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Bong Joon-ho would say he needs 53 nails instead of a bag of nails

Bong Joon-ho would say he needs 53 nails instead of a bag of nails

Posted February. 13, 2020 07:53,   

Updated February. 13, 2020 07:53


Describing the way director Bong Joon-ho shoots a film, Chris Evans who played “Curtis” in “Snowpiercer” said Bong is the kind of person who would ask for 53 nails instead of a bag of nails when building a house. This shows how the South Korean director already has the whole vision of the film in his head before shooting. The Hollywood actor went on to say that, unlike other directors who shoot both the wide scene and individual coverage when two actors do a scene, Bong only shoots one of them. “You say, ‘Wait a minute. Don’t you want the whole scene here?’ and he is like ‘No. Don’t need it,’” said Chris, praising Bong as borderline genius. “Director Bong has storyboards laid out, and he has already edited it in his brain.”

Famous Hollywood actors and actresses who were the cast of “Snowpiercer” agree that working with Bong was “different” and “unique.”

John Hurt, who played Gilliam who stopped the revolt of the poorest people on the train in Snowpiercer, said in a 2014 interview with an Australian newspaper, “Tilda Swinton and I both said, ‘Well, I don’t want to work with anyone else ever (than director Bong),’” adding that the only shots were the ones seen on-screen.

Actors and actresses also appreciate his honesty and empathy. Song Kang-ho who is called Bong Joon-ho’s persona auditioned for a small part in a film in 1997 and did not get the part. Even though he was an obscure theater actor at the time, Bong, then assistant director, left a long message on his pager explaining why he did not get the part. Song said that was when he decided to be in Bong’s films. Five years later, they made “Memories of Murder” together.

When Tilda Swinton, who also appeared in “Okja,” came to South Korea to promote “Snowpiercer” in 2013, she said Bong attracted people with his delicate yet strong presence and he was like a walking encyclopedia on set who knew all the answers.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com