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Suzy, Park Bo-gum star in AI fantasy romance ‘Wonderland’

By Kim Da-sol

Published : May 9, 2024 - 18:57

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(From left) Choi Woo-shik, Park Bo-gum, Suzy and Tang Wei of “Wonderland” pose for a photo during a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap) (From left) Choi Woo-shik, Park Bo-gum, Suzy and Tang Wei of “Wonderland” pose for a photo during a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap)

“Wonderland,” a sci-fi fantasy and romance film set in the near future that deals with relationships, death and life, shows what it is like to communicate using AI technology, director Kim Tae-yong said Thursday.

The movie revolves around people reuniting in a virtual world called Wonderland. Tang Wei, Suzy and Park Bo-gum star as those who ask to meet people they loved but cannot meet anymore in the real world. Jung Yu-mi and Choi Woo-shik appear as staff who support the AI service users in Wonderland.

Suzy and Park, who have shown special chemistry as emcees at Baeksang Arts Awards for many years, are expected to show on-screen chemistry in “Wonderland.” They appear as a young couple struggling to settle into a new life after Tae-ju (Park) suffers brain damage.

Suzy plays Jung-in, a woman in her 20s who misses talking to Tae-ju, who is in a coma. That leads her to sign up to the Wonderland service, where she can talk to him.

“(I once heard that) we’re living in a world where communication with technology, something non-human, is more comfortable and easier than having it with real humans. I tried to focus on that feeling,” Suzy told reporters during a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, Seoul, Thursday.

“Wonderland” (Ace Maker Movieworks) “Wonderland” (Ace Maker Movieworks)

“Wonderland” is director Kim's first movie in 13 years after “Late Autumn” (2011). Both movies star his wife and Chinese actor Tang Wei. The two were married after working together on "Late Autumn."

Kim said the movie was inspired by technologies he had enjoyed during the pandemic.

“I did a lot of video calls during the pandemic. Not just me, but many people around us had to. After hanging up the video chat, I felt like if this was real and the border between human relationships felt like fading away,” Kim told reporters.

The movie was shot during the pandemic from 2020 to 2021.

“So I wanted to tell the story on – maybe – an imminent future where technology can connect people even after death,” he added.

To make sure the AI technology in the movie makes sense, Kim said he worked with a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology.

“I asked KAIST professor Kim Dae-shik for advice on AI technology because I wanted to make the audience feel this movie as something very relatable as if they’re seeing the near future,” said Kim.

Director Kim Tae-yong of “Wonderland” poses for a photo during a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap) Director Kim Tae-yong of “Wonderland” poses for a photo during a press conference held in CGV Yongsan, Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap)

Actors said the story was fresh to approach and act in.

“It was very interesting that this whole universe in the movie was very believable,” said Suzy.

Park said he even felt like he was involved in the pre-production because he had a lot of conversation with the director and his partner Suzy even before the shooting.

“Kim was a very friendly, smooth person to work with. He would share details about the characters and also hear from my side (in terms of acting Tae-ju). I felt like I literally produced the film from pre-production,” said Park.

Choi Woo-shik said he also loved working with Kim, adding that the director’s warmth as a person added a different mood to this sci-fi fantasy romance.

“When you think about sci-fi movies, they feel very cold and blue-toned, but the director’s warmth and the movie’s overall message mixed very well to offer a new mood,” said Choi.

Director Kim and Tang Wei said they enjoyed working together on the same project.

"What I liked the most (about working with an actress wife) was that I get to talk about work even at home," Kim said, laughing.

Tang said both she and her husband enjoy talking about work at home because both are "workaholics."

"I treat my work seriously and try to focus on every detail and this could have been very difficult for other directors. But I'm glad (that it's my husband) that I worked with," Tang said.

“Wonderland” is slated for release June 5.