Broker Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda On Competing Philosophies And Chosen Families [Exclusive Interview]

I understand that you were casting for this film during the height of the pandemic. Did working over Zoom change how you mentally approached the casting process?

Yes, but the three characters, Song Kang-ho, Dong-won Gang, and Bae Doona, all three of them were already … I was speaking to them before the pandemic, and I had wrote the short plot bearing in mind of those three actors. But the other two actors, Lee Ji-eun and Lee Joo-young, who are acting the detectives, yes, I cast them during the pandemic. But I came across their work on one of the streaming dramas, and I had made contact with them. And the first meeting was over Zoom. But yeah, that was the process. So it wasn’t entirely over Zoom. The struggle over casting over Zoom was really the baby. It was really a gamble to choose a month-old baby over Zoom, but it was worth it. We have won the gamble, but it was definitely a challenge.

The film presents a lot of interesting arguments about abortion versus adoption. What do you want audiences to glean from the film about these issues?

There was certain reactions actually at Cannes, when this film was first previewed — released. A few people have asked me whether I am against abortion in its entirety, and some articles came out saying this was a message about — that the film included an anti-abortion message, but that’s not the case at all. I didn’t really create the film with that kind of mindset. It was more about how people in the society would react to a life that has been born and how the society would try and protect the baby. And it’s really more about…

I really wanted to depict different mindsets and also different perceptions surrounding that issue. For example, the baby boxes and baby hatches, which exist in Japan and Korea, there are varying views, two very different standpoints. One is really, the priority is to protect the life of the baby, so we should be really supporting the existence of these baby boxes and hatches. The other side would argue that, no, you would be encouraging by making it easy for the mothers to abandon the babies, and that can only be the negative thing. So there’s those two opposing views, and there’s a varying spectrum of those views on it. I wanted to make sure that I was covering different perspectives from different viewpoints within this film. And ultimately, I want the audience to really see those different perceptions, and question where they sit within these issues, and to make them really think about their standpoint as well.

Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won have said in several interviews that they really respected you and enjoyed working with you. And I thought that they really shone under your direction. Do you think you would work with either or both of them again in the future?

So there are no concrete plans of shooting any works with either of them at the moment, but it was a great experience working with those actors, and it was really invaluable to create works with such talents. Now I’m back in Japan and shooting works in Japan. In the future, it would be great to work with both of them, but also not limited to them, actually. All the other talents from Asia, and also possibly, going away from Asia as well, non-Japanese staff members, cast members, to really collaborate, that would be exciting, because it was a great experience to shoot this film.

“Broker” is now in theaters in New York and arrives in Los Angeles on December 28, 2022.

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