‘Parasite’s Song Kang Ho and Park So Dam on its Universal Appeal and Cultural Impact

     October 19, 2019

After Bong Joon Ho‘s latest masterpiece Parasite won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, the level of anticipation for the film went next level. To prove this point, you don’t need to look any further than this past weekend when the film was released in just three theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The film cleared a whopping $376,264 for a $125,421 per-theater average that set a record for an international film opening in the United States. Parasite is a dark, unsettling drama that initially follows a family of limited means who tricks their way into the lives of a rich family and get way more than they bargained for as a result. The film makes grand statements about class warfare, the perils of financial disparity, and the fact that no matter what level you are at, there is always someone lurking on the level just below you wanting what you have.


Image via CJ Entertainment

Just before Parasite opens in more theaters this weekend, I had the chance to sit down with Song Kang Ho and Park So Dam who play the father and daughter of the impoverished family. Song has worked with Bong on three of his previous films including Snowpiercer, The Host and Memories of Murder, and Park is an up and coming young actress who delivers one of the standout performances in the film. Parasite also stars Jang Hye Jin, Choi Woo Shik, Lee Sun Kyun and Jo Yeo Jeong.

  • How has Bong Joon Ho changed as a director for Song Kang Ho from Memories of Murder to now with Parasite?
  • What influences did Park So Dam use from her own life or people she knows to construct her character of Kim ke-Jung?
  • What are Song’s most memorable moments from working on the 76-day shoot?
  • What surprised Park about working with Bong Joon Ho and Song Kang Ho?
  • What excited and drew Song to exploring the themes and symbolism inherent in Bong’s script?


    Image via Cannes Film Festival

  • As a younger person, how did Park react to some of the themes in the script and Bong’s statements about the behavior of human beings in the film?
  • Does Song have any acting rituals that he goes thru before tackling a dramatic scene in a film?
  • Does Song feel like he was channeling some elements of his own father in his creation of the character Kim ki-taek?
  • Judging from her bio, Park has had to deal with a lot of rejection before achieving this success, how strong is her drive to succeed as an actress?
  • Also, since the musical Grease influenced Park to get into acting, what is her favorite song from the musical?
  • Why does Song think that Parasite has struck a chord with so many people who have seen the movie?
  • Did Song and Park realize that they were making something special when they were shooting the film?


    Image via NEON

  • What did they do as actors to create the family connection so it would be believable onscreen? And did they not spend time with the actors playing the richer family?
  • How much did the script change for Song from when he read it to when you shot it on set? Also, did he offer any suggestions for changes to the script to Bong when they were shooting?
  • What was Park’s biggest physical challenge for her during the making of the film?
  • Did they each get a rock (that is seen in the movie) as an end-of-shoot gift?
  • How has the experience of working on the movie changed Park from when she started shooting the film to now and seeing the reaction from the audiences?
  • Do Park or Song have an interest in appearing in a superhero movie in the future?
  • What does Song and Park hope people will take from the experience of seeing the film?

parasite-us-posterHere’s the official synopsis for Parasite:

Bong Joon Ho brings his singular mastery home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale.

Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, PARASITE showcases a modern master at the top of his game.

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