Actor Jeon So-nee plays the role of Jeong Su-in in the new Netflix series 'Parasyte: The Grey.' Courtesy of Netflix

Adopting a popular story with a strong fan base can be tricky, as it requires avoiding duplicating the original narrative while still pleasing its dedicated fans. However, director Yeon Sang-ho’s new Netflix original series “Parasyte: The Grey” manages to strike the right balance, crafting something distinct while remaining faithful to the concept of the beloved Japanese horror manga series “Parasyte.” The new sci-fi action series, which hit the platform on April 5, follows a girl, Jeong Su-in (Jeon So-nee), who works at a supermarket. She has lived a lonely, secluded life, growing up with an abusive father.One day, she is involved in a fatal accident and becomes the host to a parasite named Heidi, which survives by inhabiting a human body. As other parasites begin to take over human hosts in order to gain power, a task force known as “The Grey,” led by Choi Joon-kyung (Lee Jung-hyun), is formed to eliminate those disguising themselves in human form.With the help of a gangster named Seol Kang-woo (Koo Kyo-hwan), who lost his sister to parasites, Jeong must find a way to survive while learning to co-exist with Heidi.Yeon, renowned for directing the apocalyptic film “Train to Busan” (2016) and the series “Hellbound” (2021), described the series as his fan fiction inspired by the original manga series by Hitoshi Iwaaki, emphasizing that it is more than just a straightforward adaptation.“I’ve been a fan (of the manga) for a long time. So, I approached this project as if I were writing fan fiction about my favorite person. Since the beginning, I never even thought about whether creating a ‘Parasite’ spin-off would do well commercially,” he said during an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Jongno District, Seoul, Tuesday.

“The series shares the same universe as the original, but I wanted to create our own unique story,” Yeon said. “The process was more enjoyable than feeling overwhelmed. The original creator was very open, allowing us to try different approaches. Rather than fashioning it as a simple Korean remake, I started out with the question: ‘What if it happened in Korea?’ and developed the story from there.” In the series, Heidi completely overtakes Su-in’s consciousness, whereas in the original work, the main protagonist Shinichi Izumi can communicate and interact with the parasite on his arm. Jeon, who had to play the dual roles of Su-in and Heidi, expressed her excitement about crafting a distinct narrative stemming from the original, despite the complexity of portraying both a human and a non-human character simultaneously.“I don’t think you can satisfy any expectation 100 percent … So I was glad that it’s a new story. Because the original was flawless, instead of just portraying the same story differently, it was more rewarding and enjoyable with the changed setting, allowing us to add our own colors,” she said.“When I first heard that I would be playing both roles (Heidi and Su-in), I was initially scared. I felt it was important to figure out how to effectively distinguish them. But as I contemplated this, I realized it was more important to create a convincing Su-in character.”

Jeon focused on the differences between herself and Su-in’s aloof personality.“While there are indeed some parallels between myself and the character, I find myself more intrigued by our differences. Unlike Su-in, I don’t carry the same sense of loneliness or lack of enthusiasm for life. Consequently, I found myself reflecting on the ways in which she diverges from my own experiences,” she said.“The event that unfolded was unfortunate, yet it served as a catalyst for her to experience a sense of connection for the first time as she begins to forge a relationship with someone. Thus, I focused on depicting how she gradually starts to regain her enthusiasm for life.” In addition to the action-driven VFX spectacle portraying parasites emerging from the human body and The Grey team’s relentless battle against them, the series also encapsulates a profound philosophical message about co-existence and community.”I embedded a message about the significance of coexistence and the interconnectedness of all creatures. I interpreted the term parasite as representing dependence. Therefore, I aimed to craft a narrative where Heidi relies on Su-in, ultimately leading them to coexist and survive together,” the director said.“With Season 1, I aimed to delve into the story of the organization. I immersed myself in all aspects related to organizations. Thus, Gang-woo is depicted as a gangster from an organized gang, while the parasites are portrayed as members of a religious cult.”The series ends with a surprise guest appearance of Shota Sometani, who played Shinichi Izumi in the Japanese movie adaptation “Parasyte,” hinting at a possible Season 2.The director noted that he does have the plot for the follow-up season, yet the production has not been determined.“I do have ideas for what happens after. I can tell you that Shinichi will appear if there’s Season 2,” he said.”I have already written parts of the script for Season 2 and 카지노사이트킹 explained the setting to Shota (when filming the last scene).”

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