Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days, the sequel to last year’s hit film Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds, looks to become another tent-pole film this summer, expanding its post-mortal world to Asia.
As the first part followed the death of firefighter Kim Ja-hong and his 49-day journey in the afterlife guided by three reapers, the second part will focus on the backstories of the three reapers and how their paths crossed a millennium ago.
Director Kim Yong-hwa said the second film will focus on the themes of forgiveness and redemption.
“The first part, in which I built up each character, has dealt with the emotional parts in a rather blunt way. But in the second part, I had some more leeway to handle more about forgiveness and redemption,” Kim said.
“When I first read the original webtoon by Joo Ho-min, the two words – forgiveness and redemption – lingered in my mind. I think those two are the most noble but difficult things people can do in their lives. So, I wanted to give viewers some time to think about those values as well as good fun in watching this movie.”
Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi from the first instalment will once again play the grim reaper trio Gangrim, Haewonmaek and Deok-chun, respectively who were all humans 1,000 years ago.
Actor Ha, on the role of the head reaper, said acting was challenging because he had to leap back and forward in time. “I shot eight scenes in Murder Hell: the first three scenes for part 1 and the other five for part 2. Since there is a thousand-year time gap between them, I had a hard time portraying my character,” Ha said.
Since the film is heavily dependent on computer graphics, he also said acting while imagining what is not present in shooting was difficult. “I needed much of my imagination. In the bare field, I had to build up emotional and physical tension alone. Looking at pre-visuals, I calculated the direction I should look and how I should act, imagining my partner actor is there.”
Train to Busan star Ma Dong-seok, a Korean-American actor also known as Don Lee, joins the cast as the muscular but tender-hearted god protecting the House.
The fantasy series is based on the popular webtoon of the same name and was regarded as a trailblazer in the Korean film industry last year. The two films were shot simultaneously for the first time in the country’s film industry, partly to save production costs.
The first part, released in December 2017, has been a smash hit in the local box office, becoming the second most-viewed film of all time in Korea and attracting more than 14 million viewers.
The film became the highest-grossing Korean film in Taiwan, and the second-highest-grossing Korean film in Hong Kong following The Battleship Island.
Along with the Gods 2 will hit local theatres on August 1.
This article was originally written by Park Jin-hai for The Korea Times.