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Netflix's Black Knight Director Alleviates Concerns Over Smoking Scene

Netflix has seen great success in bringing Korean properties to global audiences. "Squid Game" remains one of the platform's biggest hits, and Netflix is undoubtedly hoping to repeat that glory with the newest Korean TV show to air on the service — "Black Knight."

Much like "Squid Game," "Black Knight" also contains themes relevant to modern society as well as mature subject matter. One such instance of mature themes comes when 5-8 (Kim Woo-bin) smokes a cigarette. It's an interesting piece of character development as the show takes place in a world where the air is no longer breathable, forcing everyone to wear respirators. 

It's also intriguing considering Netflix's statement on its shows depicting smoking in the past. The service previously stated that smoking would only be included if it was historically accurate or essential for artistic expression. However, there's another reason why people have taken umbrage with the scene outside of worries about glorifying smoking to younger viewers.

Fans were worried over Kim Woo-bin's health

Many TV shows and movies have cut back on having characters smoke for the heck of it. It's all part of an effort to prevent more impressionable viewers from taking up the habit, but sometimes, it allows fans a glimpse into a character's psyche. When it came to "Black Knight," the show's director Cho Ui-seok had to set the record straight to Ilgan Sports that although 8-5 smokes, the actor isn't actually smoking a cigarette.

It's a critical distinction, seeing how Kim Woo-bin was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in 2017. It required him to take a hiatus from acting for several years, but he returned after completing his treatment plan. In addition to appearing in "Black Knight," he recently starred in "Our Blues."

Cho Ui-seok explained how the team used CGI to create the smoking effect, stating, "I couldn't let actor Kim Woo-bin smoke because of his health." Ultimately, it's just good to hear the actor is in better health and is back to acting. All six episodes of "Black Knight" are currently available to watch on Netflix.