Here’s a fact about K-drama press interviews that you might not know: they are usually dead serious. No matter the genre of the show they are plugging, everyone — except the host — would be solemn and reserved. Not sure why.
Ironically, it was at the recent presser of the dark and gory Netflix drama Hellbound that people actually laughed with abandon.
The six-episode M18 series is about beastly executors from hell who come to Earth to execute humans in the most ghastly way and then send them to hell. The supernatural phenomenon gives rise to a religious cult founded on the idea of divine justice.
Actor Yoo Ah-in — who tickled the curiosity of many after actress Song Hye-kyo posted a photo of them together in July — is the star of the highly lauded drama, playing cult leader Jung Jin-su. But it was his older co-actor Yang Ik-june who stole the show during interviews with the Asia-Pacific media.
The spunky 46-year-old, who plays depressed police detective Jin Kyung-hun in Hellbound, spoke for a lengthy two-and-a-half minutes about how he handled scenes where he had to pretend he was facing off the hellish beasts that were later added in through computer graphics.
Wriggling his torso animatedly, he recounted his previous experience with computer-generated graphics (it was for a scene in another show where his character was getting gunned down).
He also talked about how he spent three years “watching and obsessing over Lord of the Rings” as an avid sci-fi fan and how he has a vivid imagination because his dream is to be a magician.
The inane TMI sent director Yeon Sang-ho (Train To Busan) into uncontrollable fits of laughter for over 80 seconds, which in turn, got actor Park Jeong-min and actress Won Jin-ah also laughing and hiding behind their hands.
Behind the camera, we heard another man chortling loudly away. Sang-ho and Jeong-min even had to wipe their tears away.
The rest of the interview was uneventful, though Ah-in, 35, shared in a separate press conference how he managed filming a two-page scene in one uninterrupted take.
“I think I had more lines in Hellbound than my past five works all combined together. There was definitely a certain level of pressure that comes with that amount of lines, but rather than looking at it as lines per se, it was really just speech,” Ah-in said.
“When I focus on what made my character think in a certain way or say certain things, and kind of capturing the moments that create that speech, and just focusing in the character in the moment, it was just extremely exciting and it brought me a lot of joy.”
Sang-ho added Ah-in had to move around as he talked in the scene and the entire crew knew that the take would be perfect.
“When we were all behind the camera and we saw Ah-in just go at it, we were thinking, ‘Okay, this is the one,'” Sang-ho explained.
“We all felt like this was the take that we wanted. But we were worried about the crew, who were bound to appear on screen if we continued that shot. So I think everyone kind of clicked at that moment, and everyone just moved out of the set.”
Catch the entire series of Hellbound now on Netflix.