FLU: Production Notes for Korean Thriller
CJ Entertainment has provided production notes and images from their viral outbreak thriller FLU (감기, Gamgi, 2013), debuting on DVD in North America March 18th.
W A R N I N G
This area is infected with H5N1 avian influenza.
As per KCDC’s protocol, this area is restricted and access is forbidden.
Please follow the infection prevention steps below. If you exhibit or have seen anyone with symptoms such as coughing, high fever, skin rash or other common cold symptoms, please report to the nearest emergency response facility.
INFECTION PREVENTION STEPS
Step 1: Put on a mask
Step 2: Refrain from contact with the outside world
Step 3: Transfer immediately to a nearby quarantine facility
Airborne virus, 3.4 infections per second, 100% fatality. The most dangerous virus in world will overtake the Korean peninsula!
A human trafficker is infected with an unknown virus and dies in a Bundang hospital, covered in red rashes and coughing up blood. In less than 24 hours since the death of the first patient, similar cases of disease-related deaths are reported all over Bundang. The medics despair over the super virus that has no known cure, but they soon find hope when they hear of a sole survivor who may have developed antibodies against this ruthless viral mutation. As medical professionals rush to find the sole individual with the potential key for a cure, fatalities rise and soon the government has no choice but to quarantine the city. Amidst the ensuing panic, wild desperation, and violence, the struggle for life between the infected and non-infected begins to spiral out of control.
ABOUT THE STORY
The people depicted in FLU are civilians who are faced with a deadly situation they have no control over and consequently fall prey to a deadly virus. To make matters worse, their government quarantines them into a massive segregation camp, ignoring the risk of potentially infecting even more people by gathering them in a tightly occupied space. As the people realize their doomed fate, they slowly reveal their true nature: some selfless but many more selfish.
FLU is a delicate balance of two stories — in different scales but derived from the same scenario — told through the heroine In-hye. On an individual level, In-hye is a single mother fighting the virus to protect the life of her only child. On a larger scale, she is also a virologist and part of the national effort to contain the virus within the boundaries of Bundang, where her daughter is in risk of infection, until a cure is found.
While FLU shares a similar viral disaster circumstance as Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film CONTAGION, it is vastly focused on the personal stories of the victims. FLU not only stays true to its genre of a medical thriller disaster film but also delves into the personal struggles of every character, from In-hye’s fight for her daughter’s life to an unnamed soldier’s sacrifice for his mother.
While FLU stays true to its genre of a medical thriller disaster film CONTAGION drives the storyline by focusing on the search for a cure and investigating the origins of a deadly virus. Both traditional subjects are dealt in FLU, but they are merely supporting plot points for the personal struggles of every character, from In-hye’s fight for her daughter’s life to an unnamed soldier’s sacrifice for his mother.
FLU is a web of personal stories of desperation, hope, violence, love, vengeance, and camaraderie. Scenes of thrilling violence and gore are juxtaposed with moments that lift the spirit and faith in the goodness of humankind. This summer, FLU delivers all the thrills of a disaster film and portrays our capacity for compassion and love even in times of escalating terror.
MAJOR INFLUENZA IN HISTORY
1918 Spanish Flu: 500 million infections, 50-100 million deaths (3-5% of world population)
1957 Asian Flu: 1-4 million deaths
1968 Hong Kong Flu: 1 million deaths
1977 Russian Flu: 1 million deaths
2003 SARS: 8,000 infections, 775 deaths
2009 Swine Flu: 284,000 deaths
February 2013: the avian influenza H9N7 is found in China
Variations and mutations of the common cold virus still haunt humankind to this day. What will happen when a new type of virus, which takes the form of a common cold, renders humans completely defenseless against it? This terrifying idea was the genesis of FLU.
The devastating force of nature in FLU is the avian influenza H5N1, an already existing virus virologists have marked as a potential threat to the human race that requires special attention and constant monitoring. What if this virus could be transferred from human to human? FLU plays out this what-if scenario with characters reacting to the pandemic.
WHAT IS THE AVIAN INFLUENZA VIRUS?
Known informally as avian flu or bird flu, it refers to an “influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds.” “Bird flu” is a phrase similar to “swine flu” in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host. Its most highly pathogenic strain (H5N1) has been spreading throughout Asia since 2003, eventually reached Europe in 2005, and infiltrated the Middle East as well as Africa the following year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the outbreak of the avian flu in 2009 as the 21st century’s first pandemic.
CHARACTERS & CAST
JIGU (Bundang Emergency Response Team)
As a Bundang Emergency Response Team member, Jigu is extremely empathic and has the innate desire to do good for others. One day on the job, he rescues In-hye from a construction site accident and becomes immediately smitten with the attractive but sharp-tongued woman. Following that chance encounter, Jigu meets In-hye’s daughter Mirre, and when a deadly virus takes the city by storm, he becomes the girl’s protector. Despite the obvious perils, Jigu stays true to his job and nature, refusing to stand idly and let innocent civilians die.
Played by JANG Hyuk
As one of the most talented Korean actors on television and film, JANG Hyuk first garnered national popularity with his role as a charismatic rebel in the TV drama SCHOOL (1999). He has jumped between television and film since then. In 2010’s CHUNO and 2011’s TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS, he won many accolades and his works received some of the highest ratings in those years. He continued to display his solid acting skills in various films such as VOLCANO HIGH, WINDSTRUCK, and THE CLIENT. In FLU, he plays a selfless emergency response staff who stops at nothing to save people in danger.
IRIS 2 (TV, 2013), THE CLIENT (2011), TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS (TV, 2011), MIDAS (TV, 2011), CHUNO (TV, 2010), MAYBE (2009), FIVE SENSES OF EROS (2009), SEARCHING FOR THE ELEPHANT (2009), TAZZA (TV, 2008), ROBBER (TV, 2008), DANCE OF THE DRAGON (2007), THANK YOU (TV, 2007), S DIARY (2004), WINDSTRUCK (2004), PLEASE TEACH ME ENGLISH (2003), PUBLIC TOILET (2002), JUNGLE JUICE (2002), GREAT AMBITION (TV, 2002), SUCCESSFUL STORY OF A BRIGHT GIRL (TV, 2002), VOLCANO HIGH (2001), INTO THE SUNLIGHT (TV, 1999), SCHOOL (TV, 1999), ZZANG (1998), MODEL (TV, 1997)
2011 SBS Drama Awards – Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Production (TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS)
2011 SBS Drama Awards – Top 10 Stars (MIDAS)
2010 KBS Drama Awards – Grand Prize (THE SLAVE HUNTERS)
2010 Seoul International Drama Awards – Best Actor, Outstanding Korean Drama Prize Category (THE SLAVE HUNTERS)
2008 SBS Drama Awards – Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Production (TAZZA)
2008 West Hollywood International Film Festival – Best Actor (DANCE OF THE DRAGON)
2007 MBC Drama Awards – Golden Acting Award, Actor in a Miniseries (THANK YOU)
2002 SBS Drama Awards – Top Excellence Award, actor (GREAT AMBITION, SUCCESSFUL STORY OF A BRIGHT GIRL)
IN-HYE (Bundang Hospital Virologist)
In-hye is a single mother and a virologist living in Bundang. She is rescued by Jigu from an accident and afterwards their paths continue to cross through Mirre. When In-hye’s hospital reports the first local case of the avian influenza H5N1 virus, the city turns upside down in panic, fear, and desperation. As the citizens attempt to migrate out of the city, In-hye realizes that her daughter is in danger just by being in the city and requests Jigu’s help. Can she obtain an antibody in time to save her daughter and put the end to this dangerous madness spiraling out of control?
Played by SU Ae
In 2002, SU Ae made her debut as a veiled mysterious beauty in a small but significant role in the TV drama THE GLORY ERA OF THE MAENG’S. She then landed main roles in the film A FAMILY and the TV drama EMPEROR OF THE SEA, sweeping Best Actress awards that year at various award ceremonies. She again won many awards for her titular role in 2008’s SUNNY, as well as the hearts of many of her fans. Unlike SU Ae’s other frail and soft-spoken roles in the past, the character In-hye is a tough virologist and a loving mother, who is determined to find the cure for the virus that threatens to wipe out humanity.
YAWANG (TV, 2012), A THOUSAND DAYS’ PROMISE (TV, 2011), MIDNIGHT F.M. (2010), ATHENA: GODDESS OF WAR (TV, 2010), THE SWORD WITH NO NAME (2009), SUNNY (2008), BOTTOM OF THE 9TH 2 OUTS (TV, 2007), ONCE IN A SUMMER (2006), MY WEDDING CAMPAIGN (2005), A FAMILY (2004), EMPEROR OF THE SEA (TV, 2004), APRIL KISS (TV, 2004), MERRY GO ROUND (TV, 2003), LOVE LETTER (TV, 2003), THE GLORY ERA OF THE MAENG’S (TV, 2002), SCHOOL 2 (TV, 1999)
2011 SBS Drama Awards – Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Production (A THOUSAND DAYS’ PROMISE)
2010 Blue Dragon Film Awards – Best Actress (MIDNIGHT F.M.)
2009 Grand Bell Awards – Best Actress (SUNNY)
2008 Golden Cinematography Awards – Popularity Award (SUNNY)
2008 Korean Association of Film Critics Awards – Best Actress (SUNNY)
2005 KBS Drama Awards – Excellence Award, Actress (EMPEROR OF THE SEA)
2005 Baeksang Arts Awards – Best New Actress (A FAMILY)
2004 Korean Film Awards – Best New Actress (A FAMILY)
2004 Blue Dragon Film Awards – Best New Actress (A FAMILY)
KYUNG-UP (Jigu’s Faithful Colleague)
Fun-loving and playful Kyung-up decides to risk his own life and help his friend Jigu. Whilst enduring all the maltreatment at the hands of the authority in the quarantine zone during the outbreak, he does not lose his sense of humor and is the prime source of comic relief in the film.
Played by YOO Hae-jin
After collaborating with director KIM Sung-soo in MUSA-THE WARRIOR, YOO had to have a place in KIM’s comeback film. He has continuously been casted in high profile box office hits such as KING AND THE CLOWN, TAZZA: THE HIGH ROLLERS, MOSS, and THE UNJUST over the years. His face became known as a seal of quality comedy and he will no doubt steal the scenes from his co-stars.
GUK-HWAN (Former High-Ranking Officer)
Previously a high ranking officer in the military, Guk-hwan assumes a position of leadership when the viral outbreak takes hold of Bundang. When he is forced into the quarantine zone, he uses every ounce of authority and connections he once had in order to amass power and take advantage of others. He’s a violent and ruthlessly vicious character who abuses his position to survive.
Played by MA Dong-suk
MA’s career has reached a high point in recent years, playing many important roles in THE NEIGHBORS, NAMELESS GANGSTER, LOVE 911, THE UNJUST and as a baseball newscaster in MR. GO. He is an ominous presence in FLU, as a selfish former military officer who possess a deadly agenda to ensure his survival.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
WRITER AND DIRECTOR KIM Sung-soo
After 10 long years of absence, KIM is now back with Korean cinema’s first ever viral outbreak film FLU.
During the late 90s golden age of Korean film industry, KIM’s hit movie BEAT (1997) catapulted JUNG Woo-sung and KO So-young into stardom, and a year later, CITY OF THE RISING SUN (1998) became KIM’s consecutive hit and confirmed the mega star status of JUNG Woo-sung and LEE Jung-jae. His film MUSA-THE WARRIOR (2001) was highly regarded for its tight-knit story, massive scale, and stylish visuals.
In the early ’90s, director KIM started his apprenticeship in the film industry by working on films such as BLUE IN YOU, BERLIN REPORT, THEY WERE LIKE US as a writer, prop master, and assistant director. The first movie he directed SCREAM CITY (1993) was highly praised and won the Critic’s Award at the 20th Seoul Independent Film Festival.
With FLU, director KIM conveys the intense and unnerving social reactions to a pandemic by exploring how individual characters bend existing rules for both selfish and selfless reasons.
PLEASE TEACH ME ENGLISH (2003), MUSA-THE WARRIOR (2001), CITY OF THE RISING SUN (1998), BEAT (1997), RUN AWAY (1995), SCREAM CITY (1993)
1994 Seoul Independent Film Festival – Critic’s Special Award (SCREAM CITY)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Language: Korean with English subtitles
Running Time: 122 minutes
Kang Jigu: JANG Hyuk
Kim In-Hye: SU Ae
Kim Mirre: PARK Min-ha
Bae Kyung-Up: YOO Hae-jin
Jeon Guk-Hwan: MA Dong-suk
Byung-Ki: LEE Hui-joon
Director: KIM Sung-soo
Original Story: UNG Jae-ho
Screenplay: LEE Yeong-jong, KIM Sung-soo
Produced by: Teddy JUNG, KIM Seong-jin
Associate Producer: BANG OkKkyung
Executive Producer: JEONG Tae-Sung
Cinematographer: LEE Mo-gae
Lighting Supervisor: LEE Sung-Hwan
Editor: NAM Na-young
Special Effects: Demolition Production
Special Make Up: HWANG Hyo-kyun, KWAK Tae-yong (CELL)
Visual Effects Supervisors: RYU Jae-hwan (4TH CREATIVE PARTY)
Sound Recording: CHOI Tae-young (LIVETONE)
Sound Mixed By: LEE BYyung-ha (LIVE)
Make Up: LEE Kyung-ja
Costume Designer: KIM Kyeong-mi
Production Designer: PARK Il-hyeon (NEWIMAGE)
Music: KIM Tae-sung
Production: I Love Cinema, iFilm Corp.
Presented by: CJ Entertainment
Distributed by: CJ Entertainment
ⓒ 2013 CJ E&M CORPORATION, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
About CJ Entertainment America
Launched in 2005, CJ Entertainment America is the U.S. arm of Asia’s premier entertainment company and Korea’s #1 filmmaker and distributor, CJ Entertainment & Media. Since 1995, CJ E&M has provided original, award-winning content — across an array of genres, including drama, comedy, action, sci-fi/horror and special interest — for theatrical, television, DVD, digital download, interactive game publishing/portals and music.
A prominent investor in entertainment co-ventures in overseas markets (including 1492 Pictures, DreamWorks and IMAX in the U.S.), CJ E&M also develops and operates 200 premium multiplex theater sites under the CGV Cinemas banner (including a flagship site in Los Angeles) and is a leading concert promoter, helping establish “K-pop” as a successful world music genre. The cornerstone of the Korean entertainment industry – boasting the country’s largest and most significant library, with hundreds of films – CJ E&M is also a singular presence throughout Asia, Europe and in the States and a key force in popularizing contemporary Korean and Pan-Asian cinema around the world. Top films include THE MAN FROM NOWHERE; THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD; A BITTERSWEET LIFE; JOINT SECURITY AREA; and the VENGEANCE trilogy, to name a few.
For more information on FLU, please see the previous coverage here on SciFi Japan: