Park Hyeon-Jin, the director of “Love and Leashes,” spoke with Cine 21 about the original webtoon, the filming process, and the casting of Seohyun and Lee Jun-Young for the film.
Q: What drew you to the original webtoon, Moral Sense?
Park: I liked how the webtoon asked questions about different relationships and romances while describing sexual preferences. The main character, Ji-woo (Seohyun), was particularly appealing to me. Ji-woo’s demeanor is always cold toward those around her. Ji-woo lives her life as she is, and Ji-hoo(Lee Jun-Young) thinks Ji-woo has a cool personality. It appealed to me that if characters like Ji-woo were featured, they could create scenes that were slightly different from the classic romance relationship.
Q: Major conflicts and endings in the film “Love and Leashes” differ from those in webtoons.
Park: In fact, I enjoyed webtoons so much that I didn’t want to miss out on any of the good scenes. However, it was difficult to adapt all of the scenes from webtoons while maintaining a good storyline in the film. So I took the character’s basic characteristics or major events from the webtoon, and then I worked on developing a theme and storyline for the film.
Q: You’ve always made romantic comedies and dramas, and I believe “Love and Leases” is one of them. However, as a director, it would have been hard for you to deal with a special subject in “Love and Leashes.”
Park: I was concerned about directing another romance film, which I had always done. However, the characters in “Love and Leashes” were so appealing that I thought the film would be a success. If I’ve mostly drawn narratives of everyday people, “Love and Leases” is a fantasy. It’s an approach that deals with romance through new experiences, so I directed the scenes to feel more like fantasy.
Q: Hearing the word “fantasy” immediately brings to mind Ji-woo and Ji-hoo’s “play” scenes. The play scene was fantastic because of the contrast in lighting and color.
Park: The play scene in webtoons is more realistic. However, in the live-action version, I wanted to provide more visual entertainment. At work, Ji-hoo’s rank is higher than Ji-woo’s, but the situation is reversed when they play. I thought it would be interesting to show the contrast between power relations, so I discussed it extensively with the camera director, art director, and costume director.
Q: Seohyun and Lee Joon-young appear to have portrayed the characters well in the film. How was the casting process?
Park: Girls’ Generation is one of my favorite groups. I’ve previously attended their concert. Seohyun looked like the one always acting in an honest role, but I later found out that she had played many different roles in the dramas “Time” and “Hello Dracula.” When we met in person and talked, I felt that her perspectives and social experiences were fantastic because of the many things she went through as a member of a girl group since she was a child.
Lee Joon-young drew attention for a role in the drama “Avengers Social Club.” In fact, I was concerned because he is younger than the original character, but he was able to play the older role than he actually is. He was shy when he arrived for the meeting, but when we began filming the movie, his eyes sparkled. Because I saw him as confident, I was confident that he would do well.