[Director’s Interview] Uncle Samsik – Song Kangho’s first TV drama

Disney+‘s latest Korean dramaUncle Samsik, is set in the era following the Korean War in the 1960s. The penisula went through an extended period of hardship, with citizens working tirelessly to make ends meet. Uncle Samsik telles a thrilling fictional story about two men’s aspirations to improce their country, no matter the cost.

Read on with our interview with Uncle Samsik‘s director, Shin Yeonshick as he shares more about this drama, which began entirely because of Song Kangho.

Q: How did Uncle Samsik come to be?
Direction Shin: Uncle Samsik began entirely because of Song Kangho. About a week after Kangho returned from Cannes and the Academy Awards for ParasiteI contacted him with the idea for Uncle Samsik. That day we sat down and discussed everything about the series, from who should be cast to how to secure the budget for the series. It was my first time sitting down with him for a project and I was a little stunned by how easily the meeting went. I thought it was too good to be true.
Q: Does that mean you only truly started developing the idea for Uncle Samsik after you met with Song Kangho?
Director Shin: I already had the story in my head, but after meeting Kangho I further developed the character and came up with the concept for Samsik, meaning “three meals”. I wanted this character to take pride in the fact that he ensured everyone around him was well-fed. That’s how I developed the character.
Q: How did you develop and build the character of Uncle Samsik, and were there any characters, series or films that you used as references?
Direction Shin: The concept of an uncle in Korea is quite unique, although I understand that some shades of the same concept exist in other countries. But I believe an uncle, in the sense that we talk about it in Korea, rarely exists anywhere else in the world. We all have that one person we call uncle even though they are not related by blood. You don’t know what this uncle does for a living. 
It is hard to figure out who this person is in terms of his character or personality. You don’t really know if he is a good person or not, for that matter. I think these “uncles” represent a type of people who were created in a very Korean and feudal society. An uncle could be your friend, or he could turn out to be your foe. We had numerous characters like that throughout Korean history. I wanted to explore that archetype. And as for Kangho, he had a massive influence on me throughout my career.
Q: Please tell us about the characters and the cast from your point of view. How did you cast the role of Uncle Samsik as portrayed by actor Song Kangho?
Direction Shin: I wouldn’t have developed the story and the character of Samsik without Kangho. I had no alternatives for the role, it was created specifically for him. As an actor, Kangho has played such a wide range of characters across numerous genres over the past three decades or so, and to top it off, he won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. I wasn’t surprised by how brilliant he was for this project. It’s always such great fun to work with him. As far as I know, acting is all he thinks about, and he doesn’t have many hobbies, which I actually share in common with him. Kangho is incredibly committed to delivering an excellent performance, which in turn had an amazing influence on me.
Q: What kind of character is Kim San?
Direction Shin: I would describe Kim San as an archetype of the political elite who are considered crucial pillars of Korea today. He had ambitions when he was younger, but he also has to grapple with the conflict between his desires and his philosophical outlook on life. His goals force him to make decisions that go against his principles and values.
Q: Why did you cast Byun Yohan for that role?
Direction Shin: His ambition for delivering a great performance is just as intense as Kangho’s. The two actors also share a mutual love and respect for each other. Both of them have such strong ambitions and a passion for acting.
Q: Can you tell us about Choo Yeojin? (acted by Jin Kijoo)
Direction Shin: I see her character as a beacon of sanity surrounded by numerous male characters driven by their respective ambitions.
She’s the most rational character in the series. I wanted Yeojin to be incredibly smart, talented, and endearing but not to have to show off these qualities. She’s a significantly better person than her father, than Kim San, and than Kang Seongmin (acted by Lee Kyuhyung). But if Yeojin had been conscious of her superiority, she would have been much less likeable.
Q: What should viewers expect from Uncle Samsik?
Direction Shin: Uncle Samsik features an extensive number of characters from different social classes, each with their own aspirations and desires.
These characters are brought to life by a cast of incredible actors who each poured so much of themselves into their roles.

Stream Uncle Samsik now on Disney+

KAvenyou: Singapore to Korea – Music, Wanderlust, Foodie, Lifestyle.

Interact with like-minded friends on our social media accounts:
Instagram: @KAvenyou
Twitter: @KAvenyou
Facebook: @KAvenyou
YouTube: @KAvenyou
Telegram: KAvenyou

For collaboration and advertising enquiries, do contact us at admin@kavenyou.com.

First to the deets? Share it to prove it...
You could have missed these out...