SBS Secret Garden – “Forget about City Hall, you’ll find Lovers in Paris instead”
Original 10Asia article > Text: Lee Ga On ; Photographs: Chae Ki Won ; Editor: Jang Kyung Jin
After creating well-loved romantic series like ‘Lovers in Paris’, ‘Lovers in Prague’, ‘Lovers’, she went on to write profession-based dramas like ‘On Air’ and ‘City Hall’. Yes, writer Kim Eun Sook has returned. Here, ‘returned’ has double meanings. The writer has returned with new drama ‘Secret Garden’, and she has returned to write a romantic series, like in the past.
If you’re wondering whether Secret Garden will be similar to its predecessors, the answer is no.
Secret Garden is like the sprinkling of new seeds onto familiar ground.
Like SBS’s ‘Lovers in Paris’, ‘Secret Garden’ is also about a a difficult chaebol son falling in love with an ordinary girl with strong survival instincts, but in the latter the male and female leads exchange their souls. Thus, while it may look like an inevitable Cinderella story, it will eventually become a comic fantasy.
“The hardest but most charming part of this drama is the exchanging of souls,”
says leads Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won unanimously. And that, is the strongest weapon of Secret Garden — the reversal of roles between characters.
How the difficult and arrogant department store CEO Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin) transforms into a pathetic man; while Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), a hardworking stuntwoman who apologizes unreservedly on set, transforms from an ardent fan of Hallyu star Oska (Yoon Sang Hyun) into someone who stabs fingers rudely in front of her idol.
How Ju Won screams, “Gya~~ak!” as he clings on to his seat or when he bends backwards to flip out and reveal the label of his training suit before explaining, “I really want you to know this is very expensive”; while Ra Im gradually transforms into a ‘leg splaying dude’ (jjeok beol nam).
So how did these seemingly absurd scenes come about?
“We can’t veer too far off from reality, so we weaved intriguing elements into what people commonly perceive.”
explains writer Kim Eun Sook, using visual imagery in her words.
Place your hand on your chest.
Ok, what for?
You become the director.
Director — me?? Cool! So I’ll just become a director like this?
These are just some of the lines in the script, delivered with lightning speed to and fro, as if in a ping pong match, emphasizing the light, nimble pace of the drama.
In Honor of “Lovers in Paris”
In the writer’s previous work, SBS drama ‘City Hall’, the place was used as a background against which a story about politics unfolded, whereas Secret Garden is of a totally different genre and feel altogether — “This time I planned to write it in an amusing style.” This being her 6th drama, she “worries whether the drama can both garner ratings yet be a drama that benefits the world.”
She continues, “I abandoned much of my desire to write something with the depth of ‘City Hall’, I just want to write a easy, light drama for the whole family to enjoy on weekends,” explaining the change in her writing direction. It remains to be seen whether this path is for the better or worse.
Regarding the ‘exchange of souls’, the writer herself loves its advantages “which is a rich source of dialogue”, showing how much the drama depends on this theme. “The first meeting between Ju Won and Ra Im will happen during episode 1~2, anything more I say will be spoilers” she says, and from the way she tries not to reveal even this simple scene (or isn’t it?), we can see how Secret Garden will begin with strong imaginative narrative.”
“Hopefully, this drama manages to become as famous as what Lovers in Paris did,” says writer Kim Eun Sook. Will she realise her dream? Stay tuned and find out every Saturday and Sunday night, 9.50pm at SBS TV.
Secret Garden press conference photos are by Chae Ki Won and can be viewed as a slideshow at the 10Asia photo gallery