‘Business Proposal’ Director Talks Creation of Netflix’s K-Drama Hit – The Hollywood Reporter

Park Seon-ho tries to keep away from feeling too responsible in relation to cliches. As the director of Business Proposal, the most recent hit South Korean romantic comedy primarily based on a well-liked webtoon of the identical title, he sticks to the precept that “what you’re familiar with works the best.” So as an alternative of forcing change or including synthetic flavors, he tries to painting comfortingly predictable scenes as they’re. 

For Okay-drama followers, the plot of the story might certainly ring acquainted – an bizarre lady is disguised as her wealthy good friend and meets an conceited inheritor of a conglomerate on a blind date on the good friend’s request, solely to study that he’s the CEO of the corporate she works for. The two fall in love, and regardless of the pressures from the boy’s household resulting from class variations, the couple overcomes hardship and lives fortunately ever after. 

Yet this predictable storyline which adopts the Cinderella plot with a recent corporate-workplace twist resonated in an enormous manner with many followers of Okay-drama. On Netflix, the place the sequence was launched globally, Business Proposal was the streamer’s #1 non-English sequence for the third consecutive week as of final week. It was additionally the third most-watched Netflix present on the planet behind the primary two seasons of Bridgerton. 

The Hollywood Reporter talked to the director Seon-ho Park to debate the worldwide success of his final work and his experiences of working with up-and-coming Korean actors.  

This is your third sequence after Suspicious Partner and Wok of Love. How did you strategy Business Proposal, and what was your first impression of the unique webtoon? 

I additionally shot a brief drama sequence My Fantastic Funeral, so I’d say Business Proposal is definitely my fourth piece. After I accomplished Wok of Love, I used to be making ready to work on one other venture however it fell via with the pandemic. Right once I began feeling annoyed and disenchanted with myself due to the misplaced time of a full 12 months, a manufacturing firm reached out to me. The impression I acquired from my first learn of the script was nice. I accepted the supply as a result of I knew I may get pleasure from engaged on the piece. After I stated sure, I learn the unique webtoon sequence and acquired the impression that it was a cute and quirky romantic comedy set in an workplace. I believed, ‘This is a piece that audiences can enjoy anytime with peace of mind. It doesn’t offer you any complications, and it’s nice for relieving stress.’ I attempted to develop on these impressions from the unique webtoon in my means of dramatizing the sequence.

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Park Sun-ho

In the sooner episodes, it was obscure why Tae-moo couldn’t inform the distinction between Ha-ri and Geum-hui. Did you will have any considerations about this arrange?

I had many ideas about it. I used to be at a loss as to what to do about it (laughs). From Kim Se Jeong’s viewpoint, she has to change from Ha-ri and Geum-hui always, so the nuances in her appearing needed to be totally different. She needed to have the essential basis as a captivating lead in a romantic comedy sequence, whereas giving variation to her appearing model. We gave Geum-hui a extra dramatic change in her model, however there have been some structural points to match with that character so her model needed to undergo an overhaul once more. I communicated with Kim Se Jeong always all through this whole course of to construct on her opinions, particularly within the particulars in her appearing and her general model. She principally needed to put together for 2 roles, since she was taking part in two totally different characters. I had a variety of ideas on how the 2 characters’ relationships with Tae-moo would develop after they met him. With the fundamentals in place for the characters Ha-ri and Geum-hui, the event course of was a bit bit simpler. But I did attempt to make the movement extra pure and the story extra lifelike because it must make sense to the viewers. That’s why we put in scenes the place Ha-ri intentionally avoids making eye contact with Tae-moo to start with when she encounters him at work. We additionally added a playful chase scene along with her slipper. (We thought it might even be a enjoyable allusion to Cinderella.) Also, we deliberately portrayed Ha-ri as a personality who’s very expert at her job. We made her character likable, however by additionally highlighting her competence, we emphasised that Tae-moo could be unable to match Ha-ri and Geum-hui due to his very robust impression of Ha-ri as a professional worker. 

Young-seo and Sung-hoon’s relationship is contrasted with the traditional fairy-tale setting of Tae-moo and Ha-ri. How did you wish to painting their relationship?

I didn’t suppose the connection between Tae-moo and Ha-ri was that typical both (laughs). I believed it had some fantasy elements to it, so in script conferences with the author, we agreed to make it extra lifelike and believable. Romantic comedy as a style takes elements of fantasy with no consideration (particularly within the case of Cinderella-format tales) so I needed to carry some realness to stability out feelings in order that viewers wouldn’t have a tough time accepting the story. Young-seo and Sung-hoon’s relationship is identical. I don’t suppose that falling in love at first sight or the lady pursuing the man is that out of the bizarre at this time. I believe what makes their relationship particular is the way in which they specific their relationship and the way they seize their feelings of their appearing. I don’t need these two {couples} to be a stark distinction of one another. People love in numerous methods, which is the message I needed to convey. 

You added fascinating visuals through the use of animated results. Whose thought was it? 

They all began off as my concepts, and naturally our nice groups constructed on it. I centered most on an natural story movement and believable character feelings. A drama is only a story instructed utilizing visuals, so I believe the story, which is the muse, is a very powerful ingredient. That’s why we centered on the general storyline and the movement of feelings, regardless that they will not be good. Visual results have been used to keep up the integrity of the unique webtoon as effectively. Personally, I like utilizing particular visible results and attempt to incorporate them the place I can. I by no means use it to compromise the movement of the story or the actors’ efficiency although.

What was your first impression of Ahn Hyo Seop and Kim Se Jeong?

They had nice attitudes in the direction of work and understanding their characters. They have been diligent. As a producer, I needed to propel their careers ahead so they may construct on their stardom as up-and-coming actors. They have been each lovable and good at their jobs. At our first assembly, Ahn Hyo Seop was much more youthful than I had heard. That’s once I knew that he was the suitable match for Tae-moo, not the opposite manner round. I jokingly instructed him that I needed to carry out the infantile aspect of him on this sequence (laughs). He already had the appears to be like for the a part of Tae-moo, so including on his childlike elements would carry layers to the character’s complexity. Ahn Hyo Seop as an actor is stable and honest, so he not solely introduced out nuanced feelings from the character but additionally may aptly coloration Tae-moo’s character and seize particulars.

Kim Se Jeong is a former member of a Okay-pop idol group. Did you will have any considerations about her appearing expertise? 

Not in any respect. In the primary assembly, the writers and I have been blown away by how Kim prepped and interpreted her character. I knew she had the desire and tenacity to develop her character with vigor. She was good for us. We talked extensively in regards to the character’s feelings and their kinds. She’s a diligent and gifted actor. She’s glorious as a result of she is aware of find out how to carry out her personal feelings. There are some biases to considering that folks from idol teams is perhaps dangerous actors. If idol stars go into appearing, we are able to choose them by taking a look at their earlier works. We can fathom what sort of prospects lie forward for them as actors, and see if producers can elevate that.

Were there any fascinating or memorable anecdotes from the set?

We loved most of our time on set. Sure, there have been instances once we have been drained or annoyed, however our nice group of employees, actors and good vibes simply compensated for that. There was a live performance scene within the present. The male duo singer group MeloMance (a well-known Korean group) accepted being featured within the drama and sang reside. They should have been exhausted from taking pictures since they didn’t have a lot appearing expertise, however they took on tune requests from our supporting actors in between shoots to supply us with reside music. Shooting the live performance scene truly felt like we have been in a live performance. Kim Se Jeong even went on stage and sang with them as a duet.  

The drama is having fun with international reputation due to Netflix. Are you acutely aware of abroad reception? What do you suppose is behind the present’s international success?

Of course, I’m acutely aware of it. I’m human too (laughs). People round me preserve telling me how this blew up via Netflix. I used to be floored. Many international followers touch upon my Instagram posts and present their assist. I’m all the time very grateful. A drama relies on storytelling. If a narrative is nice, it can resonate with individuals everywhere in the world. I believe that was the key behind Business Proposal. We took a cliché of a narrative, tweaked it right here and there and made it into an emotional detail-oriented narrative. The actors’ stellar efficiency and manufacturing employees’s competence helped in delivering the story in a fantastic manner — all of them got here collectively.

Romance as a style has its limits in giving variations or transcending past the fastened construction. Did you will have any rules or guidelines whenever you have been coping with typical compositions or cliches?

It’s such a troublesome job. It’s actually not straightforward to maintain that high-quality line between refreshing and standard. I continued to query myself when it got here to coping with cliches, on whether or not I used to be making it too predictable or not. I’m nonetheless studying and rising, however I examine loads on how I can ship a narrative in a manner that makes viewers’ hearts flutter however avoids being apparent. So lately a thought got here to me, “let’s just be honest about this” and “what you’re familiar with works best.” Let’s not power change or add synthetic flavors. Let’s painting predictable scenes as they’re, however add modifications inside that huge body. Cliches get a foul rep, however when used correctly, they’re to not be discarded. That’s how I justified a number of the scenes. But I’m nonetheless looking for the reply, although I don’t even know if there’s such a factor without any consideration reply (laughs).

In episode 11 there’s a love scene between Tae-moo and Ha-ri. Some identified that it got here off as random within the movement of the story. Are you proud of the end result? 

I believe some individuals thought that it was random as a result of Tae-moo and Ha-ri have been in an harmless relationship the place they supported one another emotionally. But from a manufacturing viewpoint, I didn’t wish to lure them on this platonic love. They have been each adults, so it wasn’t bizarre that they have been doing grownup issues. Also, at this level of the story, Tae-moo is desperately searching for Ha-ri, and Ha-ri’s feeling is mutual. I do know that scene wasn’t for everybody, so I used to be humbled and mirrored on how I’ve extra to study.  

Some elements of the drama have been hardly relatable to younger Koreans at this time, like how the feminine lead within the drama has to take care of her boyfriend’s sick grandfather or the humiliation of searching for approval from his household.

I fully perceive. Even as a fictional drama, it might probably’t veer too far-off from the fact of the time interval. That’s why I attempted to make the narratives and emotional flows of every character natural with no synthetic disruptions. I centered on the general movement to justify the character’s positions – like why she has no selection however to look after the in poor health grandfather, or why the humiliation was crucial for approval of their marriage – in order that viewers wouldn’t ask themselves, “What on earth are these characters doing?”

Okay-dramas resembling Our Beloved Summer and Twenty-Five Twenty-One have additionally garnered a lot consideration globally. What do you suppose is the power behind Okay-romcoms?

I watched them, and thought they have been each nice items. My spouse actually liked each dramas, too (laughs). The strengths of Korean rom-coms… that’s a really exhausting query. It must be the believable narrative constructed from the start and the detailed emotional nuances that the display screen captures. There are additionally superb actors who’re expert at portraying these feelings superbly. Lastly, the superb crew carry all of it collectively via tireless work.

This is your first venture after leaving SBS (a significant Korean broadcaster). What does Business Proposal imply to you personally? 

I really feel relieved and comfortable. Business Proposal will most likely imply “business” and “proposal” for me. This was my first venture as a freelancer after leaving the corporate, and I’m relieved that it got here out effectively. Also, I used to be comfortable to work with nice crew and actors within the path I needed. Viewers feeling comfortable from watching the drama was the cherry on high for me. The most essential issue for me is the individuals I work with. Even as I enterprise into totally different genres and tasks, I wish to preserve the heat, the sentiments and the great narratives in every of my tasks. 

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