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[HanCinema's News] Ha Jung-woo Talks About "Narco-Saints"

Actor Ha Jung-woo and director Yoon Jong-bin have a special relationship. The two first worked together on "The Unforgiven" from 2005, "The Moonlight of Seoul" from 2007, "Nameless Gangster" from 2012, and "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant" from 2014. So it was no major surprise when the two agreed to team up for "Narco-Saints" on Netflix which was released on September 9th. Ha Jung-woo has had recent comments on the international crime film and his long-time collaborator.


Ha Jung-woo claims that Yoon Jong-bin knows him better than anyone, and that Yoon Jong-bin knows best how to bring out his strongest performances. But on the flip side, Ha Jung-woo is also the actor best adapted to Yoon Jong-bin's particular directing style. Despite this, the two had not worked together for eight years. However, Ha Jung-woo claims that they had discussed the basic premise of "Narco-Saints" from all the way back then with a fifteen page synopsis.

Originally the two had wanted to make "Narco-Saints" a feature film, but Yoon Jong-bin rejected the idea as he didn't see how the story could be compacted to under two hours and thirty minutes. Yoon Jong-bin went on to make "The Spy Gone North" in 2018, and by the time that movie was released, there had been rumblings of major changes in film production. Netflix was trying to establish itself as a credible producer of serious television style dramas, and negotations began anew.

Hwang Jung-min was immediately suggested for the role of Pastor Jeon, the sinister drug lord who crosses paths with the protagonist played by Ha Jung-woo a civilian who infiltrates Pastor Jeon's gang, who must deceive or die. Ha Jung-woo claimed that Yoon Jong-bin was especially necessary as a director, because Ha Jung-woo needed to evoke the clumsy, amateurish attitude of his earlier career- and Yoon Jong-bin was the only director who knew exactly what to look for in his performance.

According to Ha Jung-woo, the earlier parts of the drama were easier for him, as his character did indeed want to go to Suriname for money, so it was logical for him to try and make a drug deal with Pastor Jeon. But later on, as his character is nestled in the organization, there was more conflict that ultimately had to be cut for the six episode constraint. Ultimately family, rather than fear, is used to establish the latter character conflict.

Written by William Schwartz


"Narco-Saints" is directed by Yoon Jong-bin, written by Kwon Seong-hwi, Yoon Jong-bin, and features Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin, Yoo Yeon-seok, Choo Ja-hyun. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2022/09/09, Fri on Netflix.

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