In a highly anticipated comeback, Korean heartthrob Kim Woo-bin graces our screens once again in the captivating series Black Knight, now streaming on Netflix. On behalf of Dorkaholics, I recently had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Woo-bin for an insightful round table interview, where he shared his thoughts on his latest project, the character he portrays, and the experience of making of this thrilling series.
Tatiana Hullender with Screen Rant asked Kim Woo-bin about his process for researching characters.
“As Black Knight is based on a webtoon, was that something that you read in order to gain more insight into 5-8?” Hullender asked. “Or did you base your work on the script and generally speaking, how do you approach research when it comes to playing a character?”
Kim Woo-bin acknowledged that he did read the original webtoon but was informed that the script would be telling a different story from the source material.
“So, for the first part of your question, when I was offered the role, the director told me to take a look at the webtoon. But it’s going to be very different. So, I did read it, but I focused mostly on the script,” Kim Woo-bin explained. “And when I prepare for a project and when I’m building my character, I try to first get a lot of hints from the script in and of itself and then I talk a lot with the director about who this guy is, and I try to imagine the parts that are not there on the script. And because everyone has so many different sides to him or her, I think I do too. When I meet a character for the first time, I try to find some common ground with him, and then I try to expand from there and go from there. So, I think as time goes by, I become much closer to my character in that way.”
For my turn, I asked Kim Woo-bin to describe the world of Black Knight in his own words.
“So, there’s this severe air pollution and the Korean Peninsula has become a desert wasteland, and there’s the legendary delivery man in Black Knight, 5-8, who delivers oxygen and other supplies and daily necessities to people,” Kim Woo-bin said. “And it’s also the story of these refugees. Sa-wol wants to become a black knight and together they want to go against the Cheonmyeong Group, which is like the omnipotent de facto ruler of that universe.”
Nobuhiro Hosoki with CinemaDaily US asked about the actor’s collaboration with the director as they previously worked together with Cho Ui-seok on the film Master.
“How was the collaboration working with Cho Ui-seok on a different project?” Hosoki asked.
“Yes, as you said, we worked on the film Master together and when we were working on the film, it was just pure joy and a lot of fun working together with him. I really loved this chance to collaborate once again with him and when he offered me the role, I was very happy, and he told me to just trust me. Because you know how I work, and we know how each other works. I did have that trust in him, so it was a very good, nice experience,” Kim Woo-bin shared. “And just thinking of the script itself, I thought this was a story that could happen in the far future. It shouldn’t, but it could happen. So that’s why it was a lot more intriguing to me. And I was also very curious about the thoughts and actions of 5-8. I was very reeled in by this character. I just really loved the entire process of working together with him on this project.”
Jianne Soriano from Lifestyle Asia asked how it felt approaching the science fiction genre for the first time with this series.
“I know this is your first science fiction series, although you did Alienoid previously, which is also in a similar genre,” Soriano asked. “Would you say you feel more familiar doing it the second time around? Or are there challenges to doing this genre?”
“Sci-fi is, of course, a challenge for the actors because you have to act based on your imagination. But then, as you said, it hasn’t been long since I worked on Alienoid. And for 13 months I was flying around. I was having beams coming out of my palms,” Kim Woo-bin said. “I think it was easier this time around and after working on Alienoid, I thought everything would be possible for me [and] I can take on any role. I felt very good about taking on this project and because I worked with the same team on this show, it was much easier for me.”
Screen Rant ‘s Hullender asked about the dynamic on set with Esom and Kang Yoo-seok.
“So 5-8 spends a lot of the drama mentoring Sa-wol, and Seol-ah is also very responsible for the man that Sa-wol becomes. What was it like having that dynamic on set with Esom and Kang Yoo-seok?” Hullender asked. “And how did you work together to bring out the best in each other?”
Kim Woo-bin shared a special bond with Esom as they both made their debut appearances in the same project years ago. He also recognized the natural talent that Kang Yoo-seok possessed as an actor.
“For Esom, she was actually in my debut series 13 years ago, so I have this special feeling for her. I was very happy to see her once again in this project and I think somehow, we have this kind of camaraderie because we both debuted in the same series,” Kim Woo-bin said. “And for Kang Yoo-seok, he’s a very good actor and he’s very upbeat and he has so much energy. I kind of understood why the director chose him, because he was just so good as Sa-wol. I didn’t really need to help him out in any way. He was wholesome on his own. He would just be shining on his own, so I just tried to immerse myself into the moments and just savor all the moments that I have on set with him, and we’d have lunch and dinner together. After the shooting was over, we talked a lot to make sure that we have this bond that would show on screen.”
I then asked about the themes of the series and the type of impact he wanted to have on viewers.
“I always think that everyone deserves to be loved and that everyone has the right to be happy. When I was first offered the role, I think I had a lot of common ground with 5-8 because we think the same way. That’s why I was really curious about him,” Kim Woo-bin explained. “I wanted to get to know him more and meet him. And I hope everyone who sees this series will feel and be reassured that we all deserve to be loved and that we all deserve to be happy. So, I just hope everyone becomes happier after watching this series.”
CinemaDaily US’s Hosoki asked about Kim Woo-bin’s thoughts about environmental issues which the series touched upon.
“I think this is something that could actually happen in the far, far future and we had the pandemic, we had things happening. I try to watch documentaries like other people do, and I try to be conscious of the fact of environmental issues that’s happening around us,” Kim Woo-bin shared. “I can’t say that I’m really doing a lot for the environment, but I try to use less plastic. I did use a cup today, but I try to use less plastic and just be alert of the fact that we are in this situation together. So, I think I have to try harder going forward.”
It was at this moment that he expressed some guilt about his efforts for the day, “I feel shy because I have this plastic cup in my hand.”
Lifestyle Asia’s Soriano closed out the roundtable by asking Kim Woo-bin what about 5-8 sets him apart from past roles.
“I think all the characters that I’ve played so far have just one common ground, which is my face because I’m them. I think this character was totally different in the way he thinks, in the way he acts, and the rationale behind all of his actions and words. I think his energy is also very different,” Kim Woo-bin said. “I tried to approach him in a totally different way and my little hope is that people watching the series would feel that 5-8 is a totally different character from the ones I’ve played so far.”
Catch Black Knight on Netflix starting May 12, 2023.
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