A new K-drama is heading to Netflix, bringing us grounded and comforting stories about people who are in different stages and must face different aspects of their lives. Set on the warm, lively Jeju Island, the omnibus drama Our Blues promises a series of beautiful tales revolving around the island’s inhabitants.
Before the premiere of its pilot episode this April 9, we got to attend Netflix’s virtual press conference for Our Blues, where the creators and cast of the TV show shared some interesting details on how they formed the series and the characters that live in it. Check out the highlights of the presscon below:
Different stories tied together by Jeju Island
A refreshing format for a K-drama, Our Blues tells the stories of fourteen characters whose lives are somehow connected through the Seopseop 5-day Market of the Pureung village– some are friends, neighbors, and relatives. Each episode is told through the eyes of one or two characters, and with every episode, the viewers are given a glimpse of the lives of the other characters who have their own stories to tell in yet another episode.
“An omnibus style is something that I wanted to try on a drama series for over ten years,” shared writer Noh Hee-kyung. “I kind of, got sick and tired of just seeing a male lead and a female lead. You know, we are all the main characters in each of our lives, but why is it that everything just revolves around two people in a drama? And that question has led me to choose an omnibus style.”
As for why the writer of the series chose Jeju Island as the setting for this drama, she answered: “I believe Jeju is a place where the very Korean and local sentiments remain intact. In Jeju, the whole neighborhood could be blood-related, and if not, they’re still very close to one another. And their close-knit culture was something I could really use to portray the Korean culture.”
Experiencing a series & film in one
Having a fresh format for a K-drama, Our Blues director Kim Kyu-tae also shared how he approached the direction of the show. According to the director, he saw Our Blues as a hybrid between a film and a series.
“When we were planning the show and I read the script, it felt like a hybrid of a drama series and a movie. It sat on a fine between the two,” Kyu-tae began. “So I also wanted to make sure that this provided the viewers two experiences– one of watching a film and the other of watching a 20-episode series. That is what I focused on the most.
“I [told] myself, let’s just get back to the basics. I didn’t want to go overboard to kill two birds with one stone. I got back to the basics, I wanted to go about it the classic way, and in a sophisticated way. So that was my focus. Nowadays we tend to see a lot of fancy video techniques, where we sometimes just go for instant thrills and stimulus. But instead of going down that path, I wanted to focus more on the characters, their stories and their emotions. And I didn’t want to force anything onto the viewers. I just wanted to let them watch and slowly immerse themselves into the emotions and stories in a more natural way. I think that’s what’s most important,” the director added.
An exciting ensemble of stars
To bring the captivating stories of Our Blues to life, the production has gathered an impressive ensemble of actors, including Shin Min-ah (Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha), Lee Byung-Hun (Mr. Sunshine, Squid Game), Cha Seung-won (One Ordinary Day, The Greatest Love), and Kim Woo-bin (Uncontrollably Fond). Also joining them are Lee Jung-eun, Han Ji-min, Uhm Jung-hwa, Roh Yoon-seo, Bae Hyun-sung, Kim Hye-Ja, Ko Du-shim, Park Ji-hwan, and Choi Young-joon.
Shin Min-ah and Lee Byung-hun’s chemistry
Lee Byung-hun stars as Lee Dong-seok, an innocent truck driver who was born and raised in Jeju Island. Dong-seok stumbles upon romance when his paths crossed with Shin Min-ah’s Min Seon-a, the actress’ first role as a mother, who had to leave her child and move to Jeju Island.
Asked about his chemistry with Min-ah, Byung-hun shares: “Youthful and energetic was how I always imagined Min-ah, but through filming this drama I got to know that she had a very profound depth to her, and her acting has depth too. I was surprised and impressed, and I think we had very good synergy… She and I had great chemistry while filming, so it was exciting and I felt confident while working with her.”
Min-ah also shared her experience working with Byung-hun for the third time around in this new series: “This time in Our Blues we met again, and I felt like I had met three different people maybe because we had such different roles before. But I can say that I did feel slightly more comfortable with him, so I think that helped create the chemistry between Dong-seok and Seon-a.”
Shin Min-ah’s first mother role
Fresh from the success of last year’s Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Shin Min-ah returns to our screens in Our Blues, this time as a mother. During the press conference, the actress shares her experience acting as a mother for the first time.
“Min seon-a is a character who is still dwelling in her pain. This is my first role as a mother of a child. There was more pressure for me to depict Seon-a’s emotional changes and how she overcomes her pain rather than the fact that she’s a mother. I thought it would be very difficult. But weirdly, I had an understanding of her character and her mindset. I felt her pain. Her pain and her will to overcome that pain. Those two were I thought, would be exciting for me to depict and I wanted to take on this challenge. I guess you could say, Seon-a’s character was the biggest reason I took on this piece. Her emotions and her personality were relatable for me.”
Cha Seung-won as the hardworking father Choi Han-soo
Cha Seung-won who recently starred alongside Kim Soo-hyun in One Ordinary Day, plays the family man Choi Han-soo. “From how I see it, Han-soo works in Korea to support his family abroad and to raise his daughter abroad. Even though I’m not supporting my family abroad personally, I still had a lot of similar feelings with Han-soo as a father. I brought those thoughts into my acting for this drama. There weren’t any particular directions or processes that I focused on. As writer Noh said, just going with the flow is the best direction for her drama. Her words and penmanship really shined through all the acting, so I really enjoyed that process.”
Kim Woo-bin’s comeback as Park Jeong-jun
It’s been six years since Kim Woo-bin last appeared in a K-drama, and fans of the actor are surely looking forward to his return, especially with his real-life partner, Shin Min-ah, also playing a part in the series. In Our Blues, Woo-bin plays captain Park Jeong-jun, a romantic man with a busy life, from driving off sea divers who harvest Jeju’s sea life to selling fish at the market.
“I put emphasis on trying to put myself in Jeong-jun’s shoes,” stated Woo-bin during the press conference. “So to understand how he grew up and the emotions he feels. I just followed through writer Noh’s script. I followed the emotional journey of Jeong-jun. And while I was getting prepared for the role, I wanted to understand the environment that he lives in. So I went over to Jeju earlier than I needed to, to meet and talk with some boat captains and sometimes just follow around haenyeo divers to see how they commute, and also learn how to trim fish. So I put a lot of time into trying to understand him.”
Where to stream ‘Our Blues’
More characters, each with their beautiful and fleshed-out stories, are coming to the K-drama Our Blues, which will premiere on Netflix this April 9, 2022. New episodes will be released every Saturday and Sunday at 10 PM, Philippine time. For more information, visit the show’s official page on Netflix.
ABOUT ‘OUR BLUES’
Director: Kim Kim Kyu-tae
Writer: Noh Hee-kyung
Starring: Shin Min-ah, Lee Byung-Hun, Cha Seung-won, Kim Woo-bin, Lee Jung-eun, Han Ji-min, Uhm Jung-hwa, Roh Yoon-seo, Bae Hyun-sung, Kim Hye-Ja, Ko Du-shim, Park Ji-hwan, and Choi Young-joon.
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: April 9, 2022 (with new episodes every Saturday and Sunday, 10 PM Philippine time)