Space Sweepers, South Korea’s first outer space-themed sci-fi film, is all set to premiere on Netflix this February 5. Ahead of the release, actors Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, and Yoo hae-jin, along with Director Jo Sung-hee, gathered for a virtual press conference on Tuesday to introduce the film and share their hopes and experiences during production.
Originally slated for a summer 2020 theatrical release, Space Sweepers suffered several pandemic-related delays before its makers decided to release it exclusively on Netflix.
The press conference was moderated by a host who asked pre-submitted questions from select journalists from the Asia-Pacific region. The journalists watched the exclusive event live on YouTube.
At the start of the event, Song Joong-ki (The Battleship Island), the film’s lead actor, described the movie as a story about a bunch of misfits who end up saving the world. He seemed visibly excited about his reunion with Director Jo, who worked with him in the 2012 hit fantasy romance film A Werewolf Boy.
“Even back in 2012, I heard that he [Jo] was planning to create this kind of space sci-fi movie. When he proposed this project, I immediately wanted to do it because it was so new and fresh and jumped into it without even reading the script,” Song said.
It isn’t difficult to imagine why an actor of Song’s caliber would not think twice before saying yes to this film. The story of the ambitious project unfolds in the year 2092 when desertification of the Earth drives affluent people to abandon the planet and the working class to struggle. Instead of space soldiers in fancy suits, Space Sweepers follows a crew of ordinary Koreans trying to make ends meet by collecting junk and debris in outer space.
The highly unusual story set in space comes with social commentary on climate change and class divide and requires advanced visual effects. “I got the idea when a friend told me about the dangers of space debris. It took ten years’ worth of planning and research.” Director Jo revealed.
Jo’s passion and research came through in the script, which drove Little Forest actress Kim Tae-ri to portray Captain Jang, the captain of the spaceship Victory. She is not the oldest or the strongest, but she has the charisma that makes her fit to lead the crew.
“Director Jo made me move away from the obvious while playing this character. Captain Jang is charismatic but not perfect. I brought out her humane and innocent sides as well,” Kim said.
On the other hand, Song Joong-ki described his character Tae-ho as “devastated and lost in life after he leaves the UTS special forces.”
“I was in a similar state of mind when I began working on the film,” said the actor, possibly alluding to his high-profile divorce with Song Hye-kyo in 2019. “But after meeting the crew of Victory, Tae-ho learns to have fun and put himself back together.”
Meanwhile, Extreme Job (2019) actor Jin Seon-kyu, who plays the gruff but warm-hearted engineer Tiger Park, shared that he worked out a lot to achieve the desired look for his character. Veteran actor Yoo Hae-jin (Confidential Assignment), who plays the robot Bubs, was initially only asked to lend his voice to the character but decided to get more involved and take on the challenge of working with motion capture technology.
“It was my first time acting while wearing a suit fitted with motion capture sensors, and it was very challenging,” Yoo remarked.
English actor Richard Armitage (Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit), who couldn’t physically attend the event, introduced his character Sullivan through a brief video message and also left encouraging messages for his co-stars.
Space Sweepers is set to mark many monumental firsts for the South Korean film industry, from being the country’s first space movie to using motion capture technology for the first time. At its heart, it boasts of a distinctive Korean identity and tenacity.
Instead of being burdened, the cast appeared mostly excited to share the result of their hard work. “I feel like a national athlete with Korea’s flag on my chest,” Jin Seon-kyu beamed. Kim Tae-ri advised the viewers to watch the film in a dark room with the volume turned up, while Song Joong-ki hoped that everyone is entertained while staying at home during the pandemic.
“I hope the world acknowledges the range of movies produced in Korea,” Director Jo said. This is a sentiment longtime fans of Korean films will echo.
Source: The author of this article participated and represented Kdramapal in the virtual event.