Making large scale action films can be challenging for any production, but for “Escape From Mogadishu” producer Hyejung Kang, the challenge wasn’t the budget or even the scale of the film but not having access to the country the movie is based on.
“The fact that we had to remake all of this in another country and it had to be based on past facts because we still cannot enter into Somalia,” Producer Hyejung Kang tells TheWrap’s Steve Pond. “So that in itself was a very big challenge and it was even more difficult than actually making a fantasy film because everything had to come out of our imagination.”
“I’m still very, very proud of our Korean staff, because I think they did an excellent job and close to perfect job in doing this,” Kang added.
“Escape From Mogadishu” is based on real events and takes place during the Somalian civil war. The political thriller centers on two rival diplomats — the South Korean ambassador of Somalia Han Sin-seong (Kim Yoon-seok) and the North Korean ambassador of Somalia Rim Yong-su (Heo Joon-ho) — as they work together to survive in and escape the country as war rages in Mogadishu.
The film was shot in Morocco and the production took great lengths to recreate early 1990s Mogadishu.
“When we went looking for a location, we really looked for a location, a place that would really resemble the capital of Somalia,” director Seung-wan Ryoo said. “What we did is we actually worked with the basic structures that existed and what we did is our art team went in and, for example, we would plant the palm trees and also we would construct the arch-type constructions. We all did this based on the data that existed.”
“For the things that were too extravagant or too big for us to build and also for things that really needed particular detail, we actually compensated that with CGI and so that’s how we were able to make the Mogadishu that you see and everybody sees in the movie,” Ryoo added.
Unbeknownst to Ryoo, he discovered he had a member of his crew who was in Mogadishu during the actual civil war.
“As we were doing the artwork and doing the work on the scenery, actually, the person who was driving the camera car for the car chase at the end of the movie, he actually during the civil war at the time was a pilot (in Mogadishu),” Ryoo said.
Ryoo added: “What he told me was he thought that we had made everything very similar to the Mogadishu that he knew back then.”
Check out the rest of the interview above.