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Kang Dong-won slays in Kundo

Kang Dong-won is making the press rounds for Kundo: Age of the Rampant (also known as Band of Thieves), which hits theaters on July 23. After finishing work on the movie Psychic in 2010, Kang headed to mandatory military service for two years, then spent another couple of years catching his breath and carefully reviewing offers. He did an interview a couple of days ago, and was asked how he came to select Kundo as his comeback work, a project that didn’t even have a script to its name when he signed on.

Kang said, “I had previously heard that Director Yoon Jong-bin wanted to work with me. I, in turn, had seen Nameless Gangster and had been curious about him. So I asked Director Yoon to get together for drinks. He brought with him the idea [of Kundo] and asked if I would like to work together with him on it — although he did warn me beforehand, ‘You’ll be playing a villain. Is that okay?’”

After meeting with Kang, Director Yoon began writing the screenplay for Kundo immediately. Upon receiving the finished product, Kang was satisfied with the movie’s message, his character, and the entertainment factor — especially his character. “The character stood out from the screenplay. In addition, the director had faith in me. It was an ideal project.”

In Kundo, Kang plays Jo Yoon, a son of a provincial governor and a concubine in the latter years of the Joseon Dynasty. As an illegitimate child, he is never acknowledged by his father, and his father’s contempt is deeply and bitterly felt. Jo Yoon eventually grows into a notorious and atrocious monster of a person; he is an excellent swordsman who viciously defends the nobility he can never be a part of.

Kang Dong-won’s action skills are on full display in the film, and as his traditional garb swishes about while he wields a long sword (snerk), his fight scenes almost give the elegant appearance of a modern-day dance. It almost appears as if the actor intended to depict dignity, but Kang insists he just focused his energy on “powerful action.”

“The point of the movie was action. What the director ordered from me as he was making this film was powerfully strong action scenes. I knew that was my number one responsibility, and I told the director not to worry.” He continued, “In order to fully prepare for this movie’s action scenes, I took up swordfighting four months before production began.”

Most of Kundo’s scenes were shot without stunt doubles, in accordance with the actor’s preference. “Beginning with my first action movie, Temptation of Wolves, I rarely used stunt doubles. Because I enjoy and am good at physical activity, I never feel an additional burden from doing action films. That doesn’t mean I favor action movies over films of other genres, but when I’m tasked with an action role, it tends to squeeze everything out of you, so I try my best.”

As noticeable as his action work is the expressiveness of Kang’s eyes. The actor said, “Jo Yoon’s personality is so twisted, I tried to give off that intensity in my eyes. When thinking about the character, I thought Jo Yoon viewing others with a slightly slanted look would be appropriate, so I not only practiced acting with my eyes, but thought about the angle as I was doing it.”

Kang’s been picked over and over as the actor Chungmuro directors would most like to work with. Prior to the release of Snowpiercer last year, famed director Bong Joon-ho even said that he had originally envisioned Kang over Chris Evans in the lead role. Director Yoon has also been an open fan of the actor. What does the actor think of his popularity within the industry?

“Well, my first reaction is that it feels good. However, Director Bong never gave me the screenplay,” Kang jokes. Turning more contemplative, he said, “I’m not sure if I have a good image with the public, but it feels as though the film industry has taken a liking to me. I think it’s because I work really hard on set — even more than you could imagine. As more industry folks hear about my work ethic, I’m guessing they think, ‘Here’s a kid I can work with.’ I’m really someone who goes all in for a movie. That’s what I’ve done my entire career, and I’m going to work even harder in the future.”

The actor has said he hasn’t been sleeping well as of late as a result of the hype built up around Kundo. “I think a call for ten million in admissions is ambitious. Initially I just hoped the movie would break even, and because the final product turned out well, I have a feeling that’s quite possible. I’m more concerned with meeting viewers’ expectations than I am with a movie being a box-office success.”

As the project that quenched his pent-up acting thirst after four long years, Kundo holds a special meaning for the actor. He said, “Kundo is the first work of my 30s. If I imagine my acting career to be 100 pages long, I’ve just turned over the first page and started on the second. I think Kundo is a satisfying start to the second page, and I’ll continue to work tirelessly.”

That’s great for all of us who’ve been waiting aaaages for this movie and for Kang Dong-won’s return. Here’s hoping Kundo reaches ten million in ticket sales, and beyond.

Via SBSfunE

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Oh how I missed you so much Kang Dong Won! Those photos with the the sword....rawr.

also, Temptation of Wolves will always be one of my favorite Kmovies....EVER

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Thank you so much for translating his interviews !!
Kundo box-office Day 1: 549 366 tickets => me very happy :)
I can't wait to watch the movie !!

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Just checked with Korean Film Council updates, KUNDO admission for July 23 2014 is at 565 249. It broke the record previously held by Transformer 3 (2011) as the highest first day admissions for all films and domestic film held by Secretly Greatly...
Transformer 3 is 540K and Secretly greatly at 490K.

I am so happy for Kang Dong won, Ha Jung woo, PD Yoon and the rest of the cast! congrats!!
I think this year is turning out to be KDW's year with this movie and My palpitating Life. and also a year for Jo JIn Woong and Ma Dongseok who are supporting cast in these movie yet are getting great review for their other works not just this movie.

10Million admissions is much nearer...!!!

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Ahhhh
did you guys see this ?!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWol70z5sr0
The teaser video for his movie with Song Hye Kyo !!

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Thanks for sharing the link. A-Reum doesn't look like a "withering old man", does he? I was expecting a veteran actor to portray A-Reum.

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Missed him, definitely!

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Be still my heart! It is our beloved KDW. He's finally back.

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I don't get the snerk along with the long sword line !
Am I missing some dirty joke here ? :-o

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The sword between his legs? Or is that a sign of my dirty mind going into overdrive?

But no one yields a bigger sword than this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADQpFQbZBrs

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Richard Armitage! (sorry for going off tangent -- I just really love him. and rawr on that clip)

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Thank you for translating this article. I love reading full length translated interviews/articles more than soundbites.

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I love him so much! So excited to see him acting again, and in such an interesting, ambitious movie. Can't wait to watch!

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I have confidence in director Yoon Jong Bin and in both Kang Dong Won and Ha Jung Woo. I am really excited and hoping this will turn big.

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Yay.... KDW is baaaaack ^.^
He will probably be just as great as in The Duelist ( my fav)
I just have to be patient and wait for Kundo to come to the US

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Welcome back KDW~
Putting it on my "to watch" list :D
It doesn't matter whether he is the protagonist or the antagonist, his acting is always going to bring him right in the center of the spot light :D

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He looks like Joo won ??!!

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no joo won looks like him and also jung jinyoung.

he is the master of his type of face hehehe.

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i agree he is the master of the face...he he he he he...
with those eyes and acting skills....****love it...no offense but joo woon is still far from him....

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Ok I can't argue about this one because I don't have any idea about this actor heheh just saw him once in Entertaitment weekly not long ago ???

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just curious, are you referring to jung jinyoung the idol boy or the actor man. only bc i can't really see the resemblance between either of them.. or maybe i'm looking at the wrong person.

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Maybe it's jung joon young the rocker and 2 nights 1 day member. He looks like kdw a lot.

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I really want to see this! I love what he said about using his eyes to convey the character's personality.

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? my first love

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I've never heard of him and now am glad you brought him to my attention. thanks!

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You MUST watch The Duelist & you will know why he's HOT ^.^

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I second this comment right herrr. WATCH IT

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I also love him in the DUELIST. but I also highly recommend the movies M, Secret Reunion, Haunters, Temptation of Wolves.

for something light try Too Beautiful to Lie

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Yes to Duelist!! with the amazing Ha Ji Won.

'his fight scenes almost give the elegant appearance of a modern-day dance' this immediately reminds me of Duelist. the fight scenes were absolutely gorgeous.

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thanks! will try.

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You've never heard of him until today? Are you sure? He's been mentioned a fair bit on Dramabeans, despite the fact that he's a film actor rather than a drama one.

You've been missing out.

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looks like i have been. i tend not to remember folks until i've seen them in a movie. His face seems somewhat familiar so i might have seen him in a movie but never really thought about his acting or his name. But..better late than never, right?

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Watched it yesterday and it was awesomeee! (: somehow you cant help but root for him even though he is a villian (the complex kind, not the one dimensional one)

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I'm keeping my fingers crossed we'll get this at the London Korean Film Festival – we stand a good chance, I think, I could see them even having it as the opening film.

I'm not much into action, but I'm glad that some of my favourite actors have diverse tastes and inspire in enough confidence (with their film choices) in me that every now and then I get to branch out and watch something that I otherwise wouldn't. Kang Dong-won certainly has that appeal.

Thanks for translating the article/interview – KDW comes across as humble and as an actor that keeps a low profile, which I appreciate.

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i don't care whether he is villain or main actor....rawr i got this feeling that it is one of those movies which will mark his acting another mile stone "haven't he reach the highest already, great actor"...I've been watching his movies always because drat this guy is so good as an actor in any role and he is not afraid of the roles he's playing...i love him also in temptation but maundy thursday was my favorite. swooning****and he is soooooooooo back...i miss this face and actor....
all thumbs up....hopefully i can't watch the movie soon.
anyone who watch the movie please give as a review.
thanks in advance.

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Honestly, ever since I watched him in 1% (awesome daily drama) he's just pulled me in.his characters are so different from him, and his interviews are awesome. I like him, no pretentions. 2 hat you see is what you get with him

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Omo, he is incredibly gorgeous. Can't wait to see this upcoming movies :)

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*his

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First love is back!!!!,

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Goodness!! He looks dashing in a clean cut way. Is it just me or does he look a bit like jodie foster??? :)

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Thank you for the article, awcoconuts !

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And Kundo just hit 3 million admissions this weekend *bows*

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Great movie! This was my first Dong Won Kang movie and I immediately became a fan. My, he is PRETTY! One of the most handsome Asians I've ever seen and so talented.

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