December 9, 2021

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Director Yeon Sang-ho on new show ‘Hellbound’

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, Director Yeon Sang-ho on new show ‘Hellbound’, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Director Yeon Sang-ho on new show ‘Hellbound’, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
, Director Yeon Sang-ho on new show ‘Hellbound’, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Director Yeon Sang-ho, best known for popular Korean films like ‘Train To Busan‘ and its sequel ‘Peninsula’, on Tuesday said he hopes his debut series ‘Hellbound‘ compels viewers to reflect upon their belief system and its larger impact on the society.
‘Hellbound’, a Korean language series, follows a string of supernatural events that take place in Seoul causing a clash of convictions.
Starring Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min, Won Jin-a, Yang Ik-june, the show is based on a webtoon created by Yeon.
“These characters are the people we see in society. They have different convictions and emotions. The viewers can resonate with them, depending on which conviction they choose to believe in. It’s fun to watch a clash of these convictions, it gives us an opportunity to think about our society… I hope ‘Hellbound’ is not just consumed but also gives food for thought,” the director said during a global press conference from Seoul, virtually attended by PTI.

‘Hellbound’, penned by Choi Kyu-sok, may be Yeon’s first series but the experience of working on the long format of storytelling wasn’t entirely as different as making movies.

“This is a live-action series, but the staff was the same from when I shot the movies. I don’t think it was that different, it was like filming a few movies back-to-back. I enjoyed it even more,” he added.

The universe of ‘Hellbound’ is interesting, Yeon said, adding he wanted the project to be “a playground” for his movies.

“The first game in this playground is this live-action series. I could add a lot of film-like aspects to it… The setting is realistic and drastic, and inside that world we can see different types of people.”

According to the official synopsis, ‘Hellbound’ is a story about otherworldly beings who appear out of nowhere to issue a decree and condemn individuals to hell.

“These supernatural events cause great mayhem and enable the religious group ‘The New Truth’ to grow in influence. A few people, however, become suspicious about its activities and begin investigating its involvement in mysterious events. As the world turns into chaos, it becomes a living hell.”

Asked how he conjured the images of these terrifying angels and executioners, the director said the characters came to him “out of the blue”.

“They could have existed in history long ago. The ones (angels) that we know of are based on the imagination of our predecessors and based on this I came up with the idea of angels and executioners. For executioners, I wanted people to feel terror and think about hell when they look at them.”

Yoo, who stars as Jeong Jin-soo a “mysterious” cult leader and the head of the emerging religion ‘New Truth Society’, said he simply relied on the “perfect” script to play his role. The actor is known for films like “Burning”, “Voice of Silence” and TV dramas “Chicago Typewriter” and “Sungkyunkwan Scandal”.

“He has a distorted psyche and is twisted in some sense. He is strong willed about preaching his conviction to the world. He has rage, maybe desperation. I think he is lonely, so I tried to find out what led to his loneliness,” he added.

Kim plays lawyer Min Hye-jin, who stands up against religious extremists.

The actor, known for shows ‘Glass Slippers’ and ‘I Have a Lover’, said working on the series gave her a chance to think about what faith means.

“… there are beliefs that come about to mask one’s flaws and insecurities. That’s the power faith has. For my character Hye-jin that (faith) was law,” she said.

For Yang, playing the role of a father was “difficult” as he is single and childfree. The actor plays Jin Kyeong-hoon, a cynical and troubled detective who tries to investigate these supernatural events. Lee Re plays his on-screen daughter, Hee-jeong.

“I have nephews, so I thought about when I went to Jeju island with them when they were young. But nephews are different from your own child. I was tense about playing this character, but Lee Re cheered me up when I was struggling,” he said.

The screen adaptation of the show stays loyal to the webtoon, the director said, except that the character played by Lee was originally written as a boy.

“When I was looking for an actor who was going to be able to capture that essence, I wanted Lee Re to play the character regardless of the gender,” he said.

Yang, who has voice starred in Yeon’s animated films ‘The King of Pings’ and ‘The Fake’, said the director goes into shooting without rehearsals.

“He kept us on our toes all the time,” he added.

Park of “Deliver Us from Evil” fame said his role of Bae Young-jae, a broadcasting station producer, is a common family man. He said he hopes the show is received well not only in Korea but also in other countries.

“The people in Korea and the rest of the world can resonate with the fear in ‘Hellbound’,” he said.

On her reflections from the six-episode series, Won said when the majority in a society is “twisted” that place itself could be hell. She plays the producer’s wife, Song So-hyun.
“In that society, how can I decide what’s right and what’s wrong? So I thought a lot about that while shooting the series,” the actor, known for shows like “Rain Or Shine” and “She Would Never Know”, added.
Yeon said he was so impressed by Won’s performance that she could “almost be up for an Emmy”.
The pilot of the series premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival in the Primetime programme of TV series. It was also screened at the BFI London Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival.

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