Following the worldwide popularity of Train To Busan and the recent successful opening of Korean blockbuster film Rampant, it is no surprise that the Korean world of zombies are giving the Western walking dead a run for their money. We caught up with Director Kim Sung Hoon alongside the gorgeous leading men, Hyun Bin and Jang Dong Gun, at the Rampant press conference in Singapore where they gave us five reasons why the historical film is a must-watch for zombie fanatics.
From the same makers of Train To Busan, Rampant follows the story of Prince Lee Chung who has to protect the Joseon nation from the nightmarish monsters plaguing the country. To make things worse, Kim Ja Joon, the minister of military, is plotting to overthrow the dynasty…
#1 It’s the first Korean movie that combines historic drama with zombies.
In this all-new combined genre of Korean period drama meets zombies, Director Kim expressed that his inspiration stemmed from his desire to create a movie that is uniquely Korean, but with a dash of Western influence. “When the idea first dawned upon me, it really excited me. I thought that the images this movie could create was going to be magnificent and very new to the audience too. So the inspiration really came from the idea of combining something that’s uniquely Korean or Asian and the West.”
#2 Though they play rivals, the bromance between the two leads is the reason for their masterful performance.
Both leads are well-known for their superbly close friendship and one of the reasons why Jang Dong Gun could portray his role so well was due to the fact that he was in this project with his brother from another mother, Hyun Bin. “I felt more at ease and more comfortable acting alongside [Hyun Bin] for this production,” the actor commented. “Besides knowing me well, there’s also that high level of trust as a good friend. I’m just very grateful for the opportunity to be able to work in the same project alongside my very good friend, who’s also a great actor.”
Hyun Bin was equally excited when his sunbae took on the project as it is also the first time that the twosome get a chance to work with each other and observe one another’s work ethics. “This was the time that I could really see a new side of Jang Dong Gun, not just as a friend or a man I know, but also as an actor. So there’s been a lot of learning points for me to see how this guy changes when the camera turns on.”
#3 Most of the stunts in the film are done by the actors themselves.
Though it may look like there were many stuntmen involved in this seemingly action-heavy film, you would be surprised to know that the cast members mostly took on the job themselves. In fact, the lack of stuntmen on a film of this magnitude had become one of Director Kim’s main challenges. “There were very little stuntmen involved [in the entire process], so there were safety issues involved because most of the cast members had to do most of the action scenes themselves.”
Because of this, Jang Dong Gun jokingly expressed that he wouldn’t want to switch roles with Hyun Bin due to the sheer amount of intense stunts our hardworking oppa had to go through. “He would be rolling on the floor one moment, and the next minute he could be fighting with zombies in the film (laughs). There’s just so much to do [for him]. We were also doing the filming at the peak of winter so the conditions were really harsh.”
#4 The costumes and outlooks of each character play a crucial part in the story.
While the two actors’ outrageously good looks were masked by their rugged new appearances, these were important in Director Kim’s story development. “For Hyun Bin’s character, a lot of thoughts went into his transition into a Korean prince, starting from the outfit he has on when we first meet him. As for Jang Dong Gun’s character, the fabric of his outfit is very different from the other characters; he has this tiger striped pattern on his outfits that are made of velvet to further accentuate his character.”
#5 Jang Dong Gun knows how to play the perfect antagonist.
This is not Jang Dong Gun’s first rodeo as a villain and you can tell with the way he portrays Minister Kim in Rampant. “In my career as an actor, I’ve played many roles; many good roles and some villains. When it comes to playing the villain, what makes it more interesting and meaningful is that you get to reveal very in-depth emotions that you might never have experienced or you may have tried to hide.”
Photo credits: Golden Village Pictures
Catch Hyun Bin and Jang Dong Gun in Rampant, now showing in cinemas islandwide!