Sci-fi fans, there’s a new space adventure film to add to your watchlists! Korea’s first-ever sci-fi blockbuster Space Sweepers is finally landing on Netflix this Friday, February 5. The new film presents a future where Earth is inhabitable and UTS is the new home in space for the “worthy” citizens.
At the center of the story is the screw of Spaceship Victory, who makes a living salvaging space debris. After snatching a space shuttle, the crew discovers a 7-year-old girl inside the shuttle, who is actually the human-like robot that the UTS Space Guards were looking for. Desperate for money, the team puts the child up for ransom, but what they don’t realize is that their quest to get money might be a quest that would lead them to save the world.
The movie comes from director Jo Sung Hee, and stars Song Joong Ki (Tae Ho), Kim Tae Ri (Captain Jang), Jin Sun Kyu (Tiger Park), and Yoo Hai Jin (Bubs).
Ahead of its premiere this Friday, we’re giving you 10 facts you should definitely know about the new Netflix film:
1. Space Sweepers is Korea’s first space blockbuster
Space Sweepers is the first Korean sci-fi blockbuster, and that’s why director Jo Sung Hee had to really study his way to creating the film. According to him, he wanted to make sure that although the film happens in space, the audience can still watch characters that seem like “ordinary Koreans who are just like them,” instead of cartoon characters or superhuman beings.
As to what it was like to star in the first Korean space blockbuster, Song Joong Ki said that instead of feeling burdened, he was actually excited to star in Space Sweepers. Jin Sun Kyu, on the other hand, said that starring in the film felt like he was “like an athlete” playing for the nation and that he was “extremely proud” of what they produced.
Get Our Newsletter
2. The concept of the film was born over 10 years ago.
Director Jo Sung Hee shared that the story of Space Sweepers came to him first back in 2008 or 2009. It was all thanks to his friend, who told him stories “about space and space sweepers” which he eventually developed over the course of ten years. “
“The story really began with two ideas: space debris and space workers who clean up the debris,” he said in the press notes.
3. Song Joong Ki joined the project without reading the script
Yup, he went into the project only knowing only that Director Jo will be helming a space sci-fi movie! Song Joong Ki said that he first heard of this project when he was still working with the director on A Werewolf Boy. Back then, the storyline “was a little bit different from what it came out to be,” but he was already interested in the concept because it felt “so new and fresh” to him. Ten years later, they offered the role to him, to which he immediately accepted.
During the roundtable interview, Song Joong Ki further explained that he was initially attracted more to the film rather than his character. What eventually drew him to Tae Ho’s character, however, is his humanism and “his perspective on the human race and on others.”
4. Director Jo gave Kim Tae Ri film references before portraying Captain Jang
In the film, Kim Tae Ri plays Captain Jang who’s the brain and only woman of the crew. She’s also an ex-space pirate who, according to Kim Tae Ri, “goes through a lot of ups and downs” during the film.
To prepare for her role, Tae Ri told the press that Director Jo gave her a list of films to help her prepare for her character. And while she did see all of these films, she eventually decided to “just give it a go” instead of having her refer to a particular character. She also credited her co-stars who helped her get into the role of Captain Jang.
5. Jin Sun Kyu shot all the engine room scenes in an actual (and running) engine room
Jin Sun Kyu stars in the film as Tiger Park, the “heart of the crew” and the one responsible for upholding the moral standards of the team. His main job in the spaceship is to operate Victory’s engine.
According to Sun Kyu, they shot his scenes at a functioning engine room of a ship docked at a port. Since the engine had to run during the shoot, he and the rest of the crew had a hard time listening to the instructions of the director. “It was so loud, so I just had to rely on my instinct [on whether] I should stop just about now.”
6. Yoo Hai Jin also did the motion capture for Bubs
Another important member of Spaceship Victory is Bubs, a robot who takes on various roles in the ship. She’s the team’s accounting manager and is also very handy with the spears. Yoo Hai Jin explained that, when playing Bubs, he looked at the character more as a living thing and not as a robot.
Aside from lending his voice to Bubs, Yoo Hai Jin also did the motion capture for the character, which was “a new experience” for him. He thought that shooting the scenes with sensors all over his body was more challenging than he had expected. He also admitted that shooting his scenes was a struggle not only for him but also for the staff, especially with all the technicalities of having to shoot a scene twice.
7. One of the challenges the cast had during the shoot was imagining all the space action
Because everything in the film happens in space, the cast had to rely mostly on their imagination during the shoot, which is the most challenging bit of the shoot. “[The film] required a great deal of imagination from all of us, and once you lose touch with that imagination, it’s easy to forget what you’re doing,” Kim Tae Ri explained.
Aside from image training, Jin Sun Kyu and Kim Tae Ri both said they would constantly ask the director questions about the scene and his vision for the film.
8. Song Joong Ki got to take home a piece of Tae Ho’s equipment after filming
When asked about a prop that he wanted to take home from the set of Space Sweepers, Song Joong Ki told the press about one thing in his character’s station that fascinated him. “Tae Ho always sits in his own cockpit, and he uses this pilot driving handle.”
He added that he asked the director if he could have it and he eventually received it at home, which was amazing.
9. Space Sweepers is more than just a sci-fi film
Aside from all the space action, what makes Space Sweepers different from other films is how it’s so much more than a sci-fi film. Throughout the film, the audience gets a glimpse not only of the stark difference between the rich and the poor but also of the environmental issues that can affect humans greatly in the future.
For Yoo Hai Jin, one message that he wishes the audience can take away from the film is about how precious the Earth is. “We have a lot of environmental issues, and due to COVID-19, it has led to a hike in the use of plastic as well,” he explained. “We really have to come together and put in our utmost efforts to protect the earth.”
10. Space Sweepers was supposed to premiere in cinemas last year
Space Sweepers was originally set for premiere in June last year. However, because of the pandemic, the film’s release date has been pushed back until its Netflix film was decided. To Song Joong Ki, reaching out to the audience and how you communicate with them is the most important thing for him.
And while the actors are admittedly sad that the film won’t have a big screen premiere, Kim Tae Ri is still happy that they’re able to meet the audience through the streaming site.
Meanwhile, Director Jo said that he was only nervous and excited to see the final outcome of the film. “We are going to meet the audience of 190 countries, and I just want all of the people across the world to understand that there’s a large variety of movies being produced in Korea,” he added.
BONUS: The cast shares tips for people who will be watching (and rewatching) the film
Since the film won’t be premiering in cinemas, the cast shares their own tips to the audience so they can have the best experience seeing all the space action of Space Sweepers.
“When you’re watching it at home, just pay more attention to the sound effects. Make sure that the volume is very loud, and I think that would make [the film] more vivid and intense,” Kim Tae Ri said.
Jin Sun Kyu, on the other hand, recommended that the audience watch the movie “in a spacious area with the lights off and with friends and family” as it will make the movie viewing a “more spectacular experience.”
Space Sweepers launches globally on Netflix this February 5.