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[Herald Interview] Song Kang-ho on why he doesn't do international projects

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Sept. 19, 2023 - 17:08

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Song Kang-ho (Barunson EA) Song Kang-ho (Barunson EA)

A household name in South Korea, actor Song Kang-ho returns to the screen in director Kim Jee-woon’s ensemble comedy “Cobweb,” marking their fifth project together. With “Cobweb,” Song visited Cannes for the eighth time.

He said he joined "Cobweb" with a desire to wow the audience through the concept of "this is exactly what a movie is."

“What intrigued me about ‘Cobweb’ was that it was not a typical genre film. The movie is about a director making a movie, which is a very new topic, not just for me but also for the audience. I found it very interesting,” Song told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Monday.

After receiving the best actor award at Cannes last year with “Broker,” Song’s films -- not only recent ones like “Parasite” but also those from earlier in his career such as “Foul King” -- have garnered popularity and attention around the world.

When asked if he plans to do more overseas projects, he simply said, "No."

“Although I did 'Broker' with Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, I don’t think I should do films with foreign directors or do overseas projects to make myself famous or boost the (international) status of Korean actors and movies," Song said.

"I think participating in making beautiful films in Korea will naturally see the world acknowledge the high quality of Korean content,” said Song.

“Cobweb” (Barunson EA) “Cobweb” (Barunson EA)

Song added that this particular project, "Cobweb," made him feel as if he was taken back to the time when he first met director Kim and they did some of his early films together.

“Over the past 25 years, we have done five films together. Director Kim is just as he was when we did our first project --‘The Quiet Family.’ ... I always look forward to what kind of journey he will create when we do a project together. That level of anticipation, of course, always ends with excitement,” Song said.

In “Cobweb,” Song portrays the complex feelings of shame and self-confidence felt by an overambitious filmmaker Kim Yeol, who is obsessed with changing the ending of his film. Song, 56, said he also feels those emotions as an actor. It is Song's first time playing a filmmaker in his 33-year-long acting career.

“I don’t think Kim Yeol is a strange person. I tried to portray an ambiguous feeling with the ending, where he somehow looks very satisfied while also looking like he’s not happy with it. I also do feel that. I sometimes think that I’m very good at acting and sometimes I feel less confident,” said Song. He added that he overcomes these feelings by trying to change such thoughts.

“Cobweb” hits local theaters on Sept. 27.