Song Joong-ki, Choi Sung-eun show love is what matters in 'My Name is Loh Kiwan'

From left, actor Choi Sung-eun, director Kim Hee-jin and actor Song Joong-ki pose for a photo at a press conference for the upcoming film ″My Name is Loh Kiwan″ in Mapo District, western Seoul, on Tuesday. [NETFLIX]

A story of a North Korean defector never fails to bore, but upcoming Netflix film "My Name is Loh Kiwan" is more about the love that even the most marginalized of people find despite their ordeal, according to lead actor Song Joong-ki.

The film, an adaptation of the 2011 short novel “I Met Loh Kiwan” by Cho Hae-jin, follows the story of Loh Kiwan, a North Korean defector who goes to Belgium to receive refugee status. Determined to survive, Loh is left stranded in a country in which he doesn’t speak the language, nor has any means of getting by.

Actor Song Joong-ki, who plays the titular role of Loh Kiwan in upcoming Netflix film ″My Name is Loh Kiwan,″ answers questions from reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. [NETFLIX]

Song takes the role of Loh in his first work in over five months since the neo-noir film "Hopeless" (2023). He previously played lead roles in KBS2 drama series "Descendants of the Sun" (2016) and JTBC's "Reborn Rich" (2022).

“I still get emotional thinking of what Kiwan must have felt as an outsider, alone in a place where he cannot speak the language yet still trying to survive,” Song said at a press conference on Tuesday in Mapo District, western Seoul, ahead of the movie’s release on March 1.

"I wrote the word guilt on my script while filming and agonized over how to unravel the emotion. I think Loh Kiwan was healed after he got rid of his guilt," the actor said.

"In the end, it was people. The connections you make with the people in your life [is what heals you]. That's my takeaway from the film."

Still shot from upcoming film ″My Name is Loh Kiwan″ [NETFLIX]

"My Name is Loh Kiwan" is director Kim Hee-jin's first feature film, for which she also wrote the screenplay for. Her filmography includes debut short film "A Brand New Journey" (2010), which won awards at the Seoul Independent Film Festival and the Jeonju International Film Festival, and shorts "MJ" (2012) and "Neighbors" (2014).

“Loh Kiwan is a person with grit who can make something bloom even in the muddiest waters,” Kim said. “Viewers will be captivated by the many sides of Song. [At times] he has such a sorrowful expression, while at other times he puts on the most austere, frigid persona.”

Actor Choi Sung-eun, who plays Marie in upcoming Netflix film ″My Name is Loh Kiwan,″ answers questions from reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. [NETFLIX]

In the midst of his struggles, Loh encounters the troubled Choi Sung-eun's Marie, a Belgian citizen to Korean immigrant parents, after she steals his money. The story then follows the connection the two strangers form as they navigate a society and world in which they don’t feel they belong.

“[Marie] is someone who goes through a lot of change,” Choi said. Choi is known for her lead role in Netflix original series “The Sound of Magic” (2022) and her supporting role in JTBC drama "Beyond Evil" (2021).

“She is someone who has lost her reason and motivation to live. She finds her will for life after meeting Kiwan."

"Love, of any kind, is what urges you on to live,” she added.

Netflix released the official trailer for “My Name is Loh Kiwan” on Feb. 11. It will be available exclusively on the streaming service from March 1.

The film was in Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos's list of Korean films by first-time writers or directors to look forward to this year, along with film "Bandland Hunters" and upcoming series "The Frog."