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Hong Sang-soo Reveals How He’s Made 21 Features in 21 Years: ‘I Start with Almost Nothing’

The prolific auteur is back at Cannes with two new films.

The Day After

“The Day After”

At just 55, Hong Sang-soo has already made 21 soju-soaked features. South Korea’s most prolific auteur is back at Cannes with his two newest projects, “The Day After” and “Claire’s Camera,” and took some time out of his busy schedule to explain his unconventional process to the Hollywood Reporter: “I’ve come to the point where I start with almost nothing,” he says.

READ MORE: ‘The Day After’ Trailer and Photos: Hong Sang-soo Remains as Prolific as Ever With Latest Cannes Drama

By “almost nothing,” Hong means that he no longer even bothers writing traditional screenplays. “As time went on, the treatments became shorter, to the point where I’d start production with only a few pages of notes.” That’s one way to run a railroad.

READ MORE: Hong Sang-soo Addresses His Marriage Scandal With a Movie in ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’ — Berlinale 2017

As for his actors — including Isabelle Huppert and Kim Min-hee — they have no more than half an hour to rehearse and “don’t have much time to memorize.”

“I make use of the things that come to me while shooting as I incorporate them into an evolving whole,” he says. “I don’t even know what I know about a given actor. And I don’t try to organize or explain what I know. But on the day of shooting, the particular situation and the conditions of the film come together to create a kind of pressure. That pressure allows a few things among the many thoughts and feelings I have about this actor to come out. I write them down.” Read the full interview here.

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