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IU shows her many sides on Netflix’s ‘Persona’

Mar 28,2019
From left, producer Yoon Jong-shin, singer-actor Lee Ji-eun and directors Yim Pil-sung, Jeon Go-woon and Kim Jong-gwan talk about their short films at the press conference held Wednesday at Conrad Hotel, western Seoul. [YONHAP]
Lee Ji-eun, better known by her stage name IU, is not the only reason one should watch the upcoming Netflix original series “Persona.” The series features four different sides of Lee in four short films, all directed by four acclaimed directors. The whole project was organized by renowned singer-songwriter, Yoon Jong-shin, who says that the idea of the series came from thinking outside the box.

“It all started from a simple thought,” he said during a press conference held at Conrad Hotel in Yeouido, western Seoul. “I watched a short film one day, curious about the [meaning of a] story. The film was so fun that time flew by really fast. When I met with the director and asked him how he produced it, he told me, ‘you just make it happen, like an experiment.’ Then, I thought about how there are so many [short film] directors with brilliant ideas and people would actually enjoy watching them. We then thought of the idea that several directors should team up with one lead actor to make a series of short films. Lee Ji-eun then naturally popped into our mind, and we offered her the role.”

The first film in the project is “Love Set” directed by Lee Kyoung-mi. The film revolves around a young girl (Lee) who grows angry after her father tells her his new girlfriend is the girl’s English teacher, played by Hollywood star Bae Doo-na. The two then face off in a tennis match to settle a bet.

The second film titled “Collector” is a story that explores the relationship between Eun (Lee), a pretty, cold-hearted girl, and Jung-woo (Park Hae-soo), who is madly in love with her.

The director, Yim Pil-sung, explained that the story was motivated by the IU song “Jam Jam” (2017).

“The title of the film is actually part of the song’s lyric,” he said. “The story is about a man’s foolishness, which later turns into love.”

Director Jeon Go-woon‘s “Kiss Burn” is about revenge. After Hye-bok (Shim Dal-gi) returns home with many hickeys on her neck, her father scolds and physically abuses her. Her best friend, Han-na (Lee), plans her revenge against Hye-bok’s father.

“I always wanted to punish the abusive fathers of my high school friends, and after I saw Lee wearing a track suit [like the one I used to wear during high school,] I thought this was the chance,” she said. “I feel like Lee was a very similar character to who I am in real life.”

The last film in the project, “Walking at Night” by director Kim Jong-gwan, offers the calmest plot out of all four. The director explained that he wanted to reflect the meaning of time and space in “a place that lies between dream and death.” The story is about a lover’s loneliness.

Lee, who thought that this project would not get so much attention in the beginning, said that she was very pleased to be part of the project.

“I think I was lucky because we all shared similar thoughts regarding [how each film should turn out,]” she said. “We understood each other well, and I was able to share my thoughts with them freely. I think we had a good collaboration.”

The series premieres April 5 on Netflix.

BY YEO YE-RIM [yeo.yerim@joongang.co.kr]


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