After Squid Game, Hometown Cha Cha Cha and My Name, Netflix is bringing another Korean drama to our screens: Hellbound. The highly-anticipated series is helmed by master director, Yeon Sang-ho—the mind behind the smash zombie movie, Train to Busan. Yeon worked on the original eponymous webtoon and is known for his occult thriller, now he’s trying his hand in bringing the Hellbound universe to the screen.
The series tells the stories of otherworldly beings—called executioners of hell—who appear out of nowhere to issue a decree and condemn individuals to hell. With the supernatural occurrence causing great mayhem, a new religious group, The New Truth gains influence among the public. However, a few people become suspicious of its activities and begin investigating its involvement in the mysterious events.
Hellbound was invited to three international film festivals including the Busan International Film Festival prior to its Netflix release and made history as the first Korean series to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
As it drops on Netflix on November 19, Tatler caught up with the cast and director during a roundtable discussion to talk about how they are bringing the popular webtoon to life.
Director Yeon is one of South Korea’s most well-known directors. What were you most looking forward to working with him?
Yoo Ah-in: It was indeed a pleasure and a very enjoyable experience on set to have worked with South Korea’s best director. Before we started shooting and before I got to start working with him, we all have different images of hell and what kind of world would be created through Hellbound so I had very high expectations of how director Yeon was planning to bring to life his universe—that is probably going to be something very close yet far away in each of our minds.
Kim Hyun-joo: When I met director Yeon through his previous productions, he is a master at creating a universe that’s very unique so I think I was quite biased because people who tend to be talented in creating such universes tend to be very close-minded sometimes and adamant about their opinions. And also when I searched online and saw his profile image, it actually made me think that way even more. That’s quite a picture that he has there online. (laughs) However, after getting to meet him and experiencing working with him, I realised that he’s a very fun person to talk to and also a very smart creator.
Yang Ik-june: Just because we’re dealing with a quite heavy and serious subject matter, it doesn’t mean that our experience on set also has to be heavy. The director and I think he did this on purpose. He was the clown on the set so he really made the environment and ambience enjoyable. Although the actors were portraying very heavy, intense roles, we were always able to work in a healthy environment. I think the director created what I would like to call a healthy tension. And it allowed for all of the actors to really get into our roles, almost a beautiful nervousness if you will. From start to finish, it was a very enjoyable and healthy experience.
Park Jung-min: This is the second time I was working with director Yeon and it’s a very enjoyable experience to work with him on set. I also love having conversations with him because I get to peek into his ideas and stories which are just so amazing. He also talked to me about Hellbound before I got into this project, and I’m just really happy and excited that this actually became a live-action series. I’m also thinking that because he has so many ideas, would he actually be able to put all of them on screen before he dies? I really envy him for his ideas and imagination.
Won Jin-ah: I think a universe like Hellbound can only be pulled off by director Yeon. So I’m just really lucky and I’m very honoured to have this chance to be part of the project. I think the whole idea was very crisp, fresh, so I was so excited to be part of it. And the series is very serious and dark but the ambience on set was very joyful. So after only after we saw the results, we were reminded that it was actually a very dark piece.