Posted on May 5, 2023 at 4:40 pm

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Interview: Kim Woo-Bin speaks on “Black Knight” releasing on Netflix!

From dust particles to ruined landmarks, the decrepit cityscape of Black Knight was painstakingly recreated using the latest visual effects technology. Premiering on May 12, the Korean series will transport audiences to a Seoul where oxygen is scarce due to severe air pollution.  

Written and directed by Cho Ui-seok, known for his work on Cold Eyes and Master, Black Knight is set in a future Korea reeling from the effects of a comet strike, and a brutal social hierarchy determines who has access to resources for survival.

In this harsh wasteland, deliverymen known as “knights” play an indispensable role in keeping people alive by delivering parcels of oxygen and other necessities. Former refugee 5-8, played by Kim Woo-bin, takes on this job and recruits others from the lowest rungs of society to help him overthrow the hierarchy.

Kim Woo-bin (
Kim Woo-bin (Netflix Credit)

Kim Woo-Bin who has acted in many different roles is now back on screen in Black Knight. We speak to him about his role in the film and how he prepared for the role.

What kind of preparation did you have to go through with this role that was different from your other roles?

So for every series and movie I do, I put a lot of time into building my character. I played a lot of different characters, but every time I start off with a new character, I first try to find some hints in the script, or the scenario first, and then I try to find some common grounds with the character, and then I try to expand from that for 5-8, I first looked at the scenario, I got some hints, and I had a lot of talks with the director as well. So if there were some voice, I try to fill that in with my own imagination. I think that’s how I prepared for my character.

Black Knight had VFX and we noticed that many of the scenes used VFX in terms of the desert and the location. What was the biggest challenge you had in acting as VFX was a major part of the series?


As you said, all the scenes that require VFX and it’s really hard to shoot for an actor, because it’s really different seeing the scene in front of you and having to imagine it just in your head. But then I had the best of the team with me on set, so they would give me a full, detailed explanation about how it’s going to be presented on screen. And also, I just wanted to say one thing that was most fun about playing with VFX, was that 5-8 is a heavy smoker. He smokes a lot in his truck, but I’m not a smoker.

So I asked the director can you actually make the smoke coming out of the cigarette with the effects? Then I’ll try to act like I am smoking, but actually, I’m not. And he said, that’s possible. So, actually, the smoke coming out out from my cigarette is VFX work. And I saw it on screen. I think it looked really real. So I really like that.

If you had to pick a character in the series that you wanted to play, besides the one that you played, Who would it be?

I think all the characters are so compelling and they’re so strong, so it’s a very hard question. I would love to try all the different characters in Black Night. But, because right now, I’ve so much love for Five Dash Eight. So I would go with five Dash eight once again.

As an actor how do you approach the balance between staying true to a character’s intentions while also maintaining the expectations of the director or writer?

I really prefer to put much more emphasis on communicating with the director and the staff and the crew, because I think a lot of people get together on set, and we have one common goal is to make a really good piece. So instead of thinking of my own ways to, you know, I dive into the character, I really like to talk to the director and talk to the crew about each and every scene. So for this  series, I also talked a lot with director and the crew, make sure that our intentions are shown on screen, and then we can make really good scenes together. And I also worked on my last film together with a director, so I think we have a connection even though we don’t talk that much we kind of and we know where each other is going.

Black Knight is based on a webcomic. Do you read the first material, and did it influence your portrayal of the character?

Ah, absolutely. When I was offered the role, I read the web tune, of course. But the director and the crew told me that it was based on this weapon, but it’s a whole different world and a whole different story they’re going to portray. So I read the weapon, but just to to see what the world view is like for them. And then you know, in the series Black Night, there’s whole different characters and there’s a whole different storyline. So I focus on the scenario the most in building my character and thinking about my character.

How did you prepare for the action scenes? Was it any way different from preparing to play scenes in other series and films?

Yes, I think for action scenes, only practice makes perfect. So a lot of practice was required.  I had the action team that I did work with before, so I felt very at ease with them, and they would make me feel very comfortable.  I got a lot of help from them. I think, to have a really great action sequence, it’s not something that one person can pull off on his own. It’s the whole teamwork and the chemistry of the team. So I was very honored to have such great people on my team working together with me.  I think, because they were such great  stunt actors, we didn’t have any safety issues or anything that happened. So I’m really happy for that.

Your question about whether the preparation was different from the other works, um, not necessarily. I think, for every work I work in, communication and practice is most important, and it was the same for this series as well.

What aspects would you say that you’re similar to your character in Black Night the series?

You know, I always have in mind that everyone deserves to be loved and that everyone is obliged to be happy. So, you know, 5-8  is born as a refugee. He’s discriminated against from the get go. He always thinks about why people have to live this way. He always thinks about why people have to live this way. Like, why are people discriminated against? So I think the thought process was quite similar to my own, so I wanted to get to know more about this guy. So that’s how I that’s why I think I’m kind of similar to the character, and that’s why I like my character.

What kind of message do you hope that viewers get after watching the series?

As I said before, everyone deserves to be loved and I think that’s the message that people can take away from this show. And it’s not just about the message, but there’s a lot of fun and entertainment aspects in the show. So I hope people enjoy that. And I hope people can just breathe in the whole experience together, just like I did.

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