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Star K-drama director Lee Eung-bok brings ‘Sweet Home’ to life

“Sweet Home,” starring Song Kang (Netflix)
“Sweet Home,” starring Song Kang (Netflix)

The highly anticipated Netflix original series “Sweet Home” will kick off its first season Friday, bringing the celebrated webtoon to life.

“Sweet Home” is about teenager Hyun-soo, played by Song Kang, who moves into a new apartment after losing his family. In the apartment, monsters that reflect human desires appear, which Hyun-soo and his neighbors have to fight off as they solve the mystery behind the apartment. The original webtoon that was serialized on portal site Naver ended in July, having amassed over 1.2 billion net views.

Megahit director Lee Eung-bok, who directed “Descendants of the Sun,” “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” and “Mr. Sunshine” among others, worked with rookie screenwriters for “Sweet Home” under production by Studio Dragon and Studio N to show on Netflix.

“The difficulty I faced while shooting this drama was the highest. I had such a hard time. As for CG, there is hardly any scene that does not use it,” said director Lee, referring to computer-generated imagery, during the online press conference Wednesday.

Lee overcame this challenge with help from the best visual and special effects team from Netflix, who came together to bring the monsters to life. Visual effects were done by Westworld, which handled the visual effects of “Guardian” and “Mr. Sunshine,” while the special effects were made by Legacy Effect, which participated in the making of the films “Avengers” and “Avatar,” and Spectral Motion, which had a hand in “Stranger Things” and “Hellboy.”

Choreographer Kim Seol-jin and contortionist Troy James also helped bring the creatures to life.

“A lot of monsters appear, but the story I want to tell is about humans. Having the desire is neither good nor bad, and I think a monstrous appearance isn’t always bad. I wish people contemplated on such ideas without preconceptions through this work,” said Lee. 
“Sweet Home” (Netflix)
“Sweet Home” (Netflix)

Since the events take place in the apartment called “Green Home,” the set spanned 11,500 square meters and over 30 billion won ($27.5 million) was put into the series.

“There are worries that there might not be as many viewers because this is the first attempt of it (a dark-themed drama with monsters) in Korea,” said Lee. “Despite such worries, Netflix is attempting to overcome limits that were standard in the industry, so a drama like this was able to come to life. It supports values different from monetary profit and efficiency.”

Looking forward, since the script and shooting for the drama series ended before the completion of the original webtoon, Lee hopes to include the other creatures in the series if he is given the chance.

The first season of “Sweet Home,” consisting of 10 episodes, will be available on Netflix on Friday.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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