Director Yeon Sang-ho enjoys live-action remake of his feature debut

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) — Acclaimed director and screenwriter Yeon Sang-ho said Tuesday that he feels very lucky that his lesser-known debut animated feature has been turned into an action series. real more than a decade after its release.

“After 11 years, ‘The King of Pigs’ is being remade and shown to a new audience. It’s very lucky, I think,” Yeon said in an online interview with media. “To reflect a decade-long change in our society and industry, the production team and cast have created a new story.”

“The King of Pig” is a 2011 animated film that revolves around Kyung-min, a businessman recalling his traumatic memory as a middle schooler who continues to be bullied by his classmates. It has won critical acclaim for its realistic depiction of school violence and its classification by wealth and level.

It was invited to the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Korean animated feature to be screened at the world’s most prestigious film festival.

Directed by Kim Dae-jin and written by Tak Jae-young, its 2022 television adaptation with the same title launched on Tving, a local streaming service, on March 18, as a sequel to the 2011 original. Four episodes out of 12 came out on Tuesday.

Yeon, who rose to international fame for the zombie thriller “Train to Busan” (2016), said he asked screenwriter Tak to expand his debut film into a longer TV series a few years ago to recount stories of victims and bullies about 20 years later.

And he suggested weaving a new plot centered around the protagonist’s quest for revenge as a way to adapt the 97-minute animated film into a 12-episode series.

“When my animated film came out, a lot of people asked me how the authors would live after graduation. And I would say they should live well like normal people around us,” he said. -he declares. “I was curious about their current lives and the victim who was targeting them.”

In the first four episodes of the TV series, Kyung-min (Kim Dong-wook), who was the biggest victim of school bullying 20 years ago, begins his gruesome revenge on the delinquents who lead now a quiet life and have forgotten their past misdeeds.

But Yeon, who also wrote and directed his first Netflix series “Hellbound” (2021), did not get involved in the latest remake project, although he did take part in some TV series, including “The Cursed” ( 2020) from tvN, as a screenwriter.

Still, the versatile director said he was very pleased with the remade version of his film for its quality depiction of the childhood trauma Kyung-min grapples with and the heart-pounding sequences of his revenge.

“It seems like the show draws a clear line between victim and abuser and advocates Kyung-min’s illegal behavior,” he said. “But it’s more complicated than that. The show doesn’t just point fingers at one side. It’s worth watching more to see how Kyung-min will go further.”

Screenwriter Tak said he tried not to lose the satirical tone of Yeon’s original, which criticizes social stratification and meritocracy through college students.

“Viewers will be thrilled to see Kyung-min’s revenge in the early parts, but he will face a dilemma about the legitimacy of his activities,” he said. “In the later parts, viewers may feel betrayed but quickly wonder about the right path Kyung-min has taken.”

“The King of Pigs” is now available on TVing, with two episodes airing each Friday.

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