The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] ‘Bloodhounds’ producer, actors bond tightly after final two episodes rewritten

By Kim Da-sol

Published : June 18, 2023 - 15:09

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“Bloodhounds” director Jason Kim (Netflix) “Bloodhounds” director Jason Kim (Netflix)

Director Jason Kim’s first-ever drama series “Bloodhounds,” which released on Netflix on June 9, runs for a total of eight hours, about four times longer than his previous films “Midnight Runners” and “The Divine Fury.” Yet with an unexpected setback involving the series’ main female actor, the effort and time invested in bringing the eight-episode series to life ended up far exceeding the director’s initial expectations of a mere fourfold increase.

“I started out with a big dream to create Korea’s representative K-action drama. I wrote all eight episodes and regretted bitterly that I should have studied a lot. Production of the series required a lot more plotlines and more density in stories, and also remarkable scenes where the audience can sympathize,” Kim told The Korea Herald on June 13.

“I regretted a lot when I shot a large-scale car chasing scene, because it costs more (compared to typical fight scenes) and requires more background materials and preparation to maintain high quality -- of course, not to mention the physical strength and mental health to shoot for longer hours,” he added.

However, the bigger challenge came after shooting the first six episodes. The final two episodes had to be completely rewritten after lead actor Kim Sae-ron was charged for driving under the influence.

“Originally, Cha Hyun-joo (Kim) had to lead the rest of the show with Gun-woo (Woo Do-hwan) for the last two episodes, but I had to change it all in one month. So I decided to make the seventh and eighth episodes into a movie, which contains a more epic story structure,” Kim said, adding that it was impossible to shoot scenes again to omit Kim because the sets used for filming had already been thrown out immediately after.

“Of course, it was an agonizing time for me, the actors and all of the other staff, because we had to shoot the scenes immediately after writing the story and practicing the scenes and action in between. The more time we spend rewriting, the more money we were wasting, so I couldn’t stand my team just waiting for me to complete rewriting,” said the director, who holed away on Jeju Island to focus on the script.

Lead actors Woo Do-hwan and Lee Sang-yi were a big support for him, Kim said. Woo previously worked with Kim on 2019’s “The Divine Fury.” “Bloodhounds” is the first project for Woo since he was discharged from his mandatory military service earlier this year.

The actors also said the “Bloodhounds” team bonded more tightly as they prepared to shoot for the final two episodes, actively exchanging ideas on scenes and how to move forward.

Lee Sang-yi of “Bloodhounds” (Netflix) Lee Sang-yi of “Bloodhounds” (Netflix)

“One scene that went viral was about when Gun-woo and Woo-jin hit each other’s abs with a basketball as part of training to fight against Myung-gil (Park Sung-woong). That scene was improvised on the location,” Lee Sang-yi told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul, Thursday.

“Director Kim put a lot of trust in the actors. He could have acted like a boss, but he was more like a ‘let’s go together’ kind of a person. He was open to applying part of my real character to Woo-jin, who is a talkative, sly and friendly guy,” Lee said. “I truly felt that actors and the producer together created this project.”

“Bloodhounds” (Netflix) “Bloodhounds” (Netflix)

“Bloodhounds” revolves around young boxers Gun-woo (Woo) and Woo-jin (Lee), who seek to take down notorious moneylender Myung-gil (Park). Myung-gil preys on the financially desperate following an unfortunate incident involving Gun-woo's mother. The director’s flagship bromance concept repeats in the “Bloodhounds,” featuring brave young adults full of hopes and dreams searching for justice in a cruel world.

“I believe good hearts lead to good hearts. That is the theme I want to portray. As ‘Bloodhounds’ is set in the COVID-hit society, I wanted to depict some realistic aspects of our harsh society, but at a same time how there are people -- no matter what -- with good hearts,” said Kim, adding that it feels surreal to see how audiences as far-flung as in Brazil and Germany share similar viewpoints with watchers in Korea.