Bonds of brotherhood, on and off screen

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Bonds of brotherhood, on and off screen


Director Jang Hun, actors Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won, from left, speak about their new film “Secret Reunion” at a press event in central Seoul on Jan. 5. Provided by Showbox

Two critically-acclaimed Korean actors are appearing together in an upcoming movie that touches on the inter-Korean issue.

Song Kang-ho of “Thirst” which was recognized at Cannes last year, and Gang Dong-won of the Korean action flick “Jeon Woo Chi: The Taoist Wizard,” play South and North Korean agents in the new movie “Secret Reunion.”

The film, by director Jang Hun, whose debut feature was “Rough Cut” (2008), tells the story of two men who reunite six years after their first encounter, which involved a gunfight between the two Koreas.

Lee Han-kyu (Song Gang-ho), a National Intelligence Service agent from the South, was discharged after the inter-Korean incident. Six years later, he accidentally runs into Song Ji-won (Gang Dong-won), an agent from the North, who was also dismissed and then abandoned by his government after the incident. The two discover they have more in common than just their dismissal and the plot follows them as their relationship changes and they go from enemies to friends.


There have been many Korean movies and dramas about the NIS and secret agents. In the most recent version of this plot line, Lee Byung-hun plays a National Intelligence Service agent in the hit KBS-2 drama “Iris.”

So what makes Secret Reunion different from the rest?

“The film doesn’t actually deal much with secret agents and their lives. In fact, the characters’ positions as secret agents serve more as a device to develop the story,” Song said in a press event held earlier this month.

Jang also made it clear: “Secret Reunion revolves around South-North relations, but it takes a brighter attitude toward the subject than you might think. I hope that audiences will enjoy this movie, which reveals a lesser-known side of our society through characters that are interesting.”

Some may also wonder what enticed actors like Song and Gang to become involved in a film by Jang, who is relatively new to directing.

Song had a well-considered answer.

“I admired Jang’s ability to make a movie that was as good as ‘Rough Cut’ with such a relatively low budget,” Song said. “Jang has the ability to express what he wants to say, even though he is a new director.

“I’ll let the audience have the final say on whether the movie is first rate, but personally, I think Secret Reunion is a heartwarming and enjoyable movie,” he added.

When the two actors - who said that they built a bond of brotherhood while they were shooting the movie - were asked their opinions of one another, Song said, “Gang is known for his good looks, but he is a guy who has more than that. I like his sense of humor and his confidence in himself as an actor.”

“I’m in awe of Song’s instincts as an actor and his accuracy,” Gang said.

Secret Reunion will hit local theaters on Feb. 4.

By Park Sun-young []
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`의형제` 송강호, `강동원과 외모 닮아가` 애정과시

배우 송강호가 영화 '의형제'를 함께 찍은 강동원에 대한 애정을 과시했다.

송강호는 19일 오후 서울 삼성동 코엑스 메가박스에서 열린 영화 '의형제' 언론시사 및 기자간담회에 참석해 "처음에는 강동원과 외모나 이미지가 많이 달라서 '의형제'라는 제목이 어색하게 느껴졌다"고 운을 뗐다.

송강호는 "강동원과 같이 연기를 하면서 성격뿐만 아니라 얼굴도 닮아가고 있다는 느낌이 들어 기분이 좋다"고 말해 웃음을 자아냈다.

아울러 송강호는 "강동원은 젊은 나이임에도 불구하고 인생에 대한 생각이나 연기관의 깊이가 놀라울 정도로 깊이가 있었다"며 "그래서인지 몰라도 촬영현장에서 강동원을 영감이라고 불렀다"고 밝혔다.

이어 그는 "연기를 같이 해보니 강동원의 솔직한 자기표현이 부러웠다"며 "그런 것들을 잘 살려 연기한다면 강동원은 앞으로 큰 배우가 될 거라는 생각이 든다"고 칭찬했다.

한편 '영화는 영화다'로 주목받은 장훈 감독의 두 번째 영화 '의형제'는 파면당한 전직 국정원 요원 한규(송강호 분)와 버림받은 남파 공작원 지원(강동원 분)의 팽팽한 심리게임과 의리, 형제애를 다룬 액션 스릴러다. 내달 4일 개봉.

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