Korean trader becomes famous after acting in ‘The Wandering Earth’

By Wei Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/1 17:03:39

Choi Kyoung Jong poses for a photo. Photo: Li Jieyi/GT


Choi Kyoung Jong never thought that he would be a famous actor.

Simply by helping out a friend, Choi became part of The Wandering Earth's cast and was chosen as the only Korean actor with lines. Released on February 5, the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster has earned a total of 4.6 billion yuan ($685 million) so far, and has become the second highest-grossing film in China following Wolf Warrior 2 (2017). 

"He is the one who reached the peak on his first big-screen debut and the one whose payment was tens of millions times higher than [the lead actor] Wu Jing," one netizen said on Sina Weibo. It was reported that because of a tight budget, Wu Jing did not receive any payment for acting in the film, instead, he invested 50 million yuan into the film. "Is there a feeling that you suddenly got known all around the world?" another netizen commented under the post about Choi's unexpected experience.

Choi is from South Korea and works in a trade company in Beijing. He recalled a night in 2017 when he returned home after playing sports. "My wife told me to record a short video of myself since a friend was looking for a Korean in Beijing [for the audition of The Wandering Earth]," Choi told the Global Times. "I was reluctant to do that because I was tired and dirty at that time."

Choi was told that submitting his short video was merely to fill a general hiring requirement for the film. He shot a 15-second video introducing his height, weight, age and past experience. Surprisingly, he got a call from a film crew the next day.

Choi remembered that the time he arrived on the scene in Qingdao, Shandong Province, everyone looked very busy, but the director Guo Fan approached him very nicely, and expressed thanks to him. 

However, his on-screen experience wasn't easy. Choi said the costume he had to wear was about 30 kilograms and he was with another two Korean actors. 

Even though he was the only one who had lines, the three of them repeated again and again so that the camera could shoot from different angles. They filmed from 8 pm until 3 am the following day.  

"My lines were about me going back to my hometown and having a reunion with my mother. In fact, at that time, I did hope we could finish soon and go back home since I was too tired," Choi said. 

While Choi was told that the film would be released during Spring Festival in 2018, he did not see it anywhere. He thought the film might not be released until his wife called him to inform him of the release during this past Spring Festival.

Choi said he received 1,000 yuan plus a night in a hotel and round-trip train tickets between Beijing and Qingdao for his role in The Wandering Earth. 

"I believe kind people usually have good luck, too," Choi said. "But I don't know why I got a business-class ticket when I traveled to the set and only a second-class ticket when I went back." he said, smiling.

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