Snowpiercer Production Notes
About The Production
Director Bong Joon Ho first encountered the French graphic novel "Transperceneige," on which SNOWPIERCER is based, in a bookshop near Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, during the winter of 2005. He read through the entire volume while browsing in the store and became mesmerized by the cinematic potential of a train filled with bustling human lives hurling through the aftermath of a global apocalypse. He was determined to turn it into a film.
"The first thing that grabbed my attention was the unique cinematic space of a train, and the vision of hundreds of metal pieces moving like a living snake carrying people squirming inside," Bong admits. "And the people inside were fighting against each other after being divided into separate and distinct cars — they were not equal in this Noah's Ark-like contraption that held the last survivors on Earth."
Bong was in pre-production on his third feature THE HOST when producer-director Park Chan-wook's company Moho Film offered him a position as director. For a future project there, Bong suggested SNOWPIERCER, his own adaptation of "Transperceneige." Park and Opus Pictures CEO Lee Tae Hun acquired the rights for the graphic novel and the project began to gather steam.
In the interim, Bong directed "Shaking Tokyo," his own installment of the omnibus project TOKYO, co-featuring directors Michel Gondry and Léos Carax. His second feature, the psychological thriller MOTHER, was released to worldwide acclaim in 2009 after appearing in the Un Certain Regard sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival. Early the following year, Bong began working on his screenplay for SNOWPIERCER.
For his work on the script, completed in late 2010, Bong remained true to the themes of his previous works, which examine the nature of human beings under extreme circumstances: a case involving a brutal serial killer, (MEMORIES OF MURDER), or a monster sprung from the depths of the Hangang River in Seoul (THE HOST) or a mother who is gradually going insane (MOTHER).
"The original graphic novel was magnificent and it started from an original idea," Bong admits. "But I had to come up with a completely new story and new characters in order to create a SNOWPIERCER that was packed with cinematic exhilaration."
The most pressing challenge was creating a sense of constricted space inside the perpetually moving vehicle at the heart of his gripping adaptation. "There is no detour inside a narrow, linear train," Bong explains. "You have to advance forward in order to get anywhere. Bodies clash against each other and sweat is mixed up with blood. I wanted to portray the formidable energy and cinematic sensation that exploded out of this dynamic."
Pre-production on SNOWPIERCER began in Seoul, Korea, with Barrandov Studio in the Czech Republic — containing the longest set in Europe, spanning 100 meters — selected as the production's principal location. Key principals hired, including Production Designer Ondrej Nekvasil (THE ILLUSIONIST), Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Durst (SPIDER-MAN 2), Stunt Coordinator Julian Spencer (EASTERN PROMISES) and Original Music Composer Marco Beltrami (THE HURT LOCKER, WORLD WAR Z). The casting process began after it was announced that SNOWPIERCER would be Bong's first English-language film.
On the surface, SNOWPIERCER looks like a co-production, with top actors from countries like Korea, the U.S. and the U.K., as well as a multinational crew comprising people from across the globe, who assembled in the Czech Republic for the film's 72-day shoot. But SNOWPIERCER is, in fact, a Korean production; key elements of the film, including its screenplay, director, production and distribution, all originated in Korea. Part of its financing, covering half the production costs, was secured at the American Film Market, where a 10-minute promo clip resulted in the film's sale to 167 countries worldwide.
SNOWPIERCER begins with the unique premise that the Ice Age has returned and a train carrying the surviving members of the human race speeds on unabated. Although this is suggestive of an apocalyptic science-fiction story, the film breaks away from the conventions of the genre, in the tradition of Bong's previous films. Instead of relying on spectacular visual effects and new technology characteristic of the sci-fi genre, the high level of tension and conflict created by characters confined to the long, narrow train summons up the film's propulsive energy.
Those in the tail section who boarded the train with little else than the clothes they wore on the last day of mankind are stuck in a stuffy freight car with no windows and barely any light, forced to eat protein-rich rations, while those who paid in advance for expensive tickets in the front section of the train indulge in delicacies and drugs as the years speed by. When the enraged passengers in the rear finally start a riot and begin charging to the front, the film adopts a heightened momentum in which the cars becomes increasingly lavish — and decadent — in decor. Every time Curtis and his followers pass through a new section, on their journey to capture the engine at the front of the train, a new landscape is revealed, each one more outlandish than its predecessor. Because the train has no exits, Bong began to envision the SNOWPIERCER train as if through a microscope, focusing his story on the rear of the train, and what its denizens are struggling for in extreme circumstances. Thus SNOWPIERCER became an allegory not only for the harsh realities of climate change, but also for the rampant inequalities that define our current global reality.
Experts from diverse backgrounds around the world gathered at Barrandov Studio in the Czech Republic to bring Bong's vision to life. Cinematographer Hong Kyung-Pyo, who worked with Bong on MOTHER, was the first to step on board — the production's sole Korean besides Bong, and an indispensable ally in a shooting environment where English was used exclusively to communicate on set. Production Designer Ondrej Nekvasil took on the task of building a train set that would be 650 meters long when laid out in a straight line. Thanks to his reputation in the Czech Republic film community, shooting on location went smoothly with the set installation team, the design team, and a props team composed entirely of Czechs. Equally important were the film's visual effects, created by Eric Durst, who worked in post-production to create realistic computer graphics for the film's intermittent glimpses at the frozen world outside the train. Stunt Coordinator Julian Spencer created action sequences that took place inside a constricted space, where colliding bodies convey a sense of desperate humanity instead of action-thriller fight-scene clichés.
A massive gimbal was designed and built to simulate the movement of large ships or submarines in movies like PIRATE OF THE CARIBBEAN and CRIMSON TIDE — a crucial tool in creating the realistic movements of a speeding train, which in the story weighs 120 tons. The special effects team of Barrandov Flash created the gimbal with six air springs on each car that could control the frequency and intensity of movement in addition to a special motor installed underneath at the gimbal's center. The result was a vehicle that moved like a train on actual railway tracks, bending like a snake on curves while it shook realistically, giving the SNOWPIERCER actors the sensation of working on an actual train in motion.
Bong was awed by the majestic sight of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship when he was in Australia to promote THE HOST, so he set out to design a luxurious train with the features of a cruise ship laid out in an extended line. The various interior sections of the SNOWPIERCER train each have different uses and concepts, constituting a 650-meter-long behemoth in storyboard form — a testament to the production team's uncanny ability to convey a greater scope and scale than was actually used for the 100-meter-long design used for production.
Since the train had to exude the ambience of Noah's Ark, generating energy and resources as it continued running endlessly, Bong and Art Director Ondrej Nekvasil were faced with the tremendous task of creating each distinct car: a tail section — essentially a cargo hold converted to living quarters for passengers enduring horrific conditions, including overpopulation and shortage of water and heating; a greenhouse section filled with plants; an entertainment space for the wealthy; and the classroom section, where children are taught to praise the engineer Wilford. Each interior landscape appears distinctly different from the last, with the engine section at the front of the train exuding an aura of infinity — a vision of heaven that is the opposite of the dank hell at the rear of the train.
Beyond its "stateless" setting and story, SNOWPIERCER's global pedigree extends to its impressive cast of actors playing the last survivors of the human race, including Hollywood action hero Chris Evans (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, THE AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER), veteran actor and director Ed Harris (POLLOCK, THE ABYSS, A BEAUTIFUL MIND), Academy Award-winners Tilda Swinton (MICHAEL CLAYTON, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN) and Octavia Spencer (THE HELP), Academy Award-nominee John Hurt (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, THE ELEPHANT MAN), Korean maverick Song Kang-ho (THE HOST) and Jamie Bell (BILLY ELLIOT, KING KONG, THE ADVENTURES OF TIN-TIN), Ewan Bremner (TRAINSPOTTING), Alison Pill (MILK) and Ko Ah-sung (THE HOST), among others.
Tilda Swinton was among the first of the English-speaking cast members to sign on for SNOWPIERCER, having gained an appreciation for Bong's work after seeing THE HOST and attending the 2009 Busan International Film Festival, where she expressed admiration for his work. Swinton met Bong for the first time at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where he was the Camera d'Or jury president; the two discussed working together, prompting Bong to change the gender of one SNOWPIERCER character in order to accommodate the Scottish-born actress. It was Swinton herself who suggested changing her appearance dramatically for the film, donning an exaggerated nose and wig for her authoritarian upper-crust Mason character that rendered the chameleon-like actress unrecognizable in the film's trailer.
Swinton expresses delight in working not only with Bong but with an international cast, including some of the performer's favorite names working today. "I'm privileged beyond words to be included with this group of actors," she admits. "Some of these names were literally hand-picked, and it's a gift for us all individually to be on that list because we know, looking at the others, that Bong could have chosen anybody." From Swinton's perspective, SNOWPIERCER is a kind of allegory on life and death. "It's about survival, even surviving death," she insists. "Day after day, carriage after carriage, battle after battle. People leave, they get left behind, we go on."
For the part of Curtis, the leader of the uprising who guides passengers from the tail section through the body of the train into the front section, where the mythical engine is housed, Bong looked to Chris Evans, the American-born star of Marvel Comics adaptations, including the AVENGERS and CAPTAIN AMERICA films. He saw in Evans someone who could embody a young leader with the cool head of a strategist and the corresponding actions of someone willing to risk his life for the liberation of his fellow passengers in the rear of the train. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that Curtis has been preparing for this rebellion for some time, eager to supplant the power of the train's engineer and his cruelly enforced hierarchy.
For Evans, it was Bong's meticulous preparation on SNOWPIERCER, including the director's artful storyboards, which made this film stand out from his Marvel predecessors. "The way he shot the movie is so unique," Evans insists. "In a way he has already edited it in his brain. It's like he's building a house and instead of asking for bag of nails, Bong asks for 53 nails. He's committed to a vision ahead of time and when you work with someone like that, it feels like you're watching someone operate on a higher plane. Bong knew exactly what he wanted, and what he was doing."
Korean actors Song Kang-ho and Ko Ah-sung, who played father and daughter in THE HOST, once again play father and daughter in SNOWPIERCER, portraying renegade drug addicts who hold the key to escaping the hermetically sealed train. Song, one of the most prominent actors working in Korean cinema today, jumped at the chance to work with Bong for the third time, melding seamlessly among the various international names that dominate the cast. Song himself saw the production as essentially without boundaries. "I think it's better to think of this as a truly original story that takes place in a new era than focus on the nationalities of the actors," he insists. "It's a film that conveys Bong's piercing remarks, hefty emotions, and a kind of social message that travels straight to the heart."
In the role of Wilford, the god-like authoritarian ruler who never leaves the front section of the train he designed, veteran actor Ed Harris was required to embody a character that was viewed as a giver of life by some passengers, and the epitome of evil by others. Wilford is the polar opposite of John Hurt's Gilliam, the benevolent spiritual leader of the train's tail section. For these dueling roles, Bong needed two actors with compelling yet familiar presences that could bring to life figures of wizened experience. "Wilford is the one who invented and runs the train, he's a businessman, an entrepreneur, an engineer, a physicist, a psychiatrist and a shaman," Harris explains. "The repression that Wilford imposes on a large part of this train's population is obviously analogous to situations in the world today. Pick any country — there are people that are being kept down on purpose by its rulers. Part of what attracted me to this character, and to SNOWPIERCER, are these political overtones. I'm curious to see how they resonate with audiences around the world."
At the other end of the spectrum lies Gilliam, the respected spiritual leader of the tail section, a living saint who brought humanity back to passengers during the chaos of the first year on board. Indeed, it's for Gilliam that Curtis is fighting his epic battle, in the hope that one day he will rule the train instead of Wilford. The part of Gilliam required not simply an older actor, but a great actor with a commanding presence exuding intense spirituality and the qualities of a living saint. Bong remembered watching John Hurt in David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN on TV during middle school, and knew he had his Gilliam.
For Hurt it was a rare gift to work with the director of MOTHER and MEMORIES OF MURDER — two films Hurt deeply admires — and the veteran actor likens Bong's talent to none other than the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. "Bong only shoots what he wants to see on screen," Hurt explains. "That may sound simple, but that is as difficult as Hitchcock's (directive) — and he's doing what Hitchcock did. This requires a huge knowledge of film, not to mention a decent brain. I loved working on SNOWPIERCER."
About The Filmmakers
BONG JOON HO (Director, Writer)
Bong Joon Ho firmly established himself at the vanguard of Korean filmmakers with his four feature films, BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE (2000), MEMORIES OF MURDER (2003), THE HOST (2006) and MOTHER (2009), creating a global appetite for what would become SNOWPIERCER. MEMORIES OF MURDER dealt with a true-life serial murder case (which today remains unsolved), shattering the conventions of the traditional crime-drama. THE HOST, in which a bizarre creature leaps out of the Hangang River and takes over the capital city of Seoul, terrified audiences worldwide upon its release and transformed the creature-feature through its massive scale and creativity. He shifted direction completely by delving into the insanity of the human mind in the psychological thriller MOTHER, featuring an elderly protagonist who sets out to find a savage killer. SNOWPIERCER incorporates elements of the action-thriller, with its unique setting of a post-apocalyptic super-train racing through icy landscapes in the near future as the last human survivors of a ravaged earth battle to survive under extreme circumstances. Through all of his features, Bong demonstrates a propensity for bold ideas that catch an audience off-guard and present a new kind of viewing experience where suspense, humor and humanity co-exist in singular films that cannot be defined by one particular genre.
KELLY MASTERSON (Writer)
Kelly Masterson is a playwright and screenwriter best known for writing BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOUR DEAD, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Maria Tomei and Albert Finney. Kelly received an Independent Sprit Award nomination for his screenplay. He penned
the screenplay for the psychological thriller GOOD PEOPLE, starring James Franco, Kate Hudson and Tom Wilkinson, and directed by Henrik Ruben Genz. He wrote the screenplay for KILLING KENNEDY, an adaptation of the Bill O’Reilly best seller, which aired on National Geographic in November 2013, starring Rob Lowe, Will Rotthaar and Ginnifer Goodwin. He is currently developing a TV series for ABC Family, "The Circle and the Square," and a mini-series for FX, "Midnight Rising," produced by Paul Giamatti. His plays have been produced Off Broadway and in regional theater, including "Edith," "Against the Rising Sea," "Touch," "Armageddon North Dakota," "The Word is Out," "True Story," and "Dare Not Speak Its Name."
PARK CHAN-WOOK (Producer)
A film director, screenwriter, producer and former film critic, Park is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in his native South Korea, with films including JOINT SECURITY AREA, THIRST, I'M A CYBORG, BUT THAT'S OK and THE VENGEANCE TRILOGY, comprising SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, OLDBOY (which won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival) and SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE. His first English-language film was the 2013 psychological thriller STOKER, starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman. Park was born and raised in Seoul and studied philosophy at Sogang University.
LEE TAE HUN (Producer)
A Korean producer whose early works include Park Chan-wook's SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE and I'M A CYBORG, BUT THAT'S OK, Lee went on to produce Lee Jeong-beom's action thriller THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, Ha Yoo's HOWLING and Park Jin-pyo's CLOSER TO HEAVEN. He is the CEO of Opus Pictures.
TAE SUNG JEONG (Producer)
The CEO of CJ E&M Film Division, Jeong has held a number of posts in the motion-picture industry, including the CEO of Genesis Pictures, the Deputy Director of Film Market Operations for the Busan International Film Festival, the COO of film distribution company Showbox Mediaplex, and the CEO of Sky Walker Film Production.
STEVEN NAM (Producer)
A film producer, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of International Film Financing & Production at CJ E&M Pictures, Nam's international productions include MAKE YOUR MOVE, starring Derek Hough and BoA, directed by Duane Adler (Writer of SAVE THE LAST DANCE and STEP UP), and FINAL RECIPE, starring Michelle Yeoh and directed by Gina Kim (NEVER FOREVER). Nam also took charge of WEDDING INVITATION, the most successful Chinese/Korean co-production, with number-one box office in China. Previously, Nam served as Producer, Exec Producer and Co-Producer on various international films including LATE AUTUMN, starring Tang Wei & Hyun Bin, THE WARRIOR’S WAY, starring Jang Dong Gun, and NEVER FOREVER, starring Vera Farmiga and Ha Jung-woo. Born and raised in Korea, he studied film and television at New York Institute of Technology. Nam specializes in producing international films involving multi-national talents and artists targeting the global market.
About The Cast
CHRIS EVANS (Curtis)
Chris Evans has emerged as one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors for both big budget and independent features. He currently can be seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, the sequel to the highly successful CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, which was released in 2011. He recently wrapped production on 1:30 TRAIN, which marks his feature directorial debut. Evans also produced and will star in the film with Alice Eve and Mark Kassen. He also recently completed production on Justin Reardon’s A MANY SPLINTERED THING. Evans stars in the comedy, which he also produced. He appeared in THE AVENGERS, opposite Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth, and will appear in the forthcoming THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. He starred in Adam and Mark Kassen's PUNCTURE based on the true story of a drug addict's legal battle between a safety-needle inventor and a monopolizing medical supply corporation. Evans reprised the role of Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch, in the 2007 summer action hit FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, which had him re-team with his original FANTASTIC FOUR cast-mates, including Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffudd. Other film credits include Ariel Vroman’s THE ICEMAN, opposite Michael Shannon; Mark Mylod's comedy WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?, opposite Anna Faris; Edgar Wright's action-comedy SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, opposite Michael Cera; Sylvain White's THE LOSERS with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana; PUSH, opposite Dakota Fanning; STREET KINGS, with Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker; and Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed SUNSHINE.
ED HARRIS (Wilford)
Ed Harris has appeared in over 60 films, been nominated for four Academy Awards, won two Golden Globes, has directed two films, (POLLOCK and APPALOOSA) and has appeared on stage in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, most recently in the acclaimed production of Beth Henley's THE JACKSONIAN. His upcoming films include FRONTERA, RUN ALL NIGHT, with Liam Neeson, and THE ADDERALL DIARIES, with James Franco.
JOHN HURT (Gilliam)
John Hurt attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art after studying Fine Art at St. Martin’s. He has appeared in over 100 films including ALIEN, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, THE ELEPHANT MAN, 1984, SCANDAL, THE HIT, CHAMPIONS, THE FIELD, LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND, SHOOTING DOGS, THE PROPOSITION, 44-INCH CHEST, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, BRIGHTON ROCK and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. He has received numerous awards including five BAFTA nominations and three BAFTA wins; two Oscar nominations; the Evening Standard Award; and a Golden Globe. His television roles include "The Naked Civil Servant," "I Claudius," "The Alan Clark Diaries," and "An Englishman in New York," for which John received a special Teddy Award at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival. John has made many theatre appearances, most recently in "Heroes" at Wyndhams Theatre in London’s West End and "Krapp’s Last Tape" at The Gate Theatre in Dublin and at The Barbican. John was granted a C.B.E. in 2004 and was awarded a Fellowship by the British Film Institute in October 2009.
TILDA SWINTON (Mason)
A native of Scotland, Swinton started making films with the English experimental director Derek Jarman in 1985, with CARAVAGGIO. They made seven more films together, including THE LAST OF ENGLAND, THE GARDEN, WAR REQUIEM, EDWARD II (for which she won the Best Actress award at the 1991 Venice International Film Festival), and WITTGENSTEIN, before Mr. Jarman’s death in 1994. She gained wider international recognition in 1992 with her portrayal of ORLANDO, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, under the direction of Sally Potter.
She has established rewarding ongoing filmmaking relationships with Lynn Hershman-Leeson, with whom she made CONCEIVING ADA, TEKNOLUST and STRANGE CULTURE; with John Maybury, with whom she made MAN 2 MAN and LOVE IS THE DEVIL; with Jim Jarmusch (ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, BROKEN FLOWERS and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL); and Luca Guadagnino, with whom she made THE LOVE FACTORY and the widely applauded I AM LOVE, which she co-produced over the span of a decade.
Swinton has also appeared in Spike Jonze’s ADAPTATION, David Mackenzie’s YOUNG ADAM, Mike Mills’ THUMBSUCKER, Francis Lawrence’s CONSTANTINE, Béla Tarr’s THE MAN FROM LONDON, Andrew Adamson’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA tales, Tony Gilroy's MICHAEL CLAYTON — for which she received both the BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress of 2008 — and Erick Zonca’s JULIA, which received its world premiere at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival and which, on its release in the UK, won Swinton the Evening Standard's Best Actress award. That performance was also named as IndieWire's favorite of that year. Recent films include Lynne Ramsay's WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, and Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.
SONG KANG-HO (Namgoong Minsu)
A noted stage actor in social theater before he began his film career as an extra in Hong San-Soo's THE DAY A PIG FELL INTO THE WELL, Song gained cult notoriety for his show-stealing performance in Song Neung-han's NO. 3, playing a gangster training young recruits, and winning his first acting prize at the Blue Dragon Film Awards. His next high-profile appearance was as a secret agent in Kang Je-gyu's blockbuster thriller SHIRI, opposite Han Suk-kyu. Subsequent starring film roles include the box-office smash THE FOUL KING, for which he did most of his own stunts, and an award-winning turn in Park Chan-wook's JOINT SECURITY AREA/JSA, which placed him at the forefront of Korean actors. Song also starred in Park Chan-wook's international sensation SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, about a father's pursuit of his daughter's kidnappers. In 2006, Song starred in Bong Joon-ho's record-breaking thriller THE HOST, helping to broaden international awareness for the actor. He beat out several of Asia's best-known stars to be named Best Actor at the inaugural Asian Film Awards held in Hong Kong in 2007. Other featured roles include Bong Joon-ho's MEMORIES OF MURDER, in which he played an incompetent rural detective, Lee Chang-dong's SECRET SUNSHINE, Kim Ji-woon's THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD, Park Chan-wook's THIRST.
OCTAVIA SPENCER (Tanya)
Octavia Spencer's critically acclaimed performance as Minny in DreamWorks' THE HELP won her the 2012 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critic’s Choice Award, among numerous other honors.
Spencer is currently filming INSURGENT, the second installment of Lionsgate/Summit’s highly successful DIVERGENT franchise, which is set for release on March 20, 2015. Octavia stars opposite Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, and portrays Johanna, the leader of the Amity faction. Spencer will next be seen in Tate Taylor’s GET ON UP, a chronicle of musician James Brown’s rise to fame that also stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. She recently wrapped production on the drama BLACK AND WHITE, alongside Kevin Costner, FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS, with Quvenzhane Wallis, Diane Kruger, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul, and worked opposite Sophie Nelisse, Glenn Close, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover in THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS, the adaptation of Katherine Peterson’s Newberry Award-winning young adult novel.
Octavia will make her network television debut as a series regular on Fox’s highly anticipated drama “Red Band Society” this fall. From writer Margaret Nagle (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Amblin TV, “Red Band Society" follows a group of teenagers who meet as patients in the children’s wing of a hospital and become unlikely allies and friends. Octavia plays Nurse Jackson, the Head Nurse in the Pediatric ward.
Most recently, Octavia was seen in the indie drama FRUITVALE STATION, which won several prestigious awards including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for US Dramatic Film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Octavia was awarded Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review for her performance in the film, and received an individual nomination from the NAACP Image Awards. She also served as a producer on the film.
Octavia was also seen in Diablo Cody’s directorial debut PARADISE, alongside Russell Brand and Julianne Hough, and SMASHED, an independent starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul and Megan Mullally. Octavia’s extensive feature film credits include PEEP WORLD, DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, HALLOWEEN II, THE SOLOIST, DRAG ME TO HELL, COACH CARTER, BAD SANTA, SPIDER-MAN, BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and NEVER BEEN KISSED. In 2009, Octavia directed and produced a short film entitled The Captain, which was a finalist for the coveted Poetry Foundation Prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.
On television, Octavia can currently be seen guest starring in the CBS series “Mom,” a comedy that centers on a newly sober mom attempting to pull her life together. Additionally, she made a memorable guest appearance in the final season of “30 Rock,” starred in the Comedy Central series “Halfway Home,” and appeared in a five-episode arc as the character Constance Grady on the hit series “Ugly Betty.” Octavia has been seen in guest-starring roles on shows including “The Big Bang Theory,” “E.R.,” “CSI,” “CSI: NY,” “Raising The Bar,” “Medium,” and “NYPD Blue.”
Among her many other professional achievements, Octavia has co-authored an interactive mystery series for children called Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective. The first title in the series, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit was published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in Fall 2013.
JAMIE BELL (Edgar)
While still a teenager Jamie Bell shot to worldwide fame starring in the title role of Stephen Daldry’s BILLY ELLIOT. Among the many honors he received for his performance were the BAFTA Award for Best Actor and the British Independent Film Award for Best Newcomer. He went onto portray Charles Dickens’ memorable character Smike in writer/director Douglas McGrath’s screen adaptation of NICHOLAS NICKELBY, for which he and his colleagues shared the National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble. His subsequent films include David Gordon Green’s UNDERTOW; Thomas Vinterberg’s WENDY; Peter Jackson’s epic KING KONG and Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, in which he portrayed real-life WWII hero Ralph Ignatowski. Other films include David Mackenzie’s HALLAM FOE (a.k.a. MISTER FOE), for which he earned a British Independent Film Award nomination and a BAFTA (Scotland) Award for Best Actor, Arie Posin’s THE CHUMSCRUBBER, Doug Liman’s JUMPER, and Edward Zwick’s Defiance. He went onto star in Kevin Macdonald's THE EAGLE, Cary Fukunaga’s JANE EYRE and Carl Tibbetts’ THE RETREAT. He played the titular role in Steven Spielberg's THE ADVENTURES OF TIN-TIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN, as Hergé’s legendary young adventurer in the motion-capture production filmed in 3-D, and also Asger Leth’s MAN ON A LEDGE, in which he starred opposite Sam Worthington and Ed Harris. This year we see him in John Baird's FILTH, opposite James McAvoy and Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC. He is currently starring in AMC's "Turn," his first foray into American television, in which he plays the lead role of Abe Woodhull. And he has just started shooting Josh Trank's FANTASTIC 4, in which he plays Ben Grimm, one of the Four.
KO AH-SUNG (Yona)
Ko Ah-sung is a South Korean actress who began her career as a child actress, notably in 2006's international hit THE HOST. She was four years old when she appeared in her first commercial; at 13 she began her acting career in the 2004 children's TV show "Oolla Boolla Blue-jjiang" for the Korean network KBS. Having worked together in the TV omnibus "Beating Heart," fellow Korean actress Doona Bae (CLOUD ATLAS) recommended Ko to Bong Joon-ho when he was casting for THE HOST. She continued her film career with supporting roles in THE HAPPY LIFE, RADIO DAYZ and A BRAND NEW LIFE. SNOWPIERCER, Bong Joon-ho's first English-language film, marks her second appearance alongside Korean actor Song Kang-ho.
EWAN BREMNER (Andrew)
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, a native of Portobello, Bremner has worked widely in theatre, television, and film for years before being cast in his break-out role in TRAINSPOTTING (1996), helmed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. Having originated the role in Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre production, Bremner made waves opposite Ewen McGregor and earned screen immortality with his character’s infamous “speed-fueled” job interview scene. Prior to TRAINSPOTTING, Bremner gave a striking performance in Mike Leigh’s NAKED, starring opposite David Thewlis. In 1999, Ewen appeared in Harmony Korine’s JULIEN DONKEY-BOY. Filmed strictly in accordance with the ultra-realist tenants of Lars Von Trier's Dogma 95 movement, it starred Bremner as a schizophrenic man living with his dysfunctional family. In 2010, Ewen filmed Woody Allen’s YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER and David Mackenzie's PERFECT SENSE. He followed up in 2011 and 2012 with BBC Films’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS, directed by Mike Newell, and New Line Cinema’s JACK THE GIANT SLAYER, starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, and Stanley Tucci. Most recently, Bremner wrapped the feature GET SANTA, executive produced by Ridley Scott, and EXODUS, starring Christian Bale and Aaron Paul and directed by Ridley Scott for 20th Century Fox. Previous film credits include WIDE OPEN SPACES, MEDIATOR, FAINTHEART, HALLAM FOE, FOOL'S GOLD, MATCH POINT, DEATH AT A FUNERAL, ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, SIXTEEN YEARS OF ALCOHOL, BLACK HAWK DOWN, PEARL HARBOR and SNATCH. On Television, Ewen recurred on "Strike Back" for Sky TV, had leading roles in Dominic Savage's "Dive" for the BBC and "One Night in Emergency" for BBC Scotland, and was featured in Jimmy McGovern's "Moving On." Ewen's other television appearances include the hit NBC show "My Name is Earl," and BBC1's adaptation of "The Day of the Triffids" and "Spooks." In 2013, Ewen shot Andrew Davies’ "A Poet in New York," opposite Tom Hollander, which premiered on BBC earlier this year. He is currently filming the BBC mini-series "Banished," from writer Jimmy McGovern. Ewen has also worked extensively in theatre, and his recent credits include "God of Hell" at the Donmar Warehouse, "Damascus," "Trainspotting," "The Present," "Gormenghast)," "Bright Light Shining," and "Conquest of the South Pole," among others.