Director Park Seon-ho, in charge of directing, said on the 8th, “A comfortable story based on a popularly familiar cliché, a story structure that properly mixes fantasy and reality, fast development without feeling stuffy, and good performances by actors who brilliantly portray attractive characters, etc. It seems to have appealed,” he said.
The SBS Monday-Tuesday drama Business Proposal’ is an office romance between Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-seop), a genius boss, and Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se-jeong), an employee who cheated on her identity. Based on the popular webtoon and web novel of the same name serialized on the Kakao Page, it gained a lot of popularity through word of mouth saying, “The taste of knowing is the scariest.”
This was shown in the ratings of the drama more than doubled the viewership rating of 4.9% in the first episode, recording 11.4% in the final episode (based on Nielsen Korea, nationwide), taking the top spot in the Monday-Tuesday dramas, winning the popularity of the genre. ‘Business Proposal’, which was serviced through Netflix, enjoyed not only domestic but also global popularity, showing off the potential of ‘K-Loco’.
The following is a Q&A with director Park Seon-ho.
▶ I think the atmosphere on the set would have been good with the rising viewership ratings. What was the reaction of the drama scene and actors?
I am very grateful to the viewers who supported and loved me, and I had fun filming. Basically, the atmosphere of the filming set itself was very good, but the drama received a lot of love, so I was able to work even harder to make the last filming. Thank you again.
▶ ‘Business Proposal’ is based on a webtoon and web novel. When you were offered to direct, what did you think about and what did you focus on while adapting?
Web novels, webtoons, and dramas have slightly different characteristics of the platform they access and the main users, so I thought that they should stick to the grammar of the drama a little more. So, how to create a story frame that viewers can comfortably accept was the key to early dramatization. We tried to give a more realistic character and the relationship between characters, not just a romance with a comical touch. I think you can see that it was a place for viewers to worry about being immersed in the characters.
▶ Is there a scene that you paid the most attention to while adapting the original?
We tried to keep the flow differentiated from the original, but maintain the direction that did not miss the charm of the original. For example, the first confrontation scene between Tae-mu and Hari tried to maintain the fun of the original while keeping the line that viewers wouldn’t be overestimated. So, we discussed, adapted, and filmed not only dialogues and prints suitable for the situation, but also appropriate acting tones and styling.
▶ Please tell us about how you adjusted the balance between romance and comics.
The two genres, romance, and comedy are actually more difficult to blend naturally than you think. There are cases where the balance is broken when one of them tries to bounce, so it’s really difficult to direct a Romcom. So, every time we filmed, what we asked all the actors to do was to ‘keep the tension, but don’t try to laugh while crossing the line’. Fortunately, the actors brought their characters to life so well, and they acted without missing out on the natural emotional lines of the script, so I think the balance was well controlled.
▶ I think the comical direction and CG of flying Archeopteryx have completed a different kind of fun. I’m curious about the directing intentions.
Since the original webtoon was a popular work, I decided that it would be impossible to erase its color. In that case, I thought about what it would be like to approach the viewers honestly. ‘This work is a fun work based on all kinds of romcom clichés’, ‘It is a fun story like a cartoon with the original webtoon’. We decided to approach it with the mindset of ‘I hope that the viewers will have fun without noticing the passing of time for an hour. It seems that the cartoonish CG production was part of this intention.
▶ I also think that the acting and chemistry of the actors raised the charm of the drama.
I would like to thank all the actors in common. Everyone worked hard with good posture and mind. He showed excellent character analysis without leaving out anyone, and he showed detailed acting worthy of that analysis. Also, I would like to thank the actors for taking the lead in making the scene atmosphere good. It showed without filtration that there can be good works because of good acting.
▶ When Tae-mu and Hari fell in love with each other is a hot topic among viewers. What do you think the director thinks?
I don’t really think there was a specific trigger. I think that at some point, without even knowing it, Tae mu and Hari felt their feelings of love seep into them. Rather, it was not a dramatic feeling of love at first sight, but rather a love that naturally stained each other, so it seems that viewers comfortably liked it. The writers created such emotional lines very naturally, and the actors expressed them well without missing out on them. If I had to choose one scene, I once told the actors that when they were filming a sequence in which Hari, who was drunk at the playground, confesses her secret to Tae mu, he thought this scene was an important turning point in the play.
▶ Lastly, please say hello to the viewers who loved ‘Business Proposal’.
I thought a lot about what kind of work to approach the viewers. And I feel very relieved because the goal of ‘Let’s present a fun and enjoyable time’ seems to have been achieved to some extent. I am satisfied as a director by giving a little joy to those who see this work. I feel once again the fact that the popular art of drama can blossom only when there is warm sunlight and water, the love of viewers. Thank you so much.