Lee Na-Eun, the writer of the Netflix drama Our Beloved Summer, was interviewed by Newsen and shared her thoughts on the drama. During the interview, she discussed how she created the characters in Our Beloved Summer, particularly Choi Woong.
What was your first thought when casting?
When I’m writing, I don’t usually think about actors. But this time, while creating the character Choi Woong, I happened to watch a lot of videos of actor Choi Woo-Sik. I wanted to discover Choi Woo-Sik’s own charm, not just as an actor. I ended up watching an entertainment show called Summer Vacation. Choi Woo-Sik’s appearances in the show inspired me to create the character Choi Woong. I didn’t expect to cast Choi Woo-Sik in the role, but luckily I was able to send him a script. In addition, Kim Da-Mi was suggested for the role of Kook Yeon Su. When I watched Kim Da-Mi’s videos, I thought she was perfect for the role of Kook Yeon-Su. Both actors were my top choices, and I was delighted to be able to cast both of them.
What did you think of the characters and acting of the actors?
After casting the actors, I wrote the script with them in mind. The actors then astounded me by putting so much more effort into the characters than I had expected. I was grateful and terrified at the same time. Because I assumed the script wasn’t finished yet. After watching the final episode, I thought the cast was too good.
The ending of the drama, in which Choi Woong and Kook Yeon-Soo collaborate on a documentary, was praised by the audience as a “perfect ending.” Did you intend to write with that ending in mind?
I wrote it without thinking about how I was going to end it. When I started writing, I had every possibility open, and the ending was not yet determined. While writing, I became obsessed with the characters Choi Woong and Kook Yeon-Soo. They went through a lot of difficult processes, which gives me a lot of peace of mind. I reasoned that I owed it to those who had provided me with so much comfort to make them happy. I thought it would be nice if the two main characters’ lives became happier because it would bring comfort to many others as well.
Our Beloved Summer didn’t have a conflict structure or dramatic events for the characters, instead focusing on their small daily lives. I believe it was difficult to begin the 16 episodes with the emotional development of the characters.
Actually, it wasn’t difficult for me to write because I’ve already written a story that follows the emotions of the characters. I was wondering if it was okay not to have dramatic events. Fortunately, the director and producer believed in me and allowed me to proceed.
Do you have a reason for setting it up to feel the season?
It’s difficult for me to imagine youth without considering the season. I wanted to capture the early summer part of my life, especially when I was in high school. I wanted to express youth as early summer so much, so the working title of the drama was “I like early summer.”
Is there an actor you’d like to collaborate with?
I’ll visit Choi Woo-Sik again if good writing on a different theme emerges.