MANILA — All hell literally breaks loose in “Hellbound,” an upcoming South Korean series directed by filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho, who hopes his latest project would give its viewers some “food for thought.”
Based on a webtoon of the same title created by Yeon, “Hellbound” is set in an alternate world where humans are told when they are going to die. When that time comes, a trio of monstrous beings appear to brutally kill the person and send them to hell.
In the middle of the chaos, a religious group rises to power while another group rejects their teachings.
Despite what seems to be an unrealistic setting, viewers will be able to relate to the show’s characters, whose different beliefs will cause conflicts, Yeon said in an online press conference on Tuesday.
“I think all of [the characters] are people who we see in society. They have different convictions and emotions, and I think the viewers can resonate with their convictions,” said Yeon, known for directing the hit zombie horror film “Train to Busan” and its sequel “Peninsula.”
“I think it’s fun to watch the clash of these kinds of convictions and it gives us an opportunity to think about our society,” he added.
Yeon said he hoped the six-part “Hellbound,” which marks his TV directing debut, would be a show that is not simply “consumed” but would also give viewers “food for thought.”
Leading the powerhouse cast is Yoo Ah-in, who portrays Jeong Jin-soo, the charismatic leader of the religious group The New Truth.
“Jin-soo tries to put meaning into these events and he preaches to the world that they should live a righteous life without sin,” Yoo, who starred in the 2018 mystery film “Burning,” said of his character.
“He doesn’t think he’s a cult leader. He thinks he’s someone different. He thinks he investigates these events,” he added.
Yoo usually has short hair but he grew it long for the series to resemble Jin-soo’s appearance.
“The long hair wasn’t comfortable because I had to put it back and not let it fall, but still I think it gives that mysterious kind of ambience,” he said.
While the series largely deals with hell, filming it felt like heaven for the cast members who enjoyed working on the project.
“The director kind of demonstrated how we should act so that was kind of fun,” said actress Kim Hyun-joo, who plays a lawyer who opposes the New Truth.
“Hellbound” is Netflix’s latest original Korean series following the massive success of “Squid Game,” the streaming service’s most popular series ever.
Actor Park Jeong-min said he believes “Hellbound” would be received well by viewers outside Korea.
“I think people in Korea and across the world can really resonate with the terror that the people in ‘Hellbound’ feel,” he said.
Prior to its scheduled Netflix premiere on November 19, “Hellbound” had an advanced screening at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, the first Korean series to be screened at the event.
The first three episodes were also shown at the 2021 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) last October.
“I remember [the audience] not moving, just staying very still and being so immersed in the story. I could feel that energy and it was quite an experience,” Yoo said, recalling the BIFF screening.