“Uncle Samsik” Lead Cast Shares Character Preparations

Coming to Disney+ on May 15, Uncle Samsik sees the first small screen project of respected actor Song Kang Ho.

Uncle Samsik takes audiences back to the turbulent 1960s in South Korea, a time of immense change and upheaval. This series explores the unique friendship and shared ambitions between two men from very different backgrounds: Uncle Samsik (Song Kang Ho), known for his resilience and wit, and Kim San (Byun Yo Han), a highly educated and driven young man with grand aspirations. As they work together to achieve their goals, the series will highlight the personal sacrifices, moments of doubt, and unexpected twists that come with their journey.

Uncle Samsik

Meet The Lead Cast of Uncle Samsik

Song Kang Ho as Uncle Samsik | Park Doo-chil

A man of principle motivated by a burning desire to see South Korea become auent following years of economic hardship, Uncle Samsik does whatever it takes to realize his

Threatening, groveling, ridiculing, or protecting, Samsik is a social chameleon that blends into the background, gathering information and using it to sink his claws into those he can
manipulate into making his dream come true.

Taking people under his wing, Samsik does whatever it takes to ensure his people eat three meals a day, known in Korean as “Samsik.”

After hearing Kim San speak at a political rally, Samsik sets his sights on the young scholar who shares the same dream of an affluent Korea.

Uncle Samsik

Byun Yo Han as Kim San

An aspirational politician, Albright Scholar, and the very best student in Korea’s Military Academy, Kim San dreams of bringing an American level of affluence to the people of Korea.

Torn between his dreams and his principles, Kim San finnds himself repeatedly at odds with what he believes to be right, all in the hope of rapidly turning Korea into a successful industrial nation.


Lee Kyu Hyung as Kang Seong-min

A manipulative politician who does anything to consolidate his grasp on power, Seongmin uses Samsik and others to achieve his goals until one day he pushes Samsik too far.

Jin Ki Joo as Choo Yeo-jin

An exceptionally intelligent individual who graduated summa cum laude, Choo Yeo-jin is the daughter of Reformist Party Leader Choo Intae and Kim San’s partner.

Hardworking and dedicated, Choo Yeo-jin works for the Reformist Party.

Revealing their preparations for their respective roles, the lead cast shared stories on how they assimilated into their characters.

“When shaping my characters, whether for films or a TV series like Uncle Samsik, I don’t usually have lengthy conversations with directors. I’ll ask questions when certain emotions or situations aren’t that clear, but I think it’s up to me to and the version of the character that I’m set to play. I enjoy that process and experiment with different ideas. Of course, when my interpretation is not aligned with how the character was originally envisioned, I do have conversations with the director. But I generally try to nd the right version of my character on my own, and the process of playing Uncle Samsik was also the same.” – Song Kang Ho

“In my previous projects, I have portrayed a military officer, a general, and a Sherman. There were clear points of tension and conflict among different characters, and my characters’ professions were clearly defined. What was incredibly challenging about portraying Kim San was that this character was firmly rooted in reality. In fact, all the characters in the series, including Kim San, were grappling with different beliefs, visions, and ambitions while trying to protect or let go of certain aspects of their lives. It was such an authentic world where every character felt alive. I understood how the emotions and motives of my character were relatable, and the character made me think about how I would navigate these contrasting desires and emotions.” – Byun Yo Han

“I may have come across as a little brusque during my first meeting with the director after reading the script. I asked numerous questions: “Why would Yeojin make this decision? Couldn’t she have done something dierent? With Yeojin’s potential, she could have taken another action to realize her ideals. Why was her choice limited to a single action?” I worried that I may have appeared overly assertive. While I grappled with all these questions at the beginning, I gradually came to accept that that’s just who she is. Yeojin has clear aspirations, but she’s also a very rational person. The resignation is partially attributed to her personality, but I think that a large part of that personality was shaped by the historical context she lived in. And that reflects her choices. I pointed out all these aspects to the director, but after a few extensive discussions, I was able to fully embrace the character. I came to love her even more after accepting who she was, and having sufficient conversations prior to production helped me stay fully aligned with the director while filming.” – Jin Ki Joo

Korean political drama, Uncle Samsik, premieres on Disney+ on May 15!

*Press Release