Director Jang Hang-jun of upcoming sports comedy film “Rebound” said he prioritized matching the actors to their real-life characters as a basketball coach and high school players.
The film, based on the true story of a basketball team at Busan Jungang High School in 2012, follows basketball coach Kang Yang-hyun as he tries to bring together a team of underdog players.
“To create a realistic mood in the film and stay similar to this true event, we shot the film at the actual court inside Busan Jungang High School,” said Jang during a press conference held in Lotte Cinema Konkuk University in eastern Seoul, Tuesday.
Jang said the production team even brought the old doors used at the gym -- which had been renovated -- to bring the 2010s vibe to the set.
“After auditioning over 400 actors for the seven characters, I prioritized matching the actors’ appearance, height and even hairstyle to real basketball players, to make it look as real as possible,” said Jang.
Director Jang brings the eight-day national high school basketball competition to the screen, showing the team defeating stronger teams to reach the league finals, proving naysayers wrong.
Jang joked that he was lucky his film could ride on the popularity of Japanese animated sports film “The First Slam Dunk” that was released earlier this year.
Ahn Jae-hong, who has starred in various hit TV dramas and films, including tvN series “Reply 1988” (2015) and rom-com series “Melo is my Nature” (2019), appears as Kang Yang-hyun, a former basketball player and public service worker who is the school's newly recruited basketball coach.
To mimic his character, Ahn said he gained 10 kilograms in over a week and also tried to copy the basketball coach's every move.
“I received a USB containing 30GB of data from the production team and watched every video and photo to mimic coach Kang as perfectly as possible,” he said.
Rookie actors Lee Shin-young, Jeong Jin-woon, Kim Taek, Jung Gun-joo, Kim Min and Ahn Ji-ho star as Busan Jungang High School players who endeavor to play against the country's top high school basketball team at Yongsan High School.
Jang said the preparation for the film kicked off as soon as the competition ended in 2012, and star writer Kim Eun-hee, with whom he has worked on four other projects, encouraged him to make the underdog story into a film.
The production team for the 2017 hit film, “The Outlaws,” started working on the film in 2013, and writers Kwon Sung-hui of Netflix's “Narco-Saints” (2022) and Kim Eun-hee of tvN's “Signal” (2016) and Netflix's “Kingdom” (2019) joined the team.
"Rebound" hits local theaters on April 5.