Netflix offers a look behind the scenes like never before
Watching the members of Blackpink on stage, pulling off the toughest dance moves and hitting the highest notes with poise and flair, makes it easy to forget that these global superstars are subject to the same highs and lows as anyone else. But with Netflix’s latest documentary “Blackpink: Light Up The Sky,” viewers will be reminded that while the four young women are enjoying wild success and glamor, they also like to eat, relax and love.
The original documentary film “Blackpink: Light Up The Sky” will be released on Netflix in 190 countries on Wednesday, becoming the first-ever Netflix documentary on a K-pop band. Directed by Caroline Suh, who previously worked on the popular Netflix series “Salt Fat Acid Heat” (2018), “Light Up The Sky” is a chance for fans to catch never-before-seen interviews and footage of Blackpink starting from day one of auditions, all the way to smashing record after record.
“This is the story of how we became the Blackpink that we are today,” said member Rose during an online press conference held on Tuesday afternoon prior to the premiere of the film. Director Suh joined through an online video call from the United States due to Covid-19.
“Light Up The Sky” follows the story of how four young teenage girls who auditioned for YG Entertainment were put together as a team and debuted as one of the most anticipated groups to hit the K-pop scene in 2016.
“We began shooting this documentary wanting to show a more honest side of ourselves than before,” said Jisoo. “So there wasn’t any pressure in revealing those sides. I think it was actually a time for us to listen to each other’s stories while we were shooting and realize once again how precious we are to each other. We started shooting wanting to show more to [official fan club] Blink, but it came out to be a time that we really needed for each other.”
According to director Suh, the documentary is all about how Blackpink came together as a group, and how the members stuck together to become “the phenomena” they are today. Prior to working on the documentary, Suh had no interest in K-pop. It was her nephew that enlightened her about Blackpink — which immediately led to her watching TV programs about the group, listening to its music and finding out as much as she could. Eventually the idea for a documentary was born. Suh recalled the first time she encountered the group, backstage at the Coachella Festival last year.
“It was such a pleasure to work with them,” said Suh. “They have spent so much time together that they look like sisters — like family. I hope that people get to see the more personal, individual sides of the members through this documentary.”
Blackpink’s agency YG Entertainment provided all the archived footage of the group, such as members when they were trainees and never-before-seen clips. The documentary also contains videos of members from their childhoods as well as newly shot interviews with the Netflix production team.
“We actually got to face the sides of ourselves that even we had forgotten,” said Jennie. “It felt so good to face those moments ourselves. We’ve showed the glamorous sides of Blackpink ever since our debut, but we wanted to show something a little more ordinary — something friendlier. I think that Blink would also have waited for this moment.”
Ahead of the documentary’s release, Blackpink has been keeping a low profile when it comes to TV appearances and interviews. This created an air of secrecy, much of which was revealed in the documentary by producer Teddy. Teddy has penned most of the band’s biggest hits including “Whistle” (2016), “Boombayah” (2016), “Playing with Fire” (2016), “As If It’s Your Last” (2017), “Ddu-du Ddu-du” (2018), “Kill This Love” (2019) and the tracks “How You Like That,” “Ice Cream,” “Lovesick Girls” and “Bet You Wanna” off of the band’s first full-length album “The Album”(2020).
“We haven’t seen the documentary either, but I’m most curious about what Teddy would have said about us,” said Jisoo. “He knows us more than we do. He’s always there with us and he can bring out the best in us just by listening to what we say to each other and then give us a better direction. He’s like the fifth member of Blackpink.”
Blackpink's success is undeniable.
It debuted in June 2016 with EP "Square One," which topped the Billboard World Chart in August that year. Its second EP "Square Two," containing the megahit "Playing With Fire," topped the Billboard World Digital Singles that same year. In 2018, "Ddu-du Ddu-du" sat at No. 55 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, marking the highest ever for any K-pop girl group. It also has the highest-ranking album for any K-pop girl group ever. "The Album" reached the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart after its release on Oct. 2. This year Blackpink also became the K-pop artist with the highest number of subscribers on YouTube and was the first-ever K-pop band to perform at the Coachella Festival.
“We all had a clear idea of our goal as Blackpink, and we all stuck together to make sure that not even one of us felt struck down,” Jennie. “But if I could go back, I want to tell myself to enjoy it more — even when I’m trying. Back then, the monthly tests and everything I had right in front of me kept me so tense and I couldn’t enjoy any of it. But we think back and say that we had so much fun and became closer to each other thanks to those times. We’re here now because of the times we spent then.”
Lisa added a message of support for hopeful stars striving to be the next Blackpink.
“It’s important to find what you like. Always be confident, cherish yourself and love yourself,” she said.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]