Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Zombies in 'Kingdom' are Not Like Other Zombies You've Seen Before

A new zombie series is coming out on Netflix this January 25 - and if you love zombies as much as I do, you're either really excited about this or wary because, well, another zombie chuchu?

Trust me, though, when I say this one is different. I've watched a lot of zombie movies and series in my life; but when I watched the first two episodes of 'Kingdom' at the Netflix See What's Next event a few months ago, I still found myself gripping the edge of my seat (literally... we watched it in a theater).

I also got to talk to the writer, director, and a couple of actors in the show to find out more about the zombies. Maybe this will convince you to give the show a try.


Now, we all know that zombies in pop culture usually have unique characteristics that make them a little different compared to other zombies in pop culture; but for the zombies in 'Kingdom', writer Kim Eun-hee wrote about them with this in mind: "I refer to them as the patients of the epidemic or the plague, so I think there is a sense of sadness and compassion that you can feel towards our zombies."

As for her inspiration, Kim Eun-hee says that throughout her life, everything that she heard, read or saw played a factor in it. "Everything that has been accumulated inside me, I feel that they tend to come out at the right time at the right places throughout the process," she explains.


Director Kim Seong-hun points out that since we only got to watch the first two episodes so far, we haven't gotten to see the full aspect of their physical movements yet. "One new thing that will be introduced in episode 3 is that they run - and they run very fast," he shares. Now, while they don't have superpowers like flying their zombies use human muscles to their ultimate potential. "And because they literally don't have a brain, they are unable to move or use their hands."

Apparently, one model that they looked to for inspiration was the T-Rex, so their arm movements and their dexterity are akin to that of a T-Rex. "There have been about 100-200 extras in zombie makeup, though," he says, "so if there happens to be one person way in the back using his or her hands, I couldn't see that."


Ju Ji-hun, who plays the lead role of the Crown Prince in the series, says he didn't feel particularly scared while he was on the set or shooting the scenes. "However, I could really picture myself being chased or hunted by these zombies," he shares. "And because I'm on the set on the location with these zombie characters, the imagination became more vivid for me." He also adds that shooting required a lot of running, so he actually had to stay really fit.

Ryu Seong-ryong, who plays Jo Hak-jo, points out that the team really tried their best to bring the Korean beauty and make the most beautiful scenes in terms of cinematography. This also held true when it comes to the movements of the zombines. "I think they try to differentiate the movements of the zombies. We have a lot of joints bending in the zombies in the drama," he shares.


"I think that until now, what you saw of the Korean pop culture is the brighter, the funner and the side of the sun," Kim Seong-hun muses. "What we bring with you through 'Kingdom' is the side of the moon."

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