“The Pirates 2” Director Talks About Casting Kang Ha Neul, Han Hyo Joo, EXO’s Sehun + Difficulties Of Filming With Water And CGI
Director Kim Jung Hoon recently participated in an interview with News1 about “The Pirates: Goblin Flag,” the follow-up to the hit 2014 film “The Pirates.”
“The Pirates: Goblin Flag” is a period action-adventure comedy about a group of fortune-seekers who take to the high seas searching for lost treasure. It stars Kang Ha Neul, Han Hyo Joo, Lee Kwang Soo, EXO’s Sehun, Chae Soo Bin, Kwon Sang Woo, and more.
About why he chose to make a follow-up to “The Pirates,” director Kim Jung Hoon said, “As the father of two children, I felt attracted to the genre of adventure films that you can watch with your kids. I was part of the generation that grew up watching adventure movies since I was little, so I always wanted to make a family adventure film, and ‘The Pirates 2’ scratched that itch for me.”
He continued, “The first movie was such a big hit that it would be a lie to say that I didn’t feel pressured. It’s a difficult time for Korean movies right now, and we felt pressure to overcome the success of the first one, but it’s a fun movie that we made to entertain audiences, so I’m hoping that it will receive a lot of love over the Lunar New Year holidays.”
The movie involved a large-scale production including elaborate sets, underwater filming, and advanced CGI. The director said, “It’s a fantasy adventure movie, so the visual elements are very important. A fantasy adventure movie isn’t possible with CGI alone. The cinematography and lighting are also important. And the most important factor are the actors who have to imagine what they’re seeing around them. The filming was pushed back to the winter, when it was cold. We couldn’t film in the summer because of COVID-19 and the rainfall season, so the actors really gave it their all in the bitter cold. Their expressions and acting brought the CGI to life.”
Kim Jung Hoon continued to express his gratitude for the cast. “Moo Chi, played by Kang Ha Neul, is a cheeky character who needs a lot of diverse acting. I had very high judgment of Kang Ha Neul’s acting spectrum and talent, so I cast him. Han Hyo Joo was just right for the role of Hae Rang because she combines a strong interior and stable acting within her own femininity. As I worked with the cast, just as I heard through reports, Kang Ha Neul is very upright and very focused on his acting. Han Hyo Joo is very professional. She’s passionate, works hard, and manages herself well, and her behavior toward others was exemplary. I think that everyone did even better than I expected, including Chae Soo Bin, Sehun, and Park Ji Hwan.”
About Sehun, he added, “I think that an archer basically pins down an enemy with his gaze alone. That’s why I searched for an actor with a powerful gaze, both strong and cold. I happened to come across Sehun, and I liked his gaze, and he had the right atmosphere and looks for the character too.”
Regarding the underwater filming, he said, “Filming those scenes is much harder than it appears. It’s hard from the director’s perspective and from the actors’ perspective to an unimaginable degree. The actors can hardly do anything when they’re submerged in water, and so it’s meaningless for a director to try to give directions. I am so grateful to the actors who could act even when they were in the water. Park Ji Hwan got water in his ear during filming and got a middle ear infection. Kang Ha Neul got water up his nose and had to go to the hospital to have it extracted. Lee Kwang Soo and Han Hyo Joo would spit up water when I yelled ‘cut.’ That’s how hard it was on everyone. The production staff, who were assisting, also went through a lot as well. I am deeply, deeply grateful to the actors, the camera directors, the stunt director, and the stunt actors.”
The interviewer mentioned a scene in the movie involving penguins, and he said, “I thought a lot about what kind of animals could relate to and communicate with the humans. I thought about fantasy animals too, but in the end I chose the friendly and familiar penguins. That scene was really Lee Kwang Soo’s one-man show. He was just acting opposite blue dummies, but when he was acting, you could see the penguins’ reactions. He was very good, but when the scene ended, he told me that his head was messed up. He said that the penguins even showed up in his dreams.”
Watch the first “The Pirates” movie below!