The Korea Herald


‘Believer 2’ returns as 'midquel' with new characters, stronger plot

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Nov. 14, 2023 - 15:33

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“Believer 2” (Netflix) “Believer 2” (Netflix)

“Believer 2,” the much-awaited second installment of the 2018 crime action franchise, “Believer,” which attracted an audience of 5.2 million, will hit screens later this month as a “midquel,” the country’s first-ever flick that explores a story within the timeframe of the previous film.

“Believer 2” is directed by Baek Jong-yul, who is known for the stylish mise-en-scene in the 2015 hit romance flick, “Beauty Inside,” and who has a commercial producing background.

The film follows the story of Cho Won-ho (Cho Jin-woong), a determined detective who throws himself into searching for the truth behind Asia’s largest drug ring after a bloody battle in Yongsan Station. Cho travels to Norway as he looks for the elusive leader of the drug gang.

“When I was offered the opportunity to direct ‘Believer 2,’ I thought that this midquel-style film could become the last puzzle to the characters’ relocation from Yongsan Station in Seoul to a snowy hut in Norway, where the first installment ended,” director Baek told reporters during a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

While director Baek debuted as a filmmaker with a romance flick, he said his personal preference has always been crime action.

“I’ve always had good feelings about this kind of film, so approaching the crime action genre wasn’t difficult for me,” he said, adding that he cast the two lead actors from “Believer” to continue the story seamlessly while also casting two new powerful characters, Big Knife (Han Hyo-joo) and a new version of Seo Young-rock (Oh Seung-hoon).

“Believer 2” (Netflix) “Believer 2” (Netflix)

Han said that she joined the project based on her trust in director Baek.

“Not just because I shot ‘Beauty Inside’ with director Baek, but I also wanted to try out a new character that I’ve never tried before,” Han told reporters.

Han plays gang leader Mr. Lee's closest associate in charge of handling drug affairs. Han, who was required to say many of her lines in Chinese, said she memorized her lines as if she were memorizing music.

“I took Chinese lessons three times a week and tried speaking the same Chinese line in various tones and nuances, to exert a strong vibe,” she added.

Oh Seung-hoon, whose acting career began on stage, was cast in an audition, beating out 299 others to play the “new” Seo Young-rock. In the previous installment, actor Ryu Joon-yeol played Young-rock, but the director decided to start the story with a new Young-rock, saying that he particularly liked the tone of Oh's voice and his clear pronunciation, which he said was a perfect match with his face, which looks like it has many stories to tell.

“After reading the scenario, I loved how Rock’s story and dramatic nature were evident. I focused on capturing Rock’s restrained expression of his emotions, wanting to find a conclusion to the entanglement between Won-ho, Brian and Big Knife,” said Oh, adding that he felt some pressure to do justice to his portrayal of Young-rock’s story.

“Believer 2” will be released on Netflix on Nov. 15.