MANILA, Philippines – South Korea is no stranger to delivering zombie apocalypse-themed projects, but director Lee Jae-kyoo assures fans that the upcoming series All of Us Are Dead will give new meaning to the genre.
“Yes, there is a lot of zombie content. But in most stories, we look at what happens to adults when they meet a zombie virus,” he told the press on Wednesday, January 26.
But what’s unique in All of Us Are Dead, he said, is its young characters and fixed setting. “It happens within a very confined space that is a school, and it happens to students who are not yet mature adults…. I wanted to look into what kind of choices – and I felt that it would be extremely interesting and intriguing to look at the choices these young adults make. I felt like it could bring a new kind of meaning to the zombie genre,” he added.
Actor Lim Jae-hyeok echoed the sentiment: “When you watch other zombie content, you either have guns or you have these weapons or you watch these large-scale zombie wipe-out scenes with soldiers involved. But our series is not something like that. It happens within a school. So what we have at our hands is like school supplies – desks or chairs. So I feel like that is probably going to be the biggest differentiating factor.”
Based on the popular webtoon Now At Our School by Joo Dong-geun, All of Us Are Dead revolves around a virus-ridden school whose surviving students try to defend themselves from a zombie apocalypse.
Given the webtoon’s huge following, the cast and crew admit feeling pressured while adapting the story into a series. “We all felt that pressure and responsibility,” said director Lee. “But we met with the original creator and we talked a lot about bringing the story to life.”
Director Lee emphasized that in creating the series, they took into account how to make the events look as real as possible. From the cast members undergoing martial arts training, zombie actors having choreography lessons, production crew building a hundred-meter set, to the whole cast and crew having full-day rehearsals for their major scenes, the director said there was a lot of preparation for the series.
“We would do some test-shootings, and then we would have another rehearsal with the cast. I think that was the most important because what I wanted most was the realistic sense of the scenes. I wanted people to feel really immersed…. I wanted people to feel, to be in that scene themselves,” he added.
Aside from the production value of the series, director Lee also pointed out that since All of Us Are Dead is a Netflix project, he was given more creative freedom with it.
“There was definitely more room to express what we wanted to express and to the degree we wanted to express it…. I think that led to how we were able to bring lifelike expressions to a zombie series,” he said.
But more than it being a teen survival series, the cast and crew hope that viewers will learn a thing or two in watching All of Us Are Dead. “We wanted to tell the story of what kind of hope people should carry as we live our lives. What it means to be human. So, while it’s going to be a wildly entertaining show, we also wanted to create a drama series that leaves you with food for thought as well,” they said.
All of Us Are Dead also stars Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee You-mi, and Lim Jae-hyeok. It is set to premiere on Netflix on January 28. – Rappler.com