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’Hellbound‘ director Yeon Sang-ho continues observation of humans in apocalyptic world

Director Yeon Sang-ho of “Hellbound” (Netflix)
Director Yeon Sang-ho of “Hellbound” (Netflix)

For director Yeon Sang-ho, 43, producing new Netflix series “Hellbound” felt like creating his own playground.

“When I was creating ‘Hellbound’ as a web comic, I was expecting to reproduce the series as a video. The project shows different sides of humans in a desperate situation surrounded by extreme social chaos. I want to keep presenting my views about humanity via ‘Hellbound.’ I will continue to play around by creating unique characters and stories. I hope the viewers enjoy it as much as I did,” Yeon said in an online press conference on Tuesday.

“Hellbound,” an adaptation of a highly rated webtoon of the same title, stars top-tier actors, including Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min, Won Jin-a and Yang Ik-june.

The upcoming Netflix fantasy thriller features an apocalyptic world in which people randomly receive a text message saying they will be sent to hell.

Three grim reapers deliver a final judgement on people according to their past deeds. Amid the supernatural events, the series presents the clash of beliefs between The New Truth, a religious group worshipping the supernatural phenomena, and the individuals fighting against the organization in search of truth, including a TV director, police and Sodo law firm’s lawyer.

The masked members of New Truth in “Hellbound.” (Netflix)
The masked members of New Truth in “Hellbound.” (Netflix)

The occult-loving director was certain that the viewers would be drawn to the series by watching how individuals behave and react in the social chaos.

While admitting to the pressure of living up to the successful original webtoon and its characters, the cast did not hide their desire to be part of Yeon’s exclusive universe that encompasses distinctive realms.

From left: Yang Ik-june, Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min and Won Jin-a pose for photos before an online press conference Tuesday. (Netflix)
From left: Yang Ik-june, Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min and Won Jin-a pose for photos before an online press conference Tuesday. (Netflix)

“I was first mesmerized by the immense power of the title and became a fanatic fan of the drama after reading the script. I was very curious to work with Yeon and be part of his cinematic universe,” actor Yoo said.

“After enjoying the original comics, I felt Jung Jin-su, the leader of The New Truth, to be a complex character to perform. He is a mysterious individual and is twisted inside. Yet he makes strong pronouncements on justice. I tried my best to figure out Jin-su’s intentions and understand the character,” he added.

New Truth‘s leader Jung Jin-su (played by Yoo Ah-in) gives a speech in “Hellbound.” (Netflix)
New Truth‘s leader Jung Jin-su (played by Yoo Ah-in) gives a speech in “Hellbound.” (Netflix)

Veteran actor Kim Hyun-joo shared her thoughts on acting a character in a TV adaptation.

“I try to avoid choosing projects which involve acting a character from (another) original work or a person that exists. I was uncertain whether I was qualified to deliver the realistic expressions and emotions made by the characters in the webtoon,” Kim said in explaining her concerns.

“But I took this opportunity to challenge myself and see how I present my role as lawyer Min Hye-jin,” Kim said.

The series, which had its world premiere in September at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, caught the attention of global audience even before its official release on Netflix. The first three episodes of “Hellbound” were also screened at BFI London Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival in October.

The six-part series will arrive on Netflix on Nov. 19.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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