Yoo Ah In, Kim Hyun Joo, Won Jin Ah, And More Talk About What Drew Them To “Hellbound,” Working With “Train To Busan” Director, And More

“Hellbound” recently held a press conference with actors Yoo Ah In, Kim Hyun Joo, Park Jung Min, Won Jin Ah, Yang Ik Joon, and director Yeon Sang Ho.

Helmed by “Train to Busan” director Yeon Sang Ho, “Hellbound” is a six-part Netflix series set in a world where humans face a frightening supernatural phenomenon: emissaries from hell who appear on Earth without warning and condemn people to hell. Amidst the chaos caused by this terrifying new reality, an emerging religion led by Jung Jin Soo (played by Yoo Ah In) begins to gain popularity, while others desperately search for the truth behind this strange phenomenon.

Director Yeon Sang Ho introduced the drama saying, “In ‘Hellbound,’ a supernatural phenomenon occurs in the middle of the road, wreaking havoc in society. It’s a project that draws how people of different beliefs collide as a result.”

He then explained why he chose to portray the grim reapers and angels the way he did. Yeon Sang Ho shared, “It was like that when I imagined it. They say it appeared suddenly in ancient times, but it could appear once every 100 or 200 years. I figured that our imaginations of the angel and devil were built off the imaginations of people in these ancient times. I was curious about the original archetype they saw.”

Yeon Sang Ho added, “Among the images used to portray angels, there were images of large faces. I wondered what they saw to create images like that. I thought I wanted to find something close to that archetype and create the images in the drama.”

Continuing, Yeon Sang Ho elaborated on why the grim reapers travelled in packs of three. He explained, “While looking at the image of hell’s grim reaper, people will think about what hell is and start to imagine. I made it while thinking about what kind of character would capture how we imagined hell. The reason they stick together is because I think lynching is a horror keyword. For lynching that’s done to few people, I thought about how many people would be necessary for it to feel like a group and I thought three was enough.”

Yoo Ah In, who plays cult leader Jung Jin Soo, commented, “The title in itself was so powerful. Although I’ve seen many projects that contain the concept image of hell, it was my first time receiving a project with hell at its forefront so I grew curious. I was also curious about how it would feel for me to enter director Yeon Sang Ho’s universe of work.”

To describe his character, Yoo Ah In shared, “In a world where shocking supernatural happenings are occurring, such as angels’ messages and hell-bound demonstrations, Jung Jin Soo is someone who gives meaning to this and recommends living righteously. Typically, this work is done by religious cult leaders, but Jung Jin Soo does not call himself as cult leader. He describes himself as someone who personally researches supernatural phenomenons.”

Kim Hyun Joo shared a similar initial reaction to the script as Yoo Ah In. She explained, “For the first time, I felt how powerful the word ‘hell’ was. Typically, I thought expressing [characters from] original projects or real people were harder than creating them so I was reluctant, but when I saw the ‘Hellbound’ webtoon, the characters were expressed so realistically and I was touched by their expressions and emotions. I grew curious of how much I’d be able to express as an actress. Like Yoo Ah In, I also had a bit of greed of wanting to participate in a new work environment.”

Kim Hyun Joo plays Min Hye Jin, who she introduced by saying, “She’s a lawyer who blocks instigations from groups like ‘New Truth Society’ and ‘Arrowhead’ and helps people who’ve been condemned. In the teaser, Jung Jin Soo asks, ‘Is the man-made system of law just?’ She’s a character who stands on the antipode of that.”

The actress added, “When you look at director Yeon Sang Ho’s work, he’s told a lot of unrealistic stories dealing with supernatural phenomena. However, I think the actual story he wants to tell is about diverse groups of humans and diverse individuals. Min Hye Jin is more of a realistic character than an ideal one. I tried to portray her as someone who may sway at times, but can quickly get back on her feet. I thought that would be more powerful.”

Yeon Sang Ho shared why he cast these two stars in their roles, explaining, “I had a dream where I answered the phone and someone said, ‘I’m Yoo Ah In and I’ll do it.’ I woke up shouting but I teared up because it was a dream. But I actually received a call.” He jokingly added, “In that spot, I jumped up 2 meters [6.5 feet] and shouted out ‘Yay!'”

He continued, “Jung Jin Soo is a mysterious character. Honestly, the more you make [a character] mysterious, the less mysterious they become. Since he’s that type of character, it must’ve been hard to act out, but Yoo Ah In did really well.”

Yeon Sang Ho added, “Min Hye Jin is on the opposite side of that. She had to be someone who wasn’t affected by Jung Jin Soo’s strangely twisted image. That had to show. I’m a longtime fan of Kim Hyun Joo and I thought that the trustworthy image she’s developed over the years in the industry would become the base of Min Hye Jin’s image. It was hard to imagine an actress who could act this out besides Kim Hyun Joo.”

Park Jung Min, who plays producing director (PD) Bae Young Jae, revealed that he had seen the “Hellbound” webtoon beforehand and shared, “It deals with situations that arise as a result of supernatural phenomena, but as I was reading, I wondered whether these supernatural phenomena were also reflected in our reality. It touched me realistically and I thought it was meaningful that a project conveying this kind of meaning was being made into a drama. Although there are many projects that use webtoons as a base, it’s the first time someone who’s made a webtoon has created this kind of series. It’s so meaningful to participate in such a project.”

Won Jin Ah portrays the role of Song So Hyun, Bae Young Jae’s wife. She commented, “When I read the book, the happenings that occurred in such an unrealistic environment felt overwhelmingly realistic. I think participating in one of director Yeon Sang Ho’s projects is like a movie in itself. I was happy to get to work with the senior actors next to me.”

The actress also shared her thoughts on the storyline, explaining, “I thought about the society that our series showcases. The hell I imagined was like inferno but I began to think that if the majority of a community was unhealthy and selfish and more people thought that way, that place could be hell. Within that, I thought about how to properly distinguish right from wrong and how many more people like that there would have to be. Within society and community, I thought that I’d have to judge right from wrong in a healthy way.”

Yang Ik Joon also shared his reaction, commenting, “It’s an emotional story of the world of hell and hell-like reality and I was curious about how it would materialize. I’m not married so I was curious about how I could portray the role of a father. I was also curious about those left behind when unimaginable happenings occur to your family members and people you’re supposed to protect.”

He added, “I’ve done voice acting for director Yeon Sang Ho’s animation but his universe and cinematography is so original. He’s both a director and colleague I like. I’m glad we could create a good performance together.”

After writing the original “Hellbound” webtoon, director Yeon Sang Ho moved right into making the paperback manhwa and the Netflix series. He explained his reasoning, saying, “I said this when I first met Yoo Ah In and writer Choi Kyu Seok, but I created the universe of ‘Hellbound’ because I wanted to create a universe that I could play around with cinematically. It’s my cinematic playground and I wanted to create a playground that I could visit whenever I wanted and play a new game. That’s the universe of hell. The project I created to be the first ‘game’ is this ‘Hellbound’ series.”

Yeon Sang Ho added, “The ‘Hellbound’ universe is in an extreme setting and is a good setting that showcases many different kinds of people. There are a lot of different kinds of people in this world. It’s a universe that can show you a new image.”

“Hellbound” premieres globally on November 19 through Netflix. Check out the trailer here!

While we wait, start watching Yoo Ah In in “Chicago Typewriter” here:

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