Netflix‘s All of Us Are Dead Korean drama is all about teenage students turning into zombies. When a virus, created by the school’s science teacher, infects the school and the local town, things turn deadly. All of Us Are Dead actor Cho Yi-hyun needed some unique inspiration for her character Nam-ra. As the K-drama‘s class president turned halfbie, Cho turned to a famous 2000s supernatural teen movie.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for All of Us Are Dead.]
Cho Yi-hyun’s ‘All of Us Are Dead’ character has a mutated version of the virus
At the beginning of the zombie coming-of-age K-drama, Nam-ra was a cold and distant character. She seemed to not get along with the rest of her classmates who looked down on her for not doing her job as the class president. Nam-ra often had a placid and unwavering demeanor. But as the outbreak takes hold of the school, she forms a bond with her classmates.
Fans came to praise Nam-ra when she outs Na-yeon for the horrid act she committed against another character. As she helps keep her friends safe and herself, she is bitten by a mutated Gwi-nam. Unlike the other zombies, she is a halfbie. She is infected but has strong antigens that help her keep her humanity. Fans also believe the emotions and love from Su-hyeok and On-jo kept her at bay.
While she is infected, she pushed herself to keep her hunger at bay. Nam-ra did not want to hurt the people she cares for and even bit herself to appease her urges. This aspect of Nam-ra in All of Us Are Dead came from Cho seeking inspiration from Twilight.
Cho Yi-hyun used ‘Twilight’ to inspire her zombie character in ‘All of Us Are Dead’
Who would have thought getting the perfect inspiration for a coming-of-age zombie K-drama would come from watching Twilight? Stephanie Meyer’s book adaptation became a cult phenomenon and helped define the supernatural teen genre. Bell and Edward’s forbidden romance between a human and a vampire was enticing.
For All of Us Are Dead, Cho had to get in tune with Nam-ra’s internal battle. According to Soompi, when preparing for the role, “The director also helped me center myself so that I wouldn’t go overboard with my emotions within the process of switching back and forth between zombie and human.”
In order to achieve the atmosphere for Nam-ra, Cho looked to Twilight. “While pondering what a ‘half-zombie’ should be like, I watched the movie ‘Twilight’ and decided on my own that they would have a vampire vibe,” said the actor. The concept sounds intriguing.
Much like Edward, Nam-ra was battling her desire to give in to her hunger. Wanting to stay with her friends and the people she cares for, Nam-ra had to suppress her urges. In Twilight, Edward was afraid of his strength hurting Bella and his life affecting her. Nam-ra goes through the same problems and when realizing her hunger was getting too strong, she decides to run away.
The K-drama actor found it difficult to portray Nam-ra
Cho has had a worthwhile career on the small-screen with roles in period pieces and medical K-dramas. For All of Us Are Dead, Cho had some difficulty with her character. This mostly came from knowing who or what her character would become.
“It was difficult acting out the process of going back and forth between her zombie side and her human side, of wavering between human and zombie,” said Cho. She took classes to get the physical portrayal of a zombie correct from bending her fingers to how her head moved.
According to Soompi, All of Us Are Dead was her, “first time taking on the challenge of playing a character who is so cold and quiet.” For fans of Twilight, it sounds like Edward to a T. In retrospect, Nam-ra would make a fine addition to the Cullens clan.