ⓕ font-size

  • -2
  • -1
  • 0
  • +1
  • +2

Song Kang-ho explores Korea's devastating history with 'Uncle Samsik'

  • Facebook share button
  • Twitter share button
  • Kakao share button
  • Mail share button
  • Link share button
Actors Song Kang-ho, left, and Byun Yo-han pose during the press conference for Disney+'s new original series

Actors Song Kang-ho, left, and Byun Yo-han pose during the press conference for Disney+'s new original series "Uncle Samsik," held at Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in Gangnam District, Seoul, Wednesday. Courtesy of Walt Disney Company Korea

Veteran actor makes series debut after 3 decades
By Lee Gyu-lee

Veteran actor Song Kang-ho has taken on his first TV series role in 35 years of his career with Disney+'s new original series "Uncle Samsik," slated to premiere on May 15.

Directed and scripted by filmmaker Shin Yeon-shick, who scripted the 2016 historical film "Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet," the 16-part series takes viewers back to 1960s Korea, a time of rebuilding after the 1950-53 Korean War.

It follows the life of Park Doo-chill (Song), who goes by the name Uncle Samsik — equivalent to the Korean word for three meals. As the country is going through difficult times, Park's priority has always been providing his family with three meals a day. But when he meets Kim San (Byun Yo-han), an elite idealist who is ambitious to reshape the country's fortunes, Park convinces him to work together for the country's prosperity.

"This is a very Korean title. Since (the series) is set against the era when people were desperate for food, it captures a lot of unique sentiments of Korea," Song said during a press conference for the series at Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas in Gangnam District, Seoul, Wednesday.

"Although the historical setting isn't the main focus of the series, it reflects the lives we are living through fictional characters. So I have high hopes (for the series) as I think it can be a thought-provoking piece."

A scene from the series

A scene from the series "Uncle Samsik," showing actors Byun Yo-han, left, and Song Kang-ho / Courtesy of Walt Disney Company Korea

The director shared that the series will delve deeper into the roots of Korean society, which rebuilt itself completely after the war.

"I think Korea is the only country that asks if one has eaten as a greeting. (The series) portrays the difficult times right after the Korean War, when it was truly challenging to have even one meal a day," Shin said.

"I've been living in Korea for over 40 years but I find it unfamiliar and difficult to adapt. I've always been curious about the society I live in and the people making up that society. I also wanted to explore the origins of the people who formed present-day Korea and this was the perfect timing. Some may see ‘Uncle Samsik' as a historical drama and others might see it as film noir, but to me, it's a romance story."

Song expressed excitement about his series debut, eager to challenge himself with different cinematic formats. With an impressive film career spanning over 40 titles, Song has achieved significant milestones, including starring in four films that each drew over 10 million viewers and holding the distinction of being the first Korean male to win Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival.

"I engage with many fans and audiences through my work, sharing and enjoying the values of the work with them. As many would know, we live in such a diverse era. And on that note, I believe the most important thing is communicating with the fans. I wanted to try various approaches through different channels," the actor said.

"So I came to join this series naturally. I've talked about this with the director, but ‘Uncle Samsik' is different from many streaming service series that are trending now. So, it could feel more adventurous and refreshing. That triggered my curiosity and enthusiasm, which led me to this point."

"Uncle Samsik" will release five episodes on May 15 and two episodes every Wednesday afterward.

Lee Gyu-lee


Top 10 Stories

go top LETTER