The Korea Herald


‘Concrete Utopia’ sets itself apart with grand-scale, realistic set designs

By Kim Da-sol

Published : July 11, 2023 - 17:18

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A scene from “Concrete Utopia” (Lotte Entertainment) A scene from “Concrete Utopia” (Lotte Entertainment)

Director Um Tae-hwa’s upcoming black comedy disaster thriller “Concrete Utopia” is expected to wow moviegoers with its grand-scale, realistic set designs.

The film -- based on the second part of a webtoon about an earthquake and its aftermath, “Pleasant Neighbor” -- tells the story of apartment residents whose homes threaten their lives.

Focusing on depicting the reality of an apartment complex in Seoul destroyed in a large earthquake, the production team spent five months to build a life-sized, three-story apartment building for the filming.

A scene from “Concrete Utopia” (Lotte Entertainment) A scene from “Concrete Utopia” (Lotte Entertainment)

The interiors of the apartment units were custom-designed to show the characteristics and jobs of each character that Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-joon and Park Bo-young play. They star as a group of residents in the Hwang Gung Apartments. Lee plays Young-tak, a leader among the residents, Park Seo-joon stars as Min-seong, who supports Young-tak, and Park Bo-young plays Min-seong’s wife.

Sophisticated computer graphics were also used to show the contrast between Seoul before and after the devastating earthquake.

Production company Climax Studio, which produced hit Netflix originals “Hellbound” and “D.P.,” participated in the film.

Realistic, detailed set design was pivotal for the film as it is not just about the aftermath of a disaster but shows different sides of human instincts when put in an extreme situation, according to director Um.

“It was important for me to add reality to the film sets. It took two years for the computer graphics team to study the geography of Seoul and apply it to the computer graphics work,” said Um during a press conference held on June 21.

To get the most out of the film’s overwhelming visual effects and sound, he encouraged people to watch “Concrete Utopia” in a cinema.

“Concrete Utopia” hits local theaters on Aug. 9.

The movie has also been presold in 152 countries, according to distributor Lotte Entertainment.