K-drama ‘Call It Love’ director on unique qualities of the show, Lee Sung-kyung, Kim Young-kwang

“Call It Love,” the new Korean drama starring Kim Young-kwang and Lee Sung-kyung, is currently streaming on Disney+. 

In the romance drama, Kim Youngkwang plays the role of Han Dongjin, the CEO of Best Fairs. 

He is the target of revenge of Shim Woo-joo (Lee Sung-kyung), who has a lasting scar because of her dad’s infidelity. 

"Call It Love" director Lee Kwangyoung (left) and the stars including Kim Young-kwang and Lee Sung-kyung (Disney+)
"Call It Love" stars Kim Young-kwang and Lee Sung-kyung (Disney+)

It also stars Sung Jun, Ahn Heeyeon and Kim Yewon and is described as a romance between two people who should have never met. 

“Call It Love” director Lee Kwangyoung talked about the drama and the unique qualities of the show and its stars. 

The drama is her first project released through a global streaming video platform, saying that “Call It Love” being available on Disney+ “definitely has a different ring to it, compared to conventional channels. 

“Since so many people have poured their hearts and souls into this work, I just hope that viewers would enjoy and love the show. I’m quite nervously waiting for the episodes myself every week,” she said. 

She said “Call It Love” is different from other romance dramas as it “focuses not only on loving and being loved but also how one’s life changes by such love.” 

“And love in this show doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic. It could be love between friends, family or in any sort of bond. While a bond can sometimes weigh down on you, it also helps you withstand hardships in life. I wanted to talk about these kinds of bonds and worked on this show hoping that the characters in the show would take a step forward in their life thanks to this emotion called love,” Lee Kwangyoung explained. 

The director narrated that when she got the script, she “really fell in love with the lines the scriptwriter wrote. They are trying to look all tough but the warmth just oozes out from the lines.” 

“I wanted to make sure I direct the show in a way that such lines, when conveyed through the lips of the actors, would bring to the viewers that ambience I felt in the script. That’s why I had a lot of discussions with the writer on the meaning of and the emotions in each and every line - I tried my best to create an environment in which actors could express those emotions without any barriers,” she added. 

Lee Sung-kyung has played many characters in romantic comedies and the director praised her for her role in “Call It Love.” 

“There are a lot of scenes in the script when Woojoo can’t hold back what she’s got to say and just bluntly spits out words. She doesn’t dare to stand up for herself, but for the person she likes, she would spit out harsh words without even thinking. I hope this side of her wouldn’t look vile but rather, charming,” the director said. 

She added, “And Sung-kyung was just beyond my expectations. When her innate cheerful vibe was met with those blunt words, it just created a totally new blend. I see the same scene dozens of times when editing, but everytime I see the same scene I would chuckle. She thinks she’s the most hopeless person on Earth and cuts herself off from the world but when people see her they see her careless and loveable side and actually want more to do with her.”

“Call It Love” reunited Lee Kwangyoung and Kim Youngkwang. 

“I always thought that Youngkwang’s got a very lonely vibe to him behind the fancy image he has. I still don’t know the reason why. He looks so gorgeous - why do I sense loneliness from him? That’s why he was perfect for Dongjin,” said the director. 

She added, “I don’t know if it’s because I’ve worked with him before, but I have infinite trust towards him. He is never in disguise when he’s acting. He really deep-dives into the character to truly understand him. So instead of giving him advice, I would talk a lot with him about the feelings Dongjin has. I trusted the Dongjin Youngkwang created and made a storyboard to follow through with his flow of emotions.” 

Lee Kwangyoung picked the scenes in “Call It Love” that fans should watch. 

“For Woojoo, there is that one scene in the first episode when she is walking holding an umbrella after learning of her father’s death from a text message. If you look closely enough, Woojoo is walking one way but all the other characters and the background flow in the opposite direction. I thought Woojoo is a character who is stuck in the past and walks backwards instead of moving forward. So when we were shooting this scene, everyone else walked the usual way and Sungkyung had to walk backwards. While it was a difficult scene to shoot, I really liked this scene because it shows how Woojoo cannot move forward and is just barely carrying on with her life,” she said. 

For Dongjin, she said it “is the shadow scene in the motel room in the fifth episode. Due to his breakup with his girlfriend at the camping site, he doesn’t dare go camping, which is pretty much the only thing he enjoys in life. So he also just barely lives on with an unhealed wound inside him.” 

“I think the first scene in the first episode embodies the overarching message I wanted to convey through this show. It starts off with the lonely back of Dongjin who’s at his vacant office even before sunrise. The sun rises, he works, the sun goes down, and he’s still at the office working. Through this scene I wanted to paint the picture of what viewers are going to see in this show - the story of any one of us living on and enduring on. I think Park Hasun’s special narration perfected the scene,” she said. 

The director said her main message in the drama is that “living a life comes with emotional scars and loneliness.” 

“Despite being so, we live on. I wanted to tell the audience, or myself, that this is how we all live. But as Woojoo meets Dongjin, and Dongjin meets Woojoo, they take a step forward. We also can take a step forward with the smallest trigger. This is the consolation and hope that I wanted to bring to the audience,” she explained. 

“Call It Love” is available on Disney+.