Chemistry for Ha, Kang in ‘Kundo’
At a press junket held Tuesday, the two actors joined director Yoon Jong-bin, along with the rest of the A-list cast, to talk about “Kundo: Age of the Rampant,” a tale based on 19th-century bandits who waged war against the nobility and corrupt government officials.
“I tapped into movies that I used to love as a child,” said Yoon, when asked where he drew his inspiration from.
“Rather than making an intellectual film, I wanted to get hearts racing,” he said.
In the film, Ha plays Do-chi, a butcher turned bandit who is out for revenge, while Kang plays Jo-yoon, an officer who makes life difficult for the peasants.
The film marks Ha’s fourth collaboration with Yoon, who he most recently worked with on “Nameless Gangster.” Meanwhile, “Kundo” is Kang’s return to the spotlight.
“Not because he’s a friend, but really, I find his work so interesting,” Ha said about Yoon.
While it’s Kang’s first time working with Yoon, “Kundo” is significant as it is the actor’s first full feature since he starred in “Love for Sale” (2010).
Kang admitted it was hard getting back into “things like breathing techniques” after a hiatus following his military service.
“It’s been 10 years since my debut, and it’s only recently that I started thinking that I was a decent actor now, but then something like this [the film] makes me realize I still have a long way to go,” said Kang.
And while wearing socks in the middle of summer and handling a sword the size of a small man was challenging, Kang said the film did come with rewards, namely the chance to work with Ha, whom he said was a great leader and ice breaker.
“He’s just so funny,” said Kang, unable to stifle a laugh as he looked at his co-star during the press conference.
“Even looking into his eyes makes me laugh.”
Meanwhile, Ha was quick to return the compliment by saying he was “grateful that Kang Dong-won got my jokes and responded so favorably.”
Ha added that Kang was “very different” to how he imagined he would be. “I realized that Kang Dong-won is worth his name. There’s no-one like him,” he said.
When asked if any difficulties came up while shooting, Ha said it was more the preparation rather than the acting that was challenging.
“I filmed a period drama [before] and fell off a horsem,” said Ha. “So this time I asked the director if I could run instead, but he said don’t be ridiculous.”
And while getting back on a horse was difficult, there were also some other issues.
“Having to shave your head everyday was a lot of work,” said Ha. “Personally, I found putting on the beard and riding horses to be the most grueling jobs .?.?. After makeup, you’d be exhausted.”
Lee Sung-min, who plays the head of the Joseon gangsters, said there was something special about the set.
“There was just this amazing energy force because of the predominantly male cast,” said Lee.
“But for that reason there were times when I just felt like I couldn’t handle them, although I was the leader.”
The film opens next month.
By CARLA SUNWOO [email@example.com]