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[Herald Interview] 2 new villains in ‘The Roundup: Punishment’ differentiate themselves in the details

Actors Kim Moo-yul, Lee Dong-hwi star as ruthless killer and cheeky mastermind, respectively

By Kim Da-sol

Published : April 24, 2024 - 17:46

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Kim Moo-yul (ABO Entertainment) Kim Moo-yul (ABO Entertainment)
Kim Moo-yul in “The Roundup: Punishment” (ABO Entertainment) Kim Moo-yul in “The Roundup: Punishment” (ABO Entertainment)

“The Roundup: Punishment,” the fourth installment of the country’s most successful crime action franchise, features two new villains.

Because the audience still remains captivated by the first installment’s Jang Chen (Yoon Kye-sang), an ethnic Korean gangster from Harbin who collects debts, and the second installment’s psychopathic serial killer, Kang Hae-sang (Son Suk-ku), many moviegoers are anticipating something new from the new villains, hoping perhaps they'll be even more formidable than their predecessors.

How did actors Kim Moo-yul and Lee Dong-hwi feel about these expectations?

“If I get buried in the idea of comparing my character with his predecessors, I can’t show anything different. So I focused on imitating their good parts and abandoning what felt like a minus (from villains in the previous installments). Besides, my priority was to stay in tune with the newly joining actors as well as the existing characters,” Kim told reporters during an interview in Seoul on April 18.

“Thanks to the villain characters in the previous installment, I can say that I literally had data to learn from,” he added.

“The Roundup: Punishment” follows detective Ma Seok-do (Ma Dong-seok), who takes charge of an incident involving a drug-trafficking app. As he uncovers a connection between the app’s developer and an illegal casino cartel, he learns that former Special Forces Agent Baek Chang-gi (Kim Moo-yul) and genius IT CEO Jang Dong-chul (Lee Dong-hwi) are behind it.

Lee Dong-hwi (ABO Entertainment) Lee Dong-hwi (ABO Entertainment)
Lee Dong-hwi in “The Roundup: Punishment” (ABO Entertainment) Lee Dong-hwi in “The Roundup: Punishment” (ABO Entertainment)

Actor Lee Dong-hwi said that what differentiated him from previous villains was in the details.

“When you play a supporting role, it’s natural that a lot of background and explanation (about the character) are omitted. But I didn’t see that as something to regret, rather, it felt like homework for me to add more detail,” Lee told reporters in a separate interview held in Seoul on Monday.

“To describe Dong-chul, what I did was to make use of small props and lines,” he added.

For Lee, Dong-chul is someone who is supercilious and obsessed with money and fame.

“To portray this character as someone who is a narcissist, I asked for his self-portrait to be placed here and there in his office and wore only (luxury brand) Thom Browne suits to convey the character’s craziness,” Lee added.

It is very likely that “The Roundup: Punishment” will walk the same path as the other installments -- the franchise has sold more than 30 million tickets so far -- and the movie would be both actors’ first film to reach 10 million moviegoers.

“Whenever I get a question about how I expect the box office results to be, I’m just grateful to be asked such a question. All I hope is that the audience will go to theaters and watch this entertaining movie,” Kim said.

“An actor must prove himself and it is his job to continuously challenge himself. I reminded myself that an opportunity will come if I continue with determination, although others might see me as attempting to 'hit a boulder with an egg,'" Lee said, using the Korean saying to hint at the difficulty of accomplishing such a task.

“The Roundup: Punishment” opened in local theaters on Wednesday.