28-year-old says: “In South Korea, many kids go to a taekwondo training academy when they’re young, but I had never once set foot in such a place. So I romanticised the idea of being able to fight and the series satisfied this childhood dream of mine.”

In A Shop For Killers, which is adapted from the novel The Killer’s Shopping Mall, Kim plays Jeong Ji-an, a girl who was raised from a young age by her uncle Jeong Jin-man (Lee) after her parents’ death. One day, Jin-man dies mysteriously. While settling his affairs, Ji-an discovers that Jin-man had long been secretly running a website selling weapons to professional killers. Her life is plunged into chaos when these killers descend upon her.

While the series begins with Jin-man’s death, it jumps back and forth between the past and the present, still allowing for plenty of scenes between Lee and Kim as loving uncle and sassy niece.

Kim (Kingdom, 2019 to 2020) admits she found Lee, who is known for fantasy dramas such as Tale Of The Nine Tailed (2020) and Goblin (2016), distant when she first met him.

“He’s such a huge star and a senior of mine, so I did feel like it was a bit difficult to get close to him at first. But then, he approached me with so much ease. He would reach out and ask to get meals together. He was friendly on set,” she recalls.

The actress adds: “Every time he has a photo or commercial shoot for a product he endorses, he returns to the set with a lot of gifts of whatever product he was advertising for all of us. It felt like meeting an uncle right after his payday.”

A Shop For Killers also stars actors Seo Hyun-woo, Jo Han-sun and Geum Hae-na as shady killers and villains, while actor Park Ji-bin plays Ji-an’s former classmate, who is a skilled hacker.

The story’s premise of assassins and mercenaries who co-exist in an underground world with its own rules and taboos, as well as its stylish action sequences, are reminiscent of the John Wick cinematic universe.

Asked about the famed action movie franchise, of which he is a huge fan, Lee says: “It would be a stretch to say what we did was equivalent to what was done in the John Wick series, but everyone on the team poured their heart and soul into this series.”

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