One of the films IndieWire was most anticipating for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival before its postponement was “Peninsula,” Yeon Sang-ho’s sequel to his 2016 zombie blockbuster “Train to Busan.” The South Korean filmmaker told Screen Daily this week his sequel is a bigger budgeted and more ambitious look at the zombie world he first created in the original film, which dazzled the worldwide box office with $92 million. “The scale of ‘Peninsula’ can’t compare to ‘Train To Busan,’ it makes it look like an independent film,” Yeon said. “’Train To Busan’ was a high-concept film shot in narrow spaces whereas ‘Peninsula’ has a much wider scope of movement.”
“Peninsula” stars Gang Dong-won as a former soldier who has managed to escape zombie-infested South Korea. The soldier is sent on a mission back into Korea to retrieve something valuable, but his return trip is complicated after he meets non-infected survivors who need saving. Yeon told Screen Daily the film “takes place four years after ‘Train To Busan,’ in the same universe, but it doesn’t continue the story and has different characters. Government authority has been decimated after the zombie outbreak in Korea, and there is nothing left except the geographical traits of the location — which is why the film is called ‘Peninsula.’”
Yeon shot “Peninsula” over 62 days in late June 2019. The director said he was hesitant to return to his “Train to Busan” universe, “but the idea of being able to build a post-apocalyptic world — which would be sort of savage but also in a way like ancient times, or like ruined modern times, with rules of its own — was interesting to me.” Yeon said films such as “Land of the Dead,” “The Road,” “Mad Max,” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” all served as inspirations for “Peninsula,” as did apocalyptic manga series such as “Akira” and “Dragon Head.”
“Train to Busan” world premiered in the midnight section of the Cannes Film Festival, and many cinephiles were expecting “Peninsula” to do the same at the 2020 festival. “Peninsula” is already set for a summer theatrical release in South Korea, while Well Go USA has purchased distribution rights for North America. Well Go USA opened “Train to Busan” in U.S. theaters to the tune of $2.1 million. Head over to Screen Daily to read Yeon talk about his “Train to Busan” sequel.