“Along With The Gods” Director Talks About Series + EXO’s D.O. Confirmed For Third Film
In a recent Star News interview, “Along with the Gods” director Kim Yong Hwa talked about what it was like to lead the filming of the immensely popular series.
“Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds,” released at the end of 2017, and “Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days,” released this summer, each mobilized 10 million moviegoers, giving director Kim Yong Hwa the title of “Double 10 Million.” However, before the successful releases, the director went through the difficult process of leading many actors and staff onto a path that no Korean film director has gone on before. With a production cost of 35 billion won (approximately $31 million) and 10 months of filming, Kim Yong Hwa had to skillfully direct actors in front of a green screen with no knowledge of how the CG will end up looking.
Thanks to Kim Yong Hwa’s leadership, the production of the “Along with the Gods” series progressed smoothly. Not only were actors such as Ha Jung Woo, Lee Jung Jae, Joo Ji Hoon, and Ma Dong Seok referred to as members of Kim Yong Hwa’s team, but “Along with the Gods” cinematographer Kim Byung Seo also decided to produce “Baekdu Mountain” (literal title) at Dexter Studios, the studio Kim Yong Hwa is in charge of.
When asked about how he felt about achieving 10 million viewers with the “Along with the Gods” series, Kim Yong Hwa replied modestly, “I had a strong desire after the big failure with ‘Mr. Go.’ When I look back, the biggest failure was in planning. I should have shown my abilities in the genre I was best in.”
Since both films from the “Along with the Gods” series were filmed simultaneously, the investment distributor changed from CJ ENM to Lotte Entertainment. In the process, Dexter Studios also invested in the production. On this, Kim Yong Hwa commented, “As the investor changed, I did feel a sense of urgency. I invested thinking there was no going back. However, rather than thinking of it as a burden, I thought of it as enjoying an adventure.” He added, “I thought about what the most important thing in a film was. There’s a lot, but I thought it was emotion. I was sure of this. I cried a lot while writing the scenario for ‘Along with the Gods.'”
Regarding the set mood, he said. “It’s true that it feels burdensome on set. Some of the scenes were all green [having to use a green screen for CG]. Honestly, I wondered if it was okay to go to this extent. However, the bowstring was already pulled. I trusted the actors. We trusted each other. When the actors felt uncertain, I pretended to be confident even when I didn’t know anything.”
Kim Yong Hwa shared, “We rested two to three times a week. We didn’t film more than 20 times in a month. I think the longest was 17 times in one month.” Kim Yong Hwa said, “I have a complex of wanting to look like a good person in front of others.” He then added, “I hope that the people I’ve worked with remember me as a good person. I want to be respected, so I respect people.”
Kim Yong Hwa also said the initial goal of the “Along with the Gods” series was to make a good commercial film. However, it wasn’t a film purposely made to gain awards, as a movie like that would never receive love from the public. However, he wanted many people to discuss the CG effects that were used in the series.
For the third and fourth installment of the “Along with the Gods” series, Kim Yong Hwa said, “The goal to produce it in 2021. I plan to film the third and fourth part simultaneously this time as well.” He also added that EXO’s D.O. will be starring in the third part of the series. Kim Yong Hwa said, “I met him today. It’s confirmed.”
Currently, “Along with the Gods” series is under deliberation to determine if it will also be released in China. Kim Yong Hwa expressed his hopes to see good results for not only “Along with the Gods,” but also all Korean films.
Are you excited for the next installment?