Director Choi Dong Hoon Creates A New Cinematic Universe In “Alienoid”


Director Choi Dong-hoon loves a challenge. This is clear from his latest film Alienoid, a two-part time travel, alien combat adventure story. The genre-blurring film is his most ambitious work yet, but he’s known for taking risks in pursuit of inventive storytelling.

Choi is one of the most successful directors in contemporary South Korean cinema, perhaps because he never stops questioning himself. After remastering the Korean crime thriller genre with films such as The big scam and Tazza: the high rollersChoi makes Jeon WooChi: The Taoist Sorcerer, a film hailed as Korea’s first fantasy/superhero blockbuster. His 2012 heist, The thieves, became one of the highest-grossing films in Korean cinema history and his first landmark film, Assassination, sold 10 million tickets.

Alienoid, starring Kim Tae-Ri, Ryu Jun-yeol, So Ji-sub, and Kim Woo-bin, is another chance for Choi to reconfigure a genre. The tongue-in-cheek, witty sci-fi film features conflicted wizards, aliens with evil intentions, robot guards, wire-fu sequences, and Goryeo-era gunfire. The creatively complex film took five years to make and clearly reflects the director’s ongoing desire to explore new cinematic horizons.

“Korean cinema hasn’t had much reference in the past for sci-fi movies,” Choi said. “All my previous films were based on realism. This time around I went to the furthest end of the spectrum. I thought I was going to challenge myself. »

Why make a movie about extraterrestrials? As a child, Choi was fascinated by the idea. Those intrigued by this possibility generally fall into one of two camps: they are terrified of the idea or they welcome the potential involvement. Choi confesses his fear and fascination.

“I was one of those people who would be scared of aliens coming,” Choi said. “But every time I saw those sci-fi movies with time travel or aliens, when I was a kid in the theater, I was thrilled, I was elated. I will remember this movie for a long time. I wanted to share this pure delight and exhilaration that I felt with the audience. To me, the whole concept of aliens coming down to earth is very scary, so I’m focusing more on people who would see the aliens coming and would also fight against them.

Choi wrote the film with its star cast in mind, incorporating elements of their personalities into its characters.

“Of course they didn’t know that,” he said. “They were on my mind when I was writing and I kept wondering, what would that person say, what would that person do in a situation like this.”

It took a full year before Choi’s dream cast was free to sign on, and he spent that year constantly revising the script. He attributes some of his commercial success to the subjects he chooses to explore, but he’s sure another factor is his habit of constantly revising his scripts. When directing a film, he likes to imagine himself in the audience, watching the film for the first time, and with this perspective often revisits the script.

At least five of his films have been box office successes, attracting between 2 and 13 million Korean viewers. Yet the box office isn’t his only definition of success.

“Most movies are meant to be forgotten a month after release,” Choi said. “I want my films to be seen by as many people as possible, for a very long time, and I hope that they will leave a mark, a great impression on the minds of the public for a long time and that they will really stand the test of time. . If I see those classic Hollywood movies, they come to me after 50 or 60 years, and I think that’s something that really demonstrates the greatness of a movie.

At one point, Choi had three different versions of his Alienoid script. He decided to release it in two films and film them simultaneously

“My favorite script was already meant to be shot in two parts,” he said. “It was a challenge. However, I thought it would be a really fun project to take on, and it would be a lot of fun for the audience to see it in two parts.

A difficult aspect of manufacturing Alienoid adapted its production process to incorporate the extensive use of special effects.

“Usually I see my movie take shape during filming, but this time around I didn’t really see it during filming,” Choi said. “I saw my film take shape and become what it should be during post-production. It took me a year to complete the post (production process). It was something I had never experienced before. It was great because I saw how fun it is to work on post-production and what it adds to the project.

Growing up, Choi thought of himself as pretty ordinary, too ordinary to be a successful director. This notion disappeared on the third day of filming his first project. Suddenly he was 100% sure that achieving was his destiny.

“I was having so much fun doing something that didn’t exist in the world,” Choi said. “When all the people I’ve collaborated with – it’s a collaborative effort – when we worked on this piece together and brought it to the public, when that happened, when I felt that thrill, that was the greatest pleasure I’ve ever felt, so I would tell all aspiring directors to believe in you, because you will feel euphoria when your movie finally comes out.

The first part of Alienoid was released on July 20 in Korea, with a US release scheduled for August 26. The CJ ENM film is distributed in the United States by Well Go USA.


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