Opening this 18 January in Malaysia is "Along with the Gods", a movie adapted from the popular web comic series of the same name by Joo Ho-min.
The action fantasy blockbuster boasts a star-studded talented cast and an impressive array of CGI effects that are on a par with any Hollywood production.
It is no surprise then that back in its home country, it was able to pass the 10 million admission mark after just 16 days in cinema, making it the first movie of 2017 to achieve so in South Korea. It further passed the 12 million mark after its 23 day of showing, beating the 11.57 million record previously set by "Train to Busan" during the Gong Yoo-starrer's run in 2016.
Starring Cha Tae-hyun, Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon, Kim Hyang-gi, Kim Dong-wook, Do Kyung-soo and more, the movie tells of a firefighter who has to pass through seven trials in the afterlife to determine whether he is worthy of reincarnation.
Cinema Online had the chance to meet the cast and director of the movie during its premiere in Seoul last December. We had a little chat with them and find out more about their thoughts on topics such as reincarnation and bucket list, which revolves closely around their movie's afterlife theme.
Here's the first part of our interview with director Kim Yong-hwa and actors Cha Tae-hyun and Kim Dong-wook (stay tuned for our second part with actor Ju Ji-hoon and more!):
Cinema Online: Director Kim, why did you choose to adapt the "Afterlife" episode of the original web comic series?
Director Kim: There are 3 episodes in the original web comic but we had an agreement with our investors that we could make these three episodes into two movies. Personally, the third episode "Shin Hwa (The Myth)" is the most attractive for me, so I really want to make it into a movie. For now I'm making Episode 1 and 2 first.
How closely did you stick to your source materials?
Director Kim: There were two guardians and two additional lawyers in the webtoon so this is a little different. The cast had to play combinations of characters in the movie.
Kim Dong-wook, how was it like working with the director again, especially on a movie this intense?
Kim Dong-wook: I'm used to the director's style now. There were physically-challenging scenes but I de-stress by taking naps and eating good food.
What do you think people will say about the person next to you after their passing?
Director Kim (about Cha Tae-hyun): People will say he was a really good man.
Cha Tae-hyun (about Kim Dong-wook): A good actor? An actor who enjoys new challenges.
Kim Dong-wook (about Director Kim): Pioneer. The director is never afraid to challenge and try something new.
What's the top thing you want to do on your bucket list?
Cha Tae-hyun: I didn't really think about it but so far my life is quite successful, even more than I expected and imagined before so now I actually don't have anything I wish to do at the moment.
Kim Dong-wook: Well.... after I watched this movie... I think I would like to go travel happily with my wife, kids and even grandchildren.
Director Kim: Kim Dong-wook doesn't have his big family yet but I recently got a daughter, she is 1-year-old. However, I've been busy since my wife was pregnant so I couldn't spend time with them. Now my top thing on my bucket list is to spend more time with my daughter.
What or who do you wish to be reincarnated as?
Cha Tae-hyun: I want to be reborn as my son and be a good son.
Director Kim: I want to be a director again. I think a director's life is very dynamic even if it's very hard and stressful.
Kim Dong-wook: You are Malaysian, right? I suddenly have an idea. I want to be reborn as a famous actor in Malaysia, even more famous than Cha Tae-hyun. [Laughs].
Cha Tae-hyun, you are well known in Malaysia with the movie "My Sassy Girl" and Korean drama "Producer", would you like to say something to Malaysian fans to recommend this movie?
First of all, it's been a really long time since I get to meet Malaysian fans with a new movie so I'm really happy. In this movie I think I can show a different side of me compared to "My Sassy Girl" and "Producer" and I'm very sure this movie can win everyone's sympathy, there are many interesting scenes in this movie as well. I think Malaysian fans will love this movie even more than "My Sassy Girl".
Watch our exclusive interview with the "Along with the Gods" cast and director in the video below: