Director Yoon Jong-bin talked about the challenges he faced while making “Narco-Saints”.
Moving the stage from the big screen to OTT for the first time through Netflix’s original series “Narco-Saints” was a big challenge for director Yoon Jong-bin. It is known that when the Coronavirus broke out, the production team was disbanded and the drama’s overseas filming was also suspended. Referring to that time, the director confessed, “It was hopeless”. He added, “We couldn’t film on the mountain behind my house and claim it South America, so I actually didn’t know how to deal with that situation.”
However, where there is a will, there is a way. The director happened to find a place that can be used as Jeon Yo-hwan’s mansion at a cafe in Jeju he visited there on a vacation. Explaining the situation at that time, director Yoon laughed and said, “I could feel the South America vibe in that cafe”. With the power of computer graphics, palm trees were planted while the mountain and pine trees were erased. The famous shooting scene set in Brazil was filmed at a palm plantation in Jeju. Seeds of tropical plants were planted to grow into trees and the road was also widened so that trucks could pass through.
Therefore, the total budget was tightened to 35 billion won. Director Yoon said, “I finished 102 scenes for ‘Artificial City’ and this time, I filmed 133 scenes. Due to the stress that was 0.5 times more than when I filmed a movie, I even suffered gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer”, adding “Korean directors normally don’t know that they are guaranteeing their lives. If you want to win an Emmys like ‘Squid Game’ did, you will have to lose some teeth like director Hwang Dong-hyuk”.
As “Narco-Saints” is attracting huge attention that even Hollywood star Nicolas Cage and baseball player Park Chan-ho posted about the drama on their SNS, it proved that joy would come after hard work. In particular, the signed baseball by Park Chan-ho that appeared with Jeon Yo-hwan at the end of the drama was used as an important material to connect the beginning and end of the story.
Director Yoon shared, “As a big fan of Nicolas Cage, I was deeply touched”.
He continued, “ Park Chan-ho is a symbol of ‘American Dream’. Is that thing really do? From the viewpoint of Kang In-gu, it’s the context in which it is hard for people to know if his stories are real are fake. We talked with Park Chan-ho Foundation and were able to get that signed ball. While some viewers are speculating that there’s a USB with the location of cocaine hidden inside the ball and raising expectations for Season 2, I just want to say that I don’t have that in mind. I don’t know if it would create a huge craze like ‘Squid Game’, but my next work might be a movie.”