Q1: Regarding Mimi
A: M is the first concept we thought up for the drama… till now, the concept which we held on to and proceed with right from the start till the end, there was just one concept which we adopted from the start.
And that is “An innocent drama about a first love which is awash with sadness!”
That, now… The production company also feels this way, I also feel this way, that that one phrase is really too great and we started in that way.
The story is about a character called Minwoo who is in his mid-20s and those memories which he has lost, and is in particular about him searching for the memories of his first love. While searching for his memories, he came to discover the kind of past he had and the first love whom he had loved before, and he discovered the various truths hidden within that love, and the truths which he had not known before. And within that, he gained the strength to enable him to live his life in his present reality… yep that is it.
Q2: how did the opportunity to produce this drama come about?
A: To put it simply, frankly speaking, regarding the opportunity to produce M, it was an opportunity which the director created.
What I received at the start, when we were commencing this, was a synopsis of about 3 pages. It was a 3-page synopsis which adapted the movie M into a 4-part drama, and at the moment when I read the synopsis which was 3 pages long, whoa… that… it really moved my heart.
Of course, I also watched the movie, but the 3 pages of the synopsis let loose and were packed with highlights which were almost completely different from the movie. It was really too good, and I decided, “I just have to do this, I have to direct this”. So that was how it all started.. even till now, I carry that 3-page synopsis with me in my bag whereever I go. Although now the script has come out, the first thoughts of this drama, the plans about this drama were too good… and those were incorporated into the drama.
If asked what these elements are, there are love and memories, first love, life and death, farewell and reunion… such points all intersect in a fascinating manner and can all be found in the drama..
So that was how the director accepted it.
Q3: the differences with the movie M?
A: No matter how we see it, instead of calling it a remake, it seems almost closer to a re-creation, the 4-part drama. It’s close to a reinvention.. if one asks why we made it that way, because it was a 2-hour long movie…
So we just took the concept of the first love…
Whether it is the real-life profession of the lead character, or his real-life circumstances, or the process whereby those 2 people, Minwoo and Mimi came to meet each other, or the opportunity whereby they got to meet each other, or the process whereby they came to date each other, the process of the farewell, and the process whereby the new character which appeared in the drama called Eunhae.. the process whereby this young woman and Minwoo fall in love… All these stuff were not in the movie. The 4-part drama was completely reinvented.
And… so no matter how we see it, we really focused a lot on the emotions of the loves of those 2 emotional people.
And we also filled it with even more fantasy set-ups… and if you watched the last episode no. 4, there is also a fantasy set-up which is akin to a twist..
We created those elements… yep..
Q4: The aspects which you focused the most on?
A: hmm.. because this is a story in the “love” genre, there are many usual romantic comedies or stuff out there now…
However, in a case like ours, it is about a young first love, and just like I said earlier, because it is a drama about a first love which is overflowing with sadness, to make it appear natural… the aspect which I placed the most emphasis on is the acting out of the emotions by the actors. Because it is emotive acting… actually, because the emotions of the actors are really delicate stuff.. and also because they are innocent young youths, I am now working on putting a lot of focus on the natural acting of the actors.
Q5: We heard that the filming locations for the scenes of the past were in Busan?
A: They were those “past” scenes of the process whereby Minwoo and Mimi, whereby the 2 of them meet and cultivate their love.. because the present reality scenes were in Seoul, in order to find a contrast with Seoul for the scenes of the past, we worked very hard. But we.. there was a producer PD who gave me just one photo. He gave me only one photo.. that was a picture of a cultural village in Busan now… at the very moment when I saw that one photo… I went “Ah! This is it..” So the drama script which I was holding on to.. The feeling of love of those 2 characters which I had from reading the script and those type of feelings… when I saw that photo, those feelings came washing over me. “Ok, let’s go immediately to this place”, and so once we went there, we decided on it immediately.
Q6: How do you express the intersection of the past scenes and the current reality?
A: because there is a 10-year difference in the real ages of the actors, the female lead is herself in high school now and because there is a 10-year gap with the current reality… just by looking at either the outfits or the different types of equipment setting, one will be able to immediately differentiate between the past and the present.
Q7: What kind of character is Minwoo?
A: Minwoo is in his 20s.. he is a webtoon writer now in his mid-20s.. So during a 10-year period, at the start when he was young during his high school days, while he was giving off innocent smiles, he then transformed into a webtoon writer. These 10 years.. He worked hard himself and started gaining popularity for his works for the first time in his life.. So he is a man who started gaining popularity while he was drawing his webtoon about a love story.. He is a little introverted and instead of having a lot of friends, he is immersed in his own job and is a really genuine man? And the status of “family” in his heart.. he is someone who possesses huge pain and carries wounds… but amidst that.. while he is looking for his memories, while searching for the memories of his first love, he took a really huge step at the very end. About that girl, about love, in order to repay what he had received, what kind of huge actions did he set out to take… he is a character who is strong inside even though he is tender-hearted.
Q8: About creating the character of Minwoo
A: Now I don’t see any difference between the actor himself (Changmin) and the character in the script. At the very moment when I saw that actor.. In my thoughts, I set out to project and picture him with the character and even while having conversations with him, I also induced him a lot in that way too. Therefore, in reality, whether in the case of Changmin-ssi, or in the case of Mimi, Gayoung-ssi, they are all people who are really busy, but before the filming started, we did a lot of reading of the script together. We read the script.. held on to the script and also spoke a lot.. what was hidden within those people… I worked hard at trying to discover the character in the script which I had in mind.. that process with one another… before the filming started, we worked a lot at that process.
Q9: The differences in the image of Changmin and the Minwoo which the director has in mind?
A: About that, Changmin was really very busy, because he was really busy.. actually, in reality… it is my first time working together with Changmin-ssi… but because he was very busy, even the time when we got to speak to other was during the little spare time he had.. what was the most similar between what I had in mind and what Changmin had in mind was the character called Minwoo… Although he is now a young webtoon writer in his 20s, he’s a really… to put it simply, he is kind-hearted and innocent. He is a character who has really treasured the feelings about his love in his heart for a long time. In that respect, it seemed like we were similar in our thoughts. And another difference is that Changmin is more kind-hearted than I had imagined (laughs). Yep, in that way, it seems like Changmin and Minwoo really fit each other a lot.
-questions about the character of “Mimi” and Moon Ga Young-ssi omitted-
Q: What is your first impression of Changmin?
A: I met him.. umm.. I saw his back view, and I didn’t know that he was an idol singer. I couldn’t recognize him. He was really dressed so plainly like a normal person… and really natural.. he was just going around like that. While holding on to the script and talking with him, I could tell that he was someone who possesses a lot of passion about being an actor and about acting, and I thought of him as having a lot of sides of him that seemed more like a youth than I had imagined. So compared to the average youths in recent times, he is a little different. He has been active in this industry for more than 10 years, but seeing how he still remains unblemished and still possesses those youthful emotions and feelings, it was really refreshing.
Q: Changmin who is acting out the role of a high school student, what were the aspects which you paid attention to?
A: No matter how I see it, in the case of Changmin-ssi, he wore a lot of high school uniforms… Both of them met in school and then cultivated their love in the school. Because of that, we really put a lot of effort on the high school outfits. Recently there are also many uniforms which are bright and luxurious-looking. What I picked was instead a colour tone which was pretty dark and deep when contrasted against the images of the 2 of them and the characters of the both of them in the drama, so I chose the dark shade of uniforms. The reason being… When Changmin wore that uniform, he seemed the most like a youth. If he had worn a luxurious-looking and a bright colour tone… strangely, because that uniform was worn by Changmin, it really made him seem like a real high school student. So we went with that.. Looking back once again like this, because Changmin also has many sides to him which seem like a youth, seeing him wearing the uniform is really like him being a natural high school student.. Overall, he was really well-suited after he also carries his backpack.
Q: How is Changmin’s acting?
A: Changmin-ssi isn’t someone who has done a lot of acting now right? He is primarily carrying out activities as a singer. Therefore, in whatever technical aspect, it is not possible to say that he is good in the technical aspects when one compares him to the other actors. However, the part about the emotive acting required, actually that was the aspect which I was really worried out. Because that type of acting is not something which can come out even when we are sitting at a table and doing the reading of the script, it was something which had to come out on site at the filming location after he gets immersed into the scene. However, there are a few really sad teary scenes, but all those scenes were okay-ed in just one shoot. The character is a really introverted one. Changmin-ssi was also such a person, he is really tender-hearted and innocent, and he is the type who gets hurt easily but does not express his hurt and instead keeps them within himself. And because everything accumulates, everything pours out when those accumulated emotions meets with a particular mindset. Those scenes, we filmed them about two times. Once was in the scenes of the past, and once was in the current reality, that was filmed really easily, it was shot well.
Q: Any incidents which left an impression on you?
A: What left an impression on me was something which was the most important amongst the scenes of the past. Minwoo and Mimi, the both of them met in the school and cultivated their love in the school, and there was also an art classroom within the school. In that space, they met each other and started liking each other, and had their first kiss there. I’m not sure if the Japanese people saw the M movie in 2007… and the 4-part drama is also almost completely different. In addition, because of the issue of the emotive acting… we placed a lot of emphasis on the emotions of the first love.
And there are also many similar points between Changmin-ssi’s real-life personality and the side of Minwoo who appears in the drama. If one comes to watch the drama, one will go “ah, so people are like that, when this happens, they react in this way and feel this way, and they go through that incident in this way”. When one follows along with the acting, it will be very interesting.
And also Ga Young-ssi is a student of a girls’ high school in real life and is acting as a high school student, so if one follows along with the 2 actors, Changmin-ssi and Ga-Young ssi and feel the interesting plot, it will be a refreshing and good experience.
Credit: 미밍님 @ DC Max Gallery (Part 1 Part 2)
Translated by: mug_ping