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[Herald Interview] Lee Eung-bok expresses 'Korean spirit' of monster horror in 'Sweet Home'

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Dec. 5, 2023 - 18:06

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Lee Eung-bok (Netflix) Lee Eung-bok (Netflix)

The star director of hit Korean TV dramas "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God" (2016) and "Mr. Sunshine" (2018), Lee Eung-bok is back with the much-awaited second season of Netflix's "Sweet Home."

Lee's first season of "Sweet Home," a 10-part Netflix original series, gained a global following in 2020, making it to the Netflix US top 10 list as the first Korean TV drama to do so.

"When I decided to direct 'Sweet Home', I didn't know that there would be so much interest in it," Lee said in an interview with reporters in Jongno, central Seoul, Tuesday.

"However, I always wanted Korea to have (its own popular) monster horror genre work and I decided to produce the work with the support of Netflix," he said.

Through "Sweet Home," Lee said he wanted to create a Korean monster horror series with the "Korean spirit" embedded in it.

"In overseas monster horror drama series and apocalypse drama series, there are lots of characters and villains whose sole purpose is to save themselves. However, in 'Sweet Home" season two, there are characters like Chan-young, who sincerely tries to understand others and is self-sacrificial. Through such parts, I tried to reflect the Korean spirit," Lee said.

In the second season, Chan-young, played by Jinyoung of boy band B1A4, is a soldier in the Special Forces Guard who leads people to safety.

"Sweet Home" centers on the residents of Green Home, a run-down apartment, as they try to survive in a world where people mysteriously turn into monsters. The second season follows the story of the residents making their way out of the apartment building and facing a world overtaken by monsters.

"The first season mostly took place in an enclosed space. Also, only a limited number of monsters could be shown," Lee said. "There was also a limit to showing the characters' growth and development with a limited number of characters." In the second season, Lee aims to expand the "Sweet Home" universe, introducing diverse monsters in wide open spaces.

Lee hinted that the third season is scheduled for release sometime next summer. He said he plans on bringing "home" all the characters who became separated in the first two seasons.

"During the second season, new characters come forth in a new environment. In the third season, the old characters' families will come together, and everyone else will get to come back home," Lee said. Shooting for the third season has concluded, and it is currently in the editing stage, he added.

As for how he felt now that he had finished filming, Lee said he was thankful that viewers, regardless of age or gender, were widely receptive to his work.

"The level of audience has risen exponentially. Also, the level of interest is high. If some things could not be communicated through the second season, I'm sure the third and the final season will bring it all together," the director said.

Season two of "Sweet Home" is currently streaming on Netflix, having premiered Friday.