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'He’s like the sun’: Director Koreeda praises veteran actor Song Kang-ho

A scene from Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Broker” (CJ ENM)
A scene from Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Broker” (CJ ENM)

Even for veteran director Hirokazu Koreeda, who won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 for “Shoplifters,” directing a movie in a foreign country was a challenge.

During a press conference at CGV Yongsan in Seoul on Tuesday, the Japanese director said he got a lot of help from “Parasite” star Song Kang-ho while filming his movie, “Broker.”

“Before shooting the film, I had a meeting with director Bong Joon-ho. We talked over a meal and he gave me suggestions on shooting a film in a foreign country. He said I must be nervous directing a movie in a foreign country, but once everything begins, all I have to do is believe in Song Kang-ho,” the director said.

“He told me that Song Kang-ho is like a sun that will shine light everywhere on the filming site. After I worked with him, I realized that he (Bong) was right. Because of Song, I was able to finish the project without any problem.”

Koreeda’s highly anticipated film centers around the relationships formed through a “baby box,” a drop box installed at churches or institutions for desperate parents to leave babies anonymously. It aims to prevent those parents from abandoning or even killing their newborns.

Song plays Sang-hyun, a mysterious “broker” who finds new parents for the abandoned babies and makes special deals with them. Korean heartthrob Gang Dong-won plays Sang-hyun’s business partner. Bae Doo-na plays a police officer who is on Sang-hyun’s trail. Singer and actor IU plays a mother who travels with Sang-hyun to find parents for her baby.

During the press conference, Song recalled his first meeting with the director in Busan.

“It was six or seven years ago, we met for the first time at the Busan International Film Festival. The title was not ‘Broker’ at the time,” Song said. “I decided to take the role because I am his fan and I love his works. He is an artist that I respect, so I was honored.”

The director also briefly talked about the movie being selected to premiere at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

“No matter how many times I’ve been there, Cannes always makes me nervous. I am also excited to be there. I think it is the best place for the world premiere of ‘Broker’,” the director said.

The 75th Cannes Film Festival will run from May 17-28.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the press event, Song stood up and talked about the late Korean actor Kang Soo-youn, who died from cerebral hemorrhage on Saturday at the age of 55.

“We actors are grieving over the tragic news from a few days ago,” Song said. “On behalf of the whole ‘Broker’ team, I offer condolences to Kang Soo-youn.”

“Broker” will hit local theaters on June 8.

By Song Seung-hyun (