중앙데일리

Veteran, young star team up in spy film

배우 송강호 '망가져 영화가 풍성해진다면 불만 없어요'
‘Both men are enemies, but they live together [and] understand each other in the end.’

Feb 19,2010
Song Kang-ho
Until recently, James Cameron’s tale of blue-skinned beauties from space, “Avatar,” had ruled Korea’s theaters for months. But a local film, “Secret Reunion” starring Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won, now appears to have toppled Home Tree and displaced its lithe inhabitants at the top of the pile.

Online ticket reservation site Max Movie reported Secret Reunion is No. 1 for three weeks, with no signs of slowing down.

According to production company Showbox Movie, the film has already pulled in over 2.8 million viewers and is set to pass the 3 million mark today, becoming the first Korean movie released in 2010 to do so.

Its title may refer to a “reunion,” but this is the first collaboration for two of Korea’s most sought-after actors, Song and Gang, making it the talk of the town even before its release Feb. 4. The two lived up to expectations as two spies from North and South Korea who end up sharing a room in Seoul.

Critics lauded Song, who most recently played a priest in Park Chan-wook’s “Thirst,” for his experienced turn in the film, dealing with the weighty inter-Korean issue realistically while occasionally injecting pure humor.

In one scene, Song’s character, Han-kyu, sits down to answer nature’s call and is shocked to discover a chicken slaughtered by Ji-won, played by Gang, hanging in the bathroom. Song’s facial expression at making this discovery and his over-hasty flight have been a big hit with local viewers.

“If I can depict my character well by doing that, I don’t mind even if I look stupid or silly in a film,” Song laughed.

Although Han-kyu is an agent for the National Intelligence Service, he’s also a regular guy, going through a divorce, trouble at work and separation from his children.

“Both men are enemies but they live together, hiding their true identities. I like the story because they finally understand each other in the end. I thought this was very similar to Joint Security Area,” Song said. That acclaimed film from 2000 also deals with soldiers from the North and South learning to understand one another, and it also starred Song.

The actor said he found it difficult to understand the vision of the director, Jang Hun, who is a rookie while Song is in his 14th year in Korean cinema - but only at first.

“It’s not an action film, but director Jang spent days to shoot a car chase scene, which I didn’t understand back then. But when I saw the complete film, I got to understand what Jang wanted to express.”

In fact, Song concluded, “I learned a lot from him.”

The veteran said it was a pleasure to team up with Gang, who is 14 years younger than him.

“Gang possesses a seriousness and maturity at age 29 that I didn’t have when I was about his age.”

Song’s next film is tentatively titled “Night Fog,” and it takes him back into the role of a gangster - the third time Song’s played that part.


By Ki Sun-min [so@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

2주 만에 관객 250만 명. ‘의형제’주연 송·강·호


별명 ‘연기의 신’, 혹은 ‘연기의 달인’. 어떤 역을 맡아도 실망시키는 일이 거의 없는 배우. 거품 많다는 영화판에서 진정한 의미의 ‘티켓 파워’를 가진 배우. 이런 배우를 인터뷰하는 건 솔직히 재미 없는 일일지도 모른다.

배우 송강호(43). 그에게 무얼 물어볼까. 연기 잘하는 비결? 명문대 수석합격자에게 비법을 물었을 때 ‘잠은 잘 만큼 잤고 교과서에 충실했다’는 대답이 안 나올 때가 있던가. 송강호 식으로 표현하자면 “동물적 감각을 바탕으로 디테일에 충실했다”쯤 되지 않을까. 달인에게 비결을 묻는 건 부질 없는 일이다.

신작 ‘의형제’에서도 그는 잘한다. 정말 잘한다. 늘 그랬듯 관객을 빈 손으로 돌려보내지 않는다. “사랑해” “고가 타고 퇴근해” “음, 맛있다 씨암탉” 같은, 별 것 아닌 대사를 별 것으로 들리게 한다. 그건 14년간 충무로에서 연기만 해오신 달인 ‘리얼 송강호 선생’의 내공일 것이다. 개봉 2주 만에 250만 명을 넘은 ‘의형제’의 흥행은 그런 점에서 예견된 것이었다. 그가 맡은 한규는 국정원 요원이라는 예사롭지 않은 직업을 가졌다. 하지만 해고와 이혼, 기러기아빠 등 ‘보통사람’의 풍파를 겪게 된다. 송강호의 생활연기는, 국가안보요원과 스파이가 주인공인 이 액션드라마를 때론 일일극처럼, 때론 시트콤처럼 땅바닥에 단단히 발 붙이게 만드는 접착제다.
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