How Bong Joon Ho Discovered Song Kang-ho for ‘Memories of Murder’ — and Made Them a Dream Team

The following is an excerpt from screenwriter and critic Karen Han’s new book “Bong Joon Ho: Dissident Cinema,” now available from Abrams Books.

The book includes a survey of Bong’s work, ranging from “Barking Dogs Never Bite” to “Parasite,” and this excerpt comes from a chapter on his film “Memories of Murder” from 2003.Bong has said that as he began storyboarding “Memories of Murder,” it became clear that the film was a “road movie for faces,” beginning with Doo-man’s claims about being able to read a suspect by face alone.

“The actors’ faces and how we shot them inevitably became a very important aspect of the film.” Park Hae-il, for instance, was cast for his “innocent face with his doe eyes,” which Bong believed would only make the idea that he might be a killer even scarier.The face upon which the camera focuses the most frequently is that of Song Kang-ho.

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