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.
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.
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.