Berlin, the emblematic character of money theft, returns in a gripping Korean remake of the cult Spanish crime drama as a ruthless escapee from a North Korean prison camp.
Money Heist: Korea – Common Economic Space sees a major heist and hostage crisis unfold inside a Korean Mint against the fictional backdrop of a soon-to-be-reunited Korean peninsula.
While paying homage to the original work, the latest spin-off is sprinkled with unique Korean touches that breathe new life into the members of the Spanish series, including Berlin, played by Park Hae-soo.
The Screen Actors Guild nominee, who rose to international fame after his role as player no. 218 in squid gamewas a huge fan of the Spanish hit, he said Newsweek.
Talk to Newsweek of Seoul, the South Korean capital, Park said: “I was drawn to Berlin because he’s such a strong and energetic character, and as an actor, that was the type of role I wanted really play.”
Like in the original series, Berlin in the Korean remake is a formidable presence that isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty to make sure the heist goes as planned.
“Where there is light, a shadow always follows. That’s the role I played, so you can shine,” Berlin tells the professor (the mastermind behind the heist plan, played by Yoo Ji -tae, who communicates with the thieves from outside the mint) in the Korean series.
While he’s known for his “take no prisoners” approach in various situations, there are elements linked to Berlin, Park said.
“The part I could relate to the most is how he is a man on a mission. He runs towards a singular goal with a tunnel vision type mindset. I also leaned into the element of rivalry of his character, this feeling of competition that he feels with the others in the team,” said the actor.
The K-drama sees Berlin maintaining order and authority inside the Mint by instilling fear in others, but always with a haunting Joker-style smile, which reflects his greatest weapons, the actor explained. .
“I think kindness is key. When a wild beast is trying to grab its prey, sometimes you have to go slow and smooth to be able to handle it. Berlin’s greatest weapons are its kindness and gentleness, which I ‘ve drawn and portrayed with her smiles.”
So what makes “the most wanted man in North Korean history”, as he is portrayed in the series, vulnerable? Park said, “Berlin’s greatest weakness would be its past”, which viewers get a glimpse of in the series.
Perhaps his ruthless nature and cold exterior are just byproducts of his troubled past and survival instincts.
The show reveals that Berlin (whose real name is Song Jun-ho) tried to flee North Korea with his mother by swimming across the Amrok River, which crosses the border between China and North Korea. They got caught one night and his mother was shot in the river, while he was taken to Kaechon Forced Labor Camp, which is infamous because no one made it out alive.
In the camp, we see Berlin being violently beaten as a child by older prisoners. But one day, he retaliates by brutally attacking another with a shovel to defend himself. Each time he was placed in solitary confinement at the camp as punishment for the attacks, the number of those who feared him kept growing.
A prison break ensues later, which sees the prison turned upside down, with Berlin breaking out of the camp amid the chaos. His last words as he left the camp were, “I think I might miss the smell of this place.”
Berlin is also brought to its knees in a battle against mortality. Ousted from his position as team leader inside the Mint, Berlin is tied to a chair and locked in a room where he is seen shaking and sweating profusely, before revealing that he is terminally ill (as also revealed in the Spanish work) in Rio, who does not believe him.
Berlin has often been called a psychopath, but could there be some level of psychopathic tendencies in all of us?
Park said: “I think we all have the ability to rationalize everything in life. When it comes to Berlin, I think it’s hard to describe him by a certain medical term like psychopath.
“But I can say he’s very selfish and very rational in the choices he makes. It was hard to approach the character in a certain way for those reasons, but I knew there would be ways for me to identify with him to play the character,” he added. says the actor.
Other highlights of Park’s latest remake include his dynamic camera work, while he “also enjoyed some of the dramatic monologues that my character has on the show”, which saw him tap into his years as a filmmaker. stage work experience.
But the best part about the new series is “of course the characters, who are so full of life,” for their individuality and shared chemistry, the actor said.
Money Heist: Korea – Common Economic Space is available to stream on Netflix starting June 24.