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Comforting life through meeting ‘My Mister’

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Updated : April 12 2018

TV drama series “My Mister” didn’t get off to a smooth start, hounded by controversies from the very beginning. At a media briefing held Wednesday, the producer and the cast attempted to dispel concerns about the program, appealing to the public to see its sincerity.

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(From left) Producer Kim Won-suk, actors Lee Sun-kyun and Lee Ji-eun speak at a press conference held Wednesday at Times Square mall in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. (Yonhap)
Poster of “My Mister” / tvN
The tvN drama which airs at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays aims to portray how scarred souls heal each other, focusing on the relationship between a man in his 40s and a woman in her early 20s.

The drama was criticized for setting up a couple with a 20-year age gap. With singer-actress Lee Ji-eun, better known by her stage name IU, taking the role of the 21-year-old woman, the controversy only deepened. Lee has been mired in controversy for using Lolita complex as a concept, highlighted by her self-produced album “Chat-shire” in 2015. Despite her denials, Lee hasn’t been able to fully shake off the criticisms.

Lee admitted, she was worried when offered the role in the drama as it seemed likely to revive the old controversy. She said she hesitated in accepting the role.

“After reading the synopsis, I wanted to take the role. But I couldn’t readily say ‘Yes,’ as I was worried that the drama might be swept up in unnecessary controversy because of me,” she said. “I even asked the producer if he knows about the controversy surrounding me, if he would be okay with it.”

Producer Kim Won-suk managed to persuade her, stressing, “It’s not a love story but a human story.” Speaking of Lee, the producer shed tears, part grateful and part sorry tears for the actress.

“I have to thank her very much for playing the role well. The Lee Ji-ahn (Lee’s role in the drama) that actress Lee Ji-eun plays, is better than the one I prepare. She greatly contributes to the drama,” he said.

To fend off possible criticisms, the production team has been paying extra attention to censoring provocative scenes. Though he is not fully content with the self-censorship, the producer thinks it’s necessary to achieve the drama’s original goal -- redefining the word mister, translated into “ajeossi” in Korea.

“In recent years, the word seems to have come to have a negative meaning, making me wonder why. Through the drama, I hope to redefine the word and change its image,” Kim said.

Kim also mentioned that actor Lee Sun-kyun’s character, Lee Ji-eun’s ajeossi, is a reflection of himself.

“The relationship between the two (main characters) is very odd,“ he said, adding that such a relationship would typically be seen as inappropriate. ”But we wanted to make viewers understand that the two become important for each other,” he said.

The successful producer, who has directed several hit series such as “Misaeng” and “Signal,” is satisfied with the current series, receiving more calls than ever from industry insiders complimenting him. He thinks that “My Mister” has a unique, “previously unseen” female lead character.

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Poster of "My Mister" (tvN)

“Lee Ji-ahn is very dark. In many Korean dramas, female characters are often projections of the viewers. But Lee is too dark for that, hard to understand, too,” Kim said.

Though the drama has a dark atmosphere, the producer considers it a comedy. “Comedy is what I would like to produce, but also it is the hardest to make. But essentially, ‘My Mister’ is a comedy, as it finds happiness in a tough life,” he said.

Eight more episodes remain of the 16-part series. It has been garnering an average viewership rating of 4.5 percent.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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