The Netflix drama ‘Suriname’ tells the story of a civilian framed for a ‘drug godfather’ who has taken over Suriname, a South American country, and receives a secret mission from the National Intelligence Service.
The films ‘The Unforgiven’, ‘War on Crime: The Age of Bad Guys’, ‘Kundo: Age of Rebellion’ and ‘The Peacock’ are the first series directed by director Jong-bin Yoon, representative of the Korean noir genre . . It is becoming increasingly popular around the world, ranking first globally in the weekly non-English TV category on Netflix.
“After ‘Suriname’ was released, I got a lot of calls. Even my classmates in elementary school contacted me. Not long ago, Nicholas Cage also wrote about ‘Suriname’…”
Director Yoon Jong-bin received an offer to direct ‘Suriname’ and turned it down once. The reason was “I can’t afford it”. It was deemed difficult to make a ‘film’ because it is a work that deals with real events and people and contains an extensive story.
“There was a time when I thought I wanted to shoot a crime drama after filming ‘Cooperation’. At that time, I received an offer to direct ‘Suriname’ again, and I said, ‘If I make it a series, I’ll ‘try it’.”
Director Yoon Jong-bin thought the warrior ‘Kang In-gu’ (played by Ha Jung-woo) was important. It was believed that the unraveling of the warrior ‘Kang In-gu’ in ‘Suriname’, which includes the history of real events and characters, would distinguish it from existing hidden films.
“This is also the reason why I insisted on the series. Why did ‘Kang In-goo’ do the hiding? I thought if I cut all the characters’ warriors and shortened them to two hours, we would make a difference.” ”
‘Suriname’ is a dramatization of a real event. It is an adaptation of the story of Jo Bong-haeng, a Korean drug lord who gained Surinamese citizenship, and his civilian colleague K, who played a decisive role in his arrest.
“When I first heard about ‘Suriname’, I thought it was ridiculous. When I saw it documented, I was like, ‘Does this make sense?’ It was so like a movie.”
However, director Jong-bin Yoon met Mr. K and removed all doubts. K, described by Jong-bin Yoon, a strong look and appearance, and an overwhelming atmosphere to him. He said he decided to understand everything by looking at Mr. K and said, “I can do this enough.”
“The warrior in ‘Kang In-gu’ borrowed a lot from Mr. K’s history. He lived a different life from others. He had no choice but to live a strong life. After meeting him and hearing his story, I understood And I tried to reflect that to ‘Kang In-goo’ too. I thought viewers would be convinced just like me by explaining that I am the ‘owner of a strong soul’.”
The story of Mr. K, which looked like a film, rather difficult to make into a drama. Because it’s close to a cinematic cliché.
“The things Mr. K showed to gain Jo Bong-haeng’s trust are things we see a lot in noir films. He even fights with Chinese gangs on purpose. He’s like DiCaprio from the movie” The Departed’! I couldn’t do it, so I worked to reduce it. Meanwhile, the character of ‘Kang In-gu’ was funny and smiling.”
In Yoon Jong-bin’s work, ‘father’ is a very important subject. He has dealt with his father’s story directly or indirectly in a number of works such as ‘War on Crime’ and ‘Kundo’.
“‘Kang In-gu’ is a character who says, ‘I don’t want to live a life like my father,’ but in the end he also lives a life like his father. ‘Father’ is not the big theme. ‘Suriname’, but I imagined a character called ‘Kang In-gu’. It became inevitable while I was doing it, in fact, he drives ‘Kang In-gu’ (undercover activities ) just like Mr K.”
Director Yoon said that after becoming a real father, there are also changes in the works.
“The difference between ‘War Against Crime’ and ‘Suriname’ is that I became a father. Perhaps that experience was reflected in the work as well.”
Director Yoon explained that ‘Jeon Yo-han’ (Hwang Jung-min) and ‘Kang In-gu’ have similarities as they are obsessed with money, but there is a clear difference.
“The reason they are both different is because of the ‘line’. One crosses the line and the other doesn’t. I think of him as ‘father’ and ‘fatherless’. She doesn’t cross’ r line, and she is a person who sees a little girl as her daughter and wins her heart.”
‘Suriname’ has a series of actors such as Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin, Yoo Yeon-seok, and Jang Chen. Director Yoon said, “All the actors’ performances were excellent, but I was always surprised when Ha Jung-woo and Hwang Jung-min met.”
“Jung-Woo Ha and Jung-Min Hwang have very different acting styles and tendencies. If Jung-Min Hwang shows fiery smoke that eats everything, Jung-Woo Ha shows flexible and sensible water. Looking at him , I thought, ‘Does it fit better than I thought?’ I admired him.”
He also mentioned the actor Chang Chen, who played the role of ‘Chen Jin’. He added that he puts a lot of effort into casting.
“The amount of ‘Chen Jin’ is not much, but he is a very important key character. I thought we needed an actor with a strong presence. The one that came to mind was Mr. Chang, and he worked hard to persuade him. “I can, but I really need you.”
He directed the work of an online video service (OTT) and admitted to having a thirst for films.
“While making ‘Suriname’, I was a bit thirsty for film work. I realized, ‘Oh, that’s what I was doing.’ Unlike OTT, movies are made on the premise of being shown in theaters. Big screen Small details stand out. when you look at it, so you have no choice but to stick with it and do it very carefully.”
However, director Yoon also expressed concerns about ‘theatre films’.
“I want to make a film. The world seems to be changing too fast. What I feel these days is that ‘theatre films’ are becoming a genre. It seems to be limited to works which emphasizes blockbuster or spectacle. ‘Do I really want to do that??’ If you ask me a question, it’s not. It’s true that I still have a lot of trouble in that regard.”
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