Kim Yong-Hwa, the South Korean filmmaker whose credits include box office smash Along With The Gods and its sequel, has provided an update on the next two planned chapters in the fantasy action drama franchise, as well as his potential first co-production with Hollywood.
Speaking at the 2019 International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), the director discussed Prodigal, a U.S.-Korea co-production that he announced in 2017 would be produced by his company Dexter Studios, its first Hollywood film.
The project was set to be co-produced with POW! Entertainment, the American outfit run by Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, who died last year at the age of 95. Mr Kim said that, following Lee’s death, the film had become “complicated”.
“Now Stan Lee has passed away and the situation is complicated. Many producers are involved and chain of title and others. So my company thinks that extending my involvement would not be beneficial. For the current status, I took my hands off from this. That’s about it,” the director commented in a translated session.
Reports back in 2017 disclosed Prodigal would focus on “paternal love”. The Korean filmmaker said he had explored that topic in the two pictures he has directed since – the 2017 fantasy action box office smash Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds, which grossed more than $100m in Korea, and its 2018 sequel Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days, which took north of $90m in its home market.
“The first film is a tribute to my mother, the second is a tribute to my father,” he explained.
The filmmaker also updated on a further two previously mooted sequels in the Along The Gods franchise, saying he was “hoping to finish” the series and that he would shoot them back-to-back, as was the case with the first two films. The pics are based on an online comic, and Mr Kim said he would “have to be loyal” to the original source material.
Mr Kim also teased that his next project will be sci-fi action drama The Moon, about a spaceship that gets stranded on the dark side of the moon. He is hoping to shoot next year.
Mr Kim is also the founder of Dexter Studios, the Korean production company that is seen as a VFX pioneer in the region. Next up from Dexter is Ashfall (Mount Paektu), the big-budget disaster movie about a volcano eruption on the Korean peninsula. The company is also in talks with several U.S. partners about potential films and TV project collaborations.
In the Macao session, the filmmaker walked the audience through the VFX process behind films such as his 2013 comedy Mr. Go, which follows a gorilla that becomes a Korean baseball star.
Quizzed by an audience member about whether his focus on VFX could come at the detriment to actors, the director insisted that the two operate together seamlessly.
“VFX is not replacing real actors, it is supplementing them. We rely to an extent on the special effects but it doesn’t affect the performances of actors on site, they still discuss with the director and do what they want to do,” he commented.