Gwoemul Raids Again: Latest News on THE HOST 2
The Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), a public institution which oversees the country’s cultural and entertainment industries, announced on September 1 (Korean date) that it will support technical development of the upcoming monster movie THE HOST 2 (Gwoemul 2). The movie was chosen as the winner of ’2009 Global Project Technical Development Support Enterprise’, which is part of a research and development project by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea.
The Ministry of Culture established the Korea Creative Content Agency in May 2009 by combining several existing independent organizations including the Korea Culture and Content Agency, the Culture Contents Center, the Game Industry Agency, the IT Industry Promotion Agency, and the Korea Broadcasting Institute. The newly-formed agency is designed to support and promote Korea’s film, animation, music, video game, and mobile content. Actress Yunjin Kim of the American television series LOST is the Korea Creative Content Agency’s goodwill ambassador.
Winning the 2009 Global Project Technical Development Support Enterprise award enables Chungeorahm Film— the production company behind the original THE HOST (Gwoemul, 2006) and the new sequel/prequel— and Macrograph Co.— the company in charge of the film’s visual effects— to be funded at the amount of 2 billion Korean won (approximately 1.61 million USD) over the next 2 years. The notable feature of this funding is that it is not intended for the actual production costs of the movie. Instead, the money will be spent wholly on developing needed technology for special effects in THE HOST 2, mainly for creation of the CG monster.
KOCCA will provide 691 million Korean won (about 556,584 USD) in 2009, and will continue support with approximately 1.2 billion won (about 966,572 USD) in 2010 based on results achieved in 2009. As a government award rather than a loan, Chungeorahm and Macrograph will not have to repay the money but will provide a combined 608 million won (approx. 488,095 thousand USD) in matching funds.
This past July, THE HOST 2 also received foreign investment from the Singaporean production company Boku Films. Boku provided 5 million USD, with that amount going towards production costs.
The visual effects of the previous THE HOST were created by a handful of foreign companies such as The Orphanage (in the United States), Weta Workshop (New Zealand) and John Cox’s Creature Workshop (Australia). In contrast, the Korean company Macrograph will be the sole VFX contributor for the sequel. Macrograph was responsible for the digital FX in such Korean movies as GHOST HOUSE (Gwishini sanda, 2004), FOR HOROWITZ (Horobicheu-reul wihayeo, 2006), HANBANDO (2006), THE RESTLESS (Joong-cheon, 2006) and the major US-China kung fu movie THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (2008), in which martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li co-starred.
The fact that a Korean company is producing visual effects for the follow-up to the country’s biggest blockbuster is one of the key reasons for THE HOST 2 winning the fund. Choi Yong-bae, CEO of Chungeorahm and producer of THE HOST 2, stated in a press release that, “Last year, after tests collaborated by Macrograph, I proved that THE HOST could be made by technology developed in Korea. I am sure this technical development will enable us to create a more delicate and powerful monster.”
This project will consist of the following operations:
1. Producing and developing a special effects studio and control devices to photograph and experiment with actual objects, such as live reptiles, under various lighting conditions in order to express skin texture of a digital creature more realistically.
2. Developing technology which abstracts various textures from photographed materials, to apply to the digital creature.
3. Developing an effective work pipeline to reduce time and cost during production.
According to the KOCCA press release and Korean news reports, THE HOST 2 is in the final stages of polishing script and will be released in the summer of 2011. Producer Choi Yong-bae also recently revealed that the story has evolved beyond an earlier treatment written by Korean comic book creator Kang Full. The Korea Creative Content Agency press announcement stated that the plot of THE HOST 2 deals with the toxic spill in the Han River and the creation of the monster from the first film.
NOTE: One important detail to clarify is that some English language websites claimed that the photo provided with the press release (see the pic at the top of this article) was the first official image from THE HOST 2. This is not the case because this image is from Macrograph’s CGI test and not from the actual movie as production of THE HOST 2 hasn’t even begun yet. Also, the Korea Creative Content Agency press release clarified that the test was based on the monster from THE HOST rather than THE HOST 2, which is expected to have a new or modified design.
Some sites even misidentified the director of the movie as Ning Hao, who is actually the director of a separate Chinese version being co-produced by Stoneman Films of Beijing. The director for the Korean, original version of THE HOST 2 has not yet been announced.
For more information on THE HOST, THE HOST 2, the Chinese sequel, and the American THE HOST remake, please see the previous coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- AFM /AFI FEST REPORT #4: THE HOST
- THE HOST Press Notes and Director’s Interview
- THE HOST (Gwoemul, 2006) US Trailers
- THE HOST: An Interview with Animation Supervisor Webster Colcord
- THE HOST Comes to Region 1 DVD
- Cover Art and Press Release for THE HOST DVDs
- Sequel Planned for THE HOST
- THE HOST 2 Update
- THE HOST 2 News
- THE HOST 2— CHINESE VERSION
- US Remake of THE HOST Finally Moving Forward
- THE HOST 2 Gets Foreign Investment