Move To Heaven: A 'tearjerker' about death and interpersonal relationships

·3 min read
Lee Je Hoon as Sang Gu in Move To Heaven.
Lee Je Hoon as Sang Gu in Move To Heaven.

What happens to the possessions of the deceased when they pass on?

In South Korea, that is a job for 'trauma cleaners', who clean up and sort out all the paraphernalia of the dearly departed and pass them on to the loved ones who remain. A yellow box is slowly filled up by the cleaners, sometimes uncovering the stories of those who pass on. The new Netflix drama Move To Heaven focuses on stories surrounding two such trauma cleaners.

Actor Lee Je Hoon, who plays Jo Sang Gu, a former illegal MMA fighter, says that his character's journey towards inadvertently becoming a trauma cleaner was not the easiest.

"Sang Gu is an illegal MMA fighter who is not afraid to express his rough and tumble side, and makes money illegally on the side," said Lee of his character in an virtual press conference to promote Move To Heaven on Wednesday (12 May).

"He goes through personal growth and is able to grow from his past when he was extremely lonely. Hearing the stories left by the deceased would be relatable to anyone who watches the series."

Tang Jun Sang as Geu Ru in Move To Heaven.
Tang Jun Sang as Geu Ru in Move To Heaven.

Lee also said the role was tough and action-packed, requiring much physical training, and goes through a dynamic change.

"I had to be inside the ring and you will be very surprised. There are tough action sequences that everyone will be surprised to see,'' says Lee. 

Sang Gu is also the uncle of his fellow trauma cleaner partner, Han Geu Ru, a young man with Asperger's syndrome, played by actor Tang Jun Sang. Geu Ru has difficulty interacting with people and expressing himself, and the friction that this creates with his uncle becomes the fulcrum of their relationship.

He often retreats to his soft toy for emotional support as a result of their clashes. "Stingray is a best friend to Gu Ru, when he is in a tough situation or in emotional turmoil, he clutches at his stingray; it is like a friend to him," explains Tang.

Half-Malaysian Tang also admitted that his role was challenging as his character had a lot of lines. "Geu Ru likes a lot of fish and characteristics of fish. I practised my lines a lot, as they were long and very difficult."

As director Kim Sung Ho's first attempt at a TV series, having previously helmed movies like Notebook From My Mother and How To Steal A Dog, he was pleased at being able to work with seasoned actors.

"I was truly able to experience how great a power a film has to comfort viewers. I was unaware of what trauma cleaners were. It can be difficult and daunting to direct a film which is set up from the beginning to be a tearjerker," said Kim.

Move To Heaven is currently available on Netflix.

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