Posted : 2013-07-05 17:03
Updated : 2013-07-05 17:03

Glimpse of Bong's upcoming 'Snowpiercer' at showcase

From left are movie critic Lee Dong-jin, director Bong Joon-ho, actress Go Ah-sung and actor Song Kang-ho speaking about the upcoming film "Snowpiercer" at a showcase organized by Naver at Cheongdam Cine City, southern Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of End Credi

By Yun Suh-young

Director Bong Joon-ho's upcoming film "Snowpiercer" is the focus of much curiosity among fans and reporters because, until this week, there had been no publicity promoting it. Unlike other movies, there had been no press releases or press conferences for "Snowpiercer," scheduled to have its premiere on Aug. 1.

The first event to satisfy the curiosity of those waiting for news of the film was an hour-long online showcase which started at 9 p.m., Thursday, on the nation's largest search engine "Naver."

Director Bong and actors Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung were invited to talk about the film with movie critic Lee Dong-jin as host.

The event showed excerpts from the movie and scenes from the making of the film while Bong and the actors made comments.

The foreign cast also briefly introduced themselves on video clips and each gave their own interpretation of what the film is about. Chris Evans playing a major character, Curtis, said it was an "allegory for class warfare" and Tilda Swinton playing Mason, a vicious character, said it was "about survival and life."

Bong, however, gave a rather simple and unexpected answer when asked where he put the most focus on while shooting the film.

"The movie sounds very profound, but I initially thought of a really intense action movie. Bodies clashing, fighting, bleeding…I simply thought of it as a very physical movie," said Bong laughing.

"The profound meanings that our foreign actors mentioned in their explanation do constitute the basis of the story, but when I filmed it, I just thought of it as a three-dimensional movie."

"Snowpiercer" is an action-thriller set in the future where a new ice age has killed everyone except those on a train called "Snowpiercer." The train, powered by a perpetual-motion engine, circulates around the globe stopping at the same place at the same time of the year. As time passes, a class struggle erupts between "the poor" inhabiting in the back of the train and "the elite" living at the front. A revolution occurs as the poor try to move to the front.

Bong came up with the idea for the film from French graphic novel series "Le Transperceneige" by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette.

"I found the series one day at a comic book store I often go to and read the whole series on the spot. I thought the story would make a great film," said Bong.

"The basics are the same _ the ice age, the confinement in the train, the fighting inside it. But I re-wrote the scenario entirely for a year."

It was in 2004 when Bong encountered the story, during pre-production of his 2006 film "The Host," but he started writing the scenario after filming "Mother" (2009).

For the film, which began shooting in April last year, a 500-meter train set was created from scratch and a special effect device was brought in to simulate motion. The filming took place mostly in Prague, the Czech Republic, but some scenes were also shot in Austria.

The movie stars Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris as well as the two Korean actors Song and Go.

The movie is director Bong's first English-language film and about 80 percent of the film is in English, excluding the parts by Song and Go.

"It was a tight schedule because we had to follow the Hollywood system. But it was fun filming with a great cast," said Bong.

Song, who is back on screen after an 18 month hiatus, said he learned much from the Hollywood system.

"The atmosphere was great on set. The shooting ended exactly on time. But I was worried that I might get sick because the system wouldn't allow that," said Song.

Go said she missed the foreign cast.

"We had so many foreign actors. We're here as Korean representatives of the film but I can't wait to promote the movie with our foreign stars," she said.

Some of the cast in the movie including Chris Curtis and Tilda Swinton are expected to visit Korea to promote the film.

The movie will be released on Aug. 1.

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