Yeon Sang-ho, director of Korean zombie hit Train to Busan, has revealed he is working with a “wider scope” and double the budget for follow-up Peninsula.
The 42-year-old filmmaker said it would be wrong to call the movie an “official sequel”, but said it is set within the same world as the 2016 film, four years on.
Director Yeon told Screen that the film is set at a time in which government authority has been “decimated” as a result of the zombie outbreak.
He added: “The scale of Peninsula can’t compare to Train To Busan, it makes it look like an independent film.
“Train To Busan was a high-concept film shot in narrow spaces whereas Peninsula has a much wider scope of movement.”
Train to Busan grossed $93m (£80m) at the worldwide box office and was lauded by Shaun of the Dead filmmaker Edgar Wright as the “best zombie movie in forever”.
In Peninsula, Gang Dong-won portrays a soldier who escapes from the Korean peninsula only to be sent back on a mission, discovering numerous survivors of the outbreak.
The peninsula has been turned into a ghetto, isolated by the rest of the world to prevent the spread of the virus.
Eerie parallels with the current spread of the coronavirus have not been lost on director Yeon.
He said: “Of course I never dreamt of anything like the new coronavirus. But recently I have been learning news about the collective selfishness that you do see facets of in Train To Busan and in Peninsula, that brings about tragedy.”
The filmmaker had initially expressed reluctance to make a sequel to Train to Busan, but changed his mind when creative inspiration struck.
“The idea of being able to build a post-apocalyptic world – which would be sort of savage but also in a way like ancient times, or like ruined modern times, with rules of its own – was interesting to me,” he said.
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He added: ”There could be many stories that could keep coming out of that world. Destroyed, isolated, extreme, but with hope of escape and humanism, and the way world powers would look at this place.
“There could be a lot of material with a lot of greater significance.”
Director Yeon, who also made animated zombie tale Seoul Station, said he hopes the success of Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite will lead to a “diversified interest” in Korean cinema.
Shot over three months starting in June 2019, Peninsula has already sold to distributors in a number of international territories.
The movie is currently earmarked for a release this summer in South Korea.