Synopsis : In a dystopian future devastated by air pollution, the survival of humanity depends on the Black Knights, and they’re far from your average deliverymen.
Starring: Kim Woo-Bin, E Som, Song Seung-heon, Kang Yoo-seok, Kim Ui-seong
TV Network: Netflix
Premiere Date: May 12, 2023
@Photo by Kim Jin-young/Netflix – © 2023 Netflix, Inc.
Exclusive Interview with Actor Kim Woo-Bin
Q: “Black Knight” is based on a webtoon. Was that something that you read in order to gain more insight into 5.8 or did you base your work on the script? Generally speaking, how did you approach research when it comes to playing this character?
KWJ: When I was offered the role, I did take a look at the webtoon. Of course, I read it. The series Is based on the webtoon but the work being based on the webtoon it’s a whole different story it’s a whole different universe. Director Cho Ui-seok told me that take a look at the webtoon but it’s going to be very different. I did read it but I focused mostly on the script. When I prepare for a project, and I’m building my character, I try to first get a lot of hints from the script in and of itself. Then I talk a lot with the director about who this guy is. I try to imagine the parts that are not there in the script. Everyone has so many different sides to him or her, I think I do too. And when I meet a character for the first time, I try to find some common grounds with him. Then I try to expand and go from there. I think as time goes by, I become much more closer to my character in that way.
Q: How would you describe the world and the story that you’ve created in “Black Knight” for Netflix?
KWJ: To describe the series in short, there’s this severe air pollution and the Korean peninsula has become a desert wasteland. There’s a legendary delivery man in Black Knight 5-8 who delivers oxygen and other supplies and daily necessities to people. It’s also the story of a refugee [boy] who wants to become a Black Knight. Together they want to go against the Cheonmyeong Group, who are like omnipotent de-facto rulers of this universe.
Q: You and director Cho reunited after the blockbuster hit film, “Master.” How was the collaboration between you two on a different project — were you as comfortable working with him again?
KWJ: We worked together on “Master” and when we were working on the film, it was just pure joy and a lot of fun. I really loved this chance to collaborate with him once again. When he offered me the role, I was very happy. He told me that trusted me because you know how I work and we know how each other works. I had that trust in him. It was a good experience just thinking about the script itself. I thought this was a story that could happen in the far future. It shouldn’t, but it could happen. That’s why it was a lot more intriguing to me. I was also very curious about the thoughts and actions of 5-8. I was reeled in by this character. I just really loved the entire process of working together with him on this project.
Q: This is your first science fiction series, although you did the movie “Alienoid” previously, which is pretty similar in the genre. Do you feel more familiar doing it a second time around? Are there challenges to doing this genre?
KWJ: Sci-fi is of course a challenge for actors because you have to act based on your imagination. But then it hasn’t been so long since I worked on “Alienoid.” For 13 months, I was flying around. I was shooting beams out of my palm, so I think it was easier this time around. After working on “Alienoid” I thought everything would be possible for me. I can take on any role. I felt very good about taking on this project because I worked with the same team on this show, so it was much easier.
Q: 5-8 spends a lot of time in this drama mentoring Sa-wol and Seul-ah, and is also responsible for the man that Sa-wol becomes. What was that dynamic with Esom and Kang Yoo-seok like on set? How did you work together to bring out the best in each other?
KWJ: I have a special feeling for Esom, who was in my debut series 13 years ago. I was very happy to see her once again in this project. I think we have this kind of camaraderie because we both debuted in the same series. Kang Yoo-seok is a very good actor, very upbeat and has so much energy. I understood why the director chose him because he was just as good as Sa-wol. I didn’t really need to help him out in any way. He was wholesome and shining on his own. I just tried to immerse myself into the moments and just savor all the moments that I had on set with him. We’d have lunch and dinner together after the shooting was over. We talked a lot to make sure that we had this bond that would show on screen.
Q: How would you describe the themes of “Black Knight” and what effect or feeling do you want viewers to experience after they view the series?
KWJ: I always think that everyone deserves to be loved and has the right to be happy. When I was first offered the role, I think I had a lot of common grounds with 5-8 because we think the same way. That’s why I was really curious about him. I wanted to get to know him more and meet him. And I hope everyone who sees this series would 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.
Q: You previously touched on how much you’re conscious about current climate and environmental issues. The situation could easily turn into a COVID-like crisis in this city or maybe [something else]. How much are you currently aware about these things?
KWJ: As I said before, I think this is something that could actually happen in the far, far future. We had the pandemic, and had other things happening. I try to watch documentaries like other people do, and be conscious of the fact of environmental issues happening around us. I try to do what I can. 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. I try to be alert of the fact that we are in this situation together. I have to try harder going forward. I feel shy because I have this plastic cup in my hand.
Q: What makes 5-8 different from other characters that you’ve played in the past?
KWJ: I think all the characters that I’ve played so far have one thing in common — my face. I’m them. But this character was totally different in the way he thinks and acts, and the rationale behind his actions and words [was different as well]. So was his energy. I tried to approach him in a totally unique way. My hope is that people watching the series feel that 5-8 is a different character from the ones I’ve played so far.
Here’s the trailer of the series.