"Along with the Gods 2" stars pick their own 'afterlife guardians'
Writer: Florey DM
"Along with the Gods 2" director Kim Yong-hwa (right) and actors Ha Jung-woo (middle) and Kim Dong-wook (left) during the interview at Mandarin Oriental, Taipei.
"Along with the Gods 2: The Last 49 Days" is opening this 22 August in Singaporean cinemas.
Picking up where the first movie left off, this time we see Kang-lim (Ha Jung-woo) accompanying Su-hong (Kim Dong-wook) in the afterlife as the latter goes through his judgement, while Deok-choon (Kim Hyang-gi) and Hewonmak (Ju Ji-hoon) have to deal with the Household God, Sung-ju (Don Lee).
Other familiar faces fans can expect to see in the second movie include EXO's Do Kyung-soo as Private Won Dong-yeon, Lee Joon-hyuk as First Lieutenant Park Moo-shin, and Lee Jung-jae as Yeomra.
If the reception in its home county South Korea is any indicator, the movie promises to be a great continuation and conclusion to the two-parter. It is currently enjoying an even bigger success than the first movie, "Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds". It surpassed 10 million admission sales in just 14 days (two days earlier than the first movie), made the biggest opening weekend all over the world from the United States to New Zealand, and broken various other box office records all within weeks of opening in various territories.
To find out more about the movie, Cinema Online flew to Taipei to talk to director Kim Yong-hwa and stars Ha Jung-woo and Kim Dong-wook (stay tuned for our interview with Don Lee, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi).
Here's what they have to say:
"Along with the Gods 2" cast and directors shared plenty of interesting stories and facts during our interview with them.
Cinema Online: Looking back at the movies, was there anything about your acting or directing that you wish you've done differently?
Director Kim: If I have a chance, I want to re-take this movie but I know I cannot do it. I've kept discussing with the actors and all the staff while shooting this movie to make it better but you know, directors are always not satisfied with what they create. However, I feel happy because all the people who watched this movie really enjoyed it.
Ha Jung-woo: Ah...all the Korean men need to go to the army... and the worst nightmare for them is to go back to the army again. I'm not sure about the other actors but for me if I imagine that I have to re-shoot this movie again, it's a nightmare for me. It wasn't easy... every scene was very difficult and challenging like climbing a mountain, we all climbed that mountain over and over again and we managed to finish this movie. So after I watched the movie I feel more like "OK... I finished another one again".
Kim Dong-wook: I did it with everything I got, so I doubt that if I re-take this movie, I can do any better than this. Fortunately many people love this movie so I really appreciate it. If it wasn't enough in this movie, instead of re-taking it, I hope I will be able to show you better acting in the future.
Were there any scenes in the second movie that were harder to shoot than in the first movie?
Director Kim: Salinjiok (Hell of Murder) was the most difficult scene, because in the first movie it was at the beginning but in the second movie it will be shown in the ending scene, so I was nervous and worried. I had to shoot extremely opposite scenes so I was a little confused. All the technical parts were difficult definitely but it wasn't a problem.
Ha Jung-woo: For me.... I keep on talking about the 1000 years past scene, that scene was the last part of the movie that was shot. At that time, there was a cold wave watch issued. We were shooting under -20 degree, and we couldn't even open our eyes properly, and one day we had to stop shooting because of the extremely strong wind. Do you remember in Sokcho? [Asking Director Kim]. We were shivering in the cold and shooting so I think that physically that scene was the most difficult scene to shoot... also the furthest from my place.
Kim Dong-wook: Because all the other actors shot more scenes than I did, I don't dare to say physically there were any difficulties. However, we had limited time to shoot each day, so sometimes we had to rush to shoot them. I had to keep my focus and maintain my emotions on my character and I found it very difficult for me.
"Along with the Gods 2" focuses on Su-hong's (Kim Dong-wook) journey in the afterlife.
Singaporean fans really loved the first movie, what can they look forward to in this second movie?
Director Kim: I'm very sure it will be a satisfying presentation to our fans who enjoyed the first movie. All the hidden truths will be revealed in this movie and the level of completion of this movie is better than the first one. This movie will fulfil your expectations for sure.
Ha Jung-woo: There are many funny parts in this movie compared to the first one. There's also the three guardians' past, what the origin of their story is and how it goes through from the first to the second movie. You will experience more dramatic stories in this movie, with many entertaining scenes and graphics.
Kim Dong-wook: It's proven that our CG is very good in the first movie as many people loved it. In this second movie there will be a variety of different characters with different styles. I think this is also another part that you can enjoy in this movie.
Who among the cast will you pick to accompany you through the journey of the afterlife judgement?
Ha Jung-woo: Sung-ju (Don Lee). Hewonmak and Deok-choon are good but because I might have a lack of objectivity myself, I think it's better to choose Sung-ju as my lawyer.
Kim Dong-wook: I never thought about it but I also agree that Sung-ju is the best choice. [Ignores Ha Jung-woo's question to him: You can choose me again, right?]
How was it like filming two movies in one go?
Director Kim: We can save a lot of money. There was a confusion of the characters' emotions because we were making two movies in one go and we were not shooting scenes by passage of time. This is a double-edged sword; therefore it needs to be done with the best actors.
Ha Jung-woo: Firstly, I feel it's like making a brand. It's like making a series. The first movie was very much loved by fans so when there are new episodes, as a brand, it continues to give our fans something to enjoy.
[Looks at Dong-wook] Stop picking your nose and quickly answer.
Director Kim: [Also looks at Dong-wook] You answer the question too.
Kim Dong-wook: I forgot the question.
Ha Jung-woo: What's the advantage of filming two movies in one go?
Kim Dong-wook: Indeed it has a big advantage, I worried about it but many people loved the first movie and now they are waiting for the second one. Now I can show them another story in this movie so I think it's an advantage.
Kang-lim (Ha Jung-woo) defends Su-hong during the latter's afterlife trial.
If today is the last day of your life, who do you want to ask for forgiveness from?
Here's a snippet of our interview with Kim Dong-wook, Ha Jung-woo and director Kim Yong-hwa from "Along with the Gods 2: The Last 49 Days".
Cinema Online, 21 August 2018
Director Kim: I would forgive myself. Life is difficult, it sometimes put me in very difficult situation so I couldn't make the right decision and when I look back I feel regretful, so if I had the chance to forgive someone, I would forgive myself.
Ha Jung-woo: I remember two people... one is my university senior and the other one is my university junior. If I forgive only one of them is not right, so I should forgive those two together.. right?
Kim Dong-wook: Well.... I'm not sure if I have the right to forgive someone or not. Before I forgive someone, I would ask myself if I have been living good. So if I have anyone who I can forgive, I would forgive all of them.
Who do you think you were in your past life?
Director Kim: I think I was a person who did many good things, so many people love me, of course I've done this movie with many good staff and actors. I received so much love, what I thought is impossible to get.. and I think it's because I was a good person in my past life.
Ha Jung-woo: These days people say "you saved your country in your past life" when someone has done a very good deed. Saving country can be done with many people in many different kind of jobs. Anyway, I usually go to Hawaii for holidays and there was King Kamehameha and my friends keep saying I was that king in my past life. The question just reminds me of it... I'm sorry.
Kim Dong-wook: I also wonder what I was in my past life but I also have so many good things in my life now.... So I hope I was a good person to someone.