• Interview


TRAIN TO BUSAN Cast Experiences Cannes Film Festival

Jun 07, 2016
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
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“I chose it because it’s the first zombie blockbuster in Korea”
The first Korean film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was invited as a Midnight Screening, was TRAIN TO BUSAN. The first live action feature from YEON Sang-ho, the acclaimed director of indie animations The King of Pigs (2011) and The Fake (2013), TRAIN TO BUSAN, which met with a rapturous response from critics and standing ovation during its gala premiere at the Lumiere Theater at the Palais des Festivals, is poised to be one of this summer’s biggest Korean films when it goes on release domestically in August.
The film stars GONG Yoo as a divorced successful hedge fund manager whose neglected daughter asks him to bring her down to Busan on her birthday to visit her mother. Just as they board the express train in Seoul Station down to the port city, a zombie outbreak descends chaos on them and their fellow passengers.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in May, the team for TRAIN TO BUSAN visited the Korean pavilion (operated by the Korean Film Council) by the sandy beach of the Croisette during the Cannes Film Festival. KoBiz was briefly able to sit down with the cast members of the film in town for the premiere, which included GONG Yoo, JUNG Yu-mi and KIM Su-an, each of whom were attending Cannes for the very first time.
KoBiz: This is the first time for all of you in Cannes. How has the experience been for you?
GONG Yoo: Actually, this has also been my first time at a foreign international film festival, not just Cannes. So it has been very exciting, especially the first time I watched a film at the Lumiere Theater in the Palais des Festivals. It was really a thrilling experience.
KIM Su-an: From my hotel, if you look outside it feels like we’re here on a big movie set. It’s very romantic and although I’ve already been able to visit many places I think that this is my favorite city now.
JUNG Yu-mi: At first I was very nervous about being here but once I finally arrived I then realized that it actually felt very similar to the Busan International Film Festival. At this point I think I’ve begun to feel quite comfortable about it.

KoBiz: You’ve already worked on so many films, Sprout (2013), Hide and Seek (2013), etc, but how was your experience on a big disaster film set?
GONG Yoo: You know she’s going to go to Hollywood, right? (laughs)
KIM Su-an: Well I already shot the commercial films Hide and Seek and Coin Locker Girl last year but TRAIN TO BUSAN was really the warmest welcome I’ve ever had on a set.
KoBiz: You made one action film in the past (The Suspect, 2013). This year you have both TRAIN TO BUSAN and The Age of Shadows. Are you trying to expand your image in cinema?
GONG Yoo: I didn’t choose this film as a way of adapting my image or in order to show a new side of myself. Instead, I chose it because it’s the first zombie blockbuster in Korea and I think it’s meaningful to try new things in cinema. However, at the same time, if I’m able to show different aspects of my character and of my acting styles, I also find that to be very satisfying.
Kobiz: Out of all the characters in the film, yours is probably the most calm, even ironically so, given that she’s pregnant. However, if you found yourself in that same situation, what do you think you would do?
JUNG Yu-mi: I probably would have jumped out of the train! (laughs) Actually I thought about that and honestly if I were ever to be in the same situation as in the film I think I would have done more or less the same thing. Although I’m not sure I would have made it all the way to Busan. At some point along the way I’m sure I would have faltered and been taken out.

KoBiz: There’s an important scene in the film in which you both sing a song and begin to shed some tears. What were you thinking the moment you filmed that?
KIM Su-an: While we were on location, we had to do over 20 takes, both because of the CGI work they would do later and also some focus problems. But when I had to cry for the scene I thought about how I would feel if my own mother were to pass away. I’m very close to my mom.
KoBiz: Compared to other characters in TRAIN TO BUSAN, your protagonist undergoes the most change. Beginning as a financier with little regard for others but eventually turning into a hero. What did you do to show that change on screen?
GONG Yoo: Rather than calculating how I should act, all I needed to do was to connect with Su-an to see how she was reacting to me. It became very natural to change my character through the different situations in the film. This happened quite simply through showing a father’s love.
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