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‘Yumi’s Cells’ production team looks back on first season

Poster images for the tvN drama (left) and webtoon of “Yumi’s Cells” (Tving, Naver Webtoon)
Poster images for the tvN drama (left) and webtoon of “Yumi’s Cells” (Tving, Naver Webtoon)

Lee Sang-youb, who directed the webtoon-based tvN drama “Yumi’s cells,” did not expect to receive many compliments about the show after the first season ended, knowing his adaption of the well-beloved original web comics might disappoint some fans.

“Because the original webtoon, written and drawn by author Lee Dong-gun, was such a popular work and loved by many readers, I worried a lot and had many things to consider. But I was happy to hear that the first season of ‘Yumi’s Cells’ was produced well in that it was very similar to the original web comics,” Lee said in an online interview with reporters Friday.

The webtoon has over 3.2 billion accumulated views and more than 5 million comments over the past five years.

The drama series, a combination of live-action and animated scenes, follows Yumi, a 30-something-year-old woman, navigating the ups and downs of everyday life and her 200 brain cells. The cells, which appear as animated human-like characters, control Yumi’s emotions, thoughts and actions.

When choosing the actor for the role of Yumi, Lee looked for a person with positive energy.

“During the process of searching for the actor to become our Yumi, we looked up actors of similar age as Yumi. The actor also needed to show the positive energy, which is the biggest charm of the original character. Kim Go-eun was our answer,” the director said.

During the cast’s first script reading, screenwriter Song Jae-jeong was amazed by the actors’ performance.

“I was not sure if the actors matched the characters until the first reading of the script. But I was impressed with both actors Kim Go-eun and Ahn Bo-hyun from the first episode until the end of season 1. I am honored and happy to work with such splendid actors,” Song added.

Song, who is widely recognized for working on hit dramas, including “W” and “Queen and I,” shared an interesting story about why she chose “Yumi’s Cells.”

“While working with the script of ‘Yumi’s Cells,’ I recognized that I wrote many projects that are closely related with stories about new dimensions. Like “Queen and I” and “Memories of the Alhambra,” I was drawn to “Yumi’s Cells,” because it also was a series involving different dimensions,” Song said.

The director, when asked what he thinks of the first season, said that the excellent performance came from amazing teamwork.

“When we formed the production team for the series, most of our staff were already big fans of the original webtoon. Some people told me that they might get angry if other people got to work on this project. Everyone was very eager to deliver the energy and the beautiful stories of the original ‘Yumi’s Cells’ and I think the viewers recognized our efforts,” Lee told The Korea Herald.

Though production was difficult, co-screenwriter Kim Yun-ju was certain that the viewers enjoyed the drama version.

“I was very nervous and felt pressure about how the viewers and fans would see our ‘Yumi’s Cells.’ But I felt relieved after watching myself enjoying the first episode,” Kim said.

Season 2 of “Yumi’s Cell” is currently in production with the date of release yet to be confirmed.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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