You Only Live Once: How The Cast Of All Of Us Are Dead Brought Life To The Zombie Series - Trending

For a show in the zombie genre, its set was more slice of life.

All of Us Are Dead has hopped successfully onto South Korea’s zombie train—defined by record-setting films like Train to Busan and #Alive, as well as Netflix’s first original Korean series, Kingdom.

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Since its January 28 release, All of Us Are Dead became Netflix’s most-viewed title of the week and made the top 10 in 91 countries. At 124.79 million hours watched, this marks the highest viewed in the first week for any Korean title since Netflix started releasing its top 10s last year.

“A high school becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak. Trapped students must fight their way out—or turn into one of the rabid infected,” reads its official synopsis.

The Netflix original series has 12 episodes ranging from 53 minutes to 1 hour and 11 minutes. It is based on the chart-topping Korean webtoon Now at Our School.

Here’s how the successful zombie K-drama first came to life on set, based on a new behind-the-scenes featurette released by Netflix on February 4.

First impressions

Director Lee JQ said they wanted faces unfamiliar to the audience for the roles since this could be more appealing and fun to watch. Consequently, the production cast new faces to create the atmosphere.

Park Ji-hu (On-jo), upon receiving the script, read it all in one go. Lomon (Su-hyeok) agreed that the script was “incredibly gripping.”

“How will zombies look,” Lee You-mi (Na-yeon) initially wondered.

When Yoon Chan-young (Cheong-san) got the role, he had a small party where he and his family had cake and wine together. He loved the story, which he found grotesque but heartwarming with emotions of various characters.

It was also a dream come true for Cho Yi-hyun (Nam-ra), who had “really wanted to be part of a Netflix series.”

Lights, camera, action!

Yoo In-Soo (Gwi-nam), who played the bully that later turns into a “hambie,” said he was scared by the “incredibly realistic” performance of the zombie actors.

According to the director, all the actors who portrayed zombies or characters that later turned into zombies learned special choreography from a dancer who used to act.

Action scenes were likewise realistic since they involved a lot of real violence.

“I beat them more than I got beaten, so I felt sorry for them every time I did,” Su-hyeok’s actor explained.

Cheong-san’s actor likewise found it hard to do action scenes, because he had never hit anyone before.

As the protagonist and antagonist, Cheong-san and Gwi-nam figure into the most confrontations and are always at each other’s throats in the show. But their actors couldn’t be closer, even going to a cafe and seeing the nightscape together.

“We talked about acting and the show. We’re foes in the show, but friends in reality. That’s how we worked so well together when fighting. Our chemistry worked really well,” Gwi-nam’s actor said.

Devil in the details

All of Us Are Dead relied on visual storytelling to narrate a school overrun by zombies.

“We gave a lot of thought to lighting and colors for every single space,” the director said.

Creative decisions include building a 100-meter-long set and a four-story school, making the setting look animated and bright at first, using green uniforms to contrast the red blood, and relying on many one-takes and long take shots in the beginning.

Banner Photo by Netflix via Yoon Chan-young

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