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Werewolf tale brings out beast in Song

Jo Sung-hee's upcoming film 'A Werewolf Boy' brings fantasy genre to local cinema

For fans of Song Joong-ki, his upcoming film may come as a surprise. For local moviegoers, it will be a rare opportunity to see a one-of-a-kind film character never before shown in Korean cinema.

Song, who is largely recognized for his pretty-boy looks, is returning as a beast, or a “wolf-boy” in director Jo Sung-hee’s upcoming fantasy romance “A Werewolf Boy.”

The upcoming flick tells the story of a teenage girl Suni (Park Bo-young) who is sent to a country house for health reasons in the 1960s and there runs into a feral boy in the woods who she befriends. Song plays the boy whose body temperature is 46 degrees Celsius, his blood type unidentifiable, and who can neither read nor speak.

Because of her delicate health, the beautiful yet introverted Suni lives an isolated life in the country home, without any friends her age until she meets the boy. By using a training manual for dogs, Suni begins to “civilize” the beast and the two eventually becomes very close. 
A scene from “A Werewolf Boy” (CJ Entertainment)
A scene from “A Werewolf Boy” (CJ Entertainment)

This coming-of-age story is a unique addition to the commercial movie industry in Korea, where the fantasy genre has been virtually non-existent.

This is the first commercial film by director Jo, who has been active in Korea’s indie film scene.

After graduating college with a degree in graphic design, Jo entered the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA). His graduation project at KAFA, “Don’t Step Out of the House” (2008), won a number of awards from film festivals at home and overseas, including the Cannes International Film Festival, Jeonju International Film Festival and Seoul Independent Film Festival.

During a press meeting on Wednesday, actor Song said Jo made him read over 40-pages worth of character analysis of the beast, which the filmmaker wrote during the pre-production phase of the movie.

“I was deeply moved by director Jo’s passion,” Song told reporters.

“But I was also overwhelmed at the same time. I was worried that the shooting of the film was going to be very intense and rigorous.”

While Song did not have many lines to memorize for the film, he had to learn how to do mime and imitate the body movements of the animal. The actor said he repeatedly watched footage of Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings,” to prepare himself for the character, as well as Matt Reeves 2010 romantic vampire flick “Let Me In” and Tim Burton’s 1990 romantic fantasy “Edward Scissorhands.”

“I also studied the movements of dogs that I’d run into on streets,” he said.

The film was invited to Toronto International Film Festival’s “Contemporary World Cinema” section earlier this month, and will also be screened during the upcoming Busan International Film Festival, which kicks off next week.

A CJ Entertainment release, the movie opens in theaters on Oct. 31.

By Claire Lee (
Korea Herald Youtube