SINGAPORE - The Singapore skyline, Marina Bay Sands and Fullerton Hotel are just some of the familiar home-grown landmarks seen in an extended teaser shown during a press conference for the upcoming K-drama Little Women.
Inspired by the classic Louisa May Alcott novel of the same name, the drama stars Kim Go-eun and Wi Ha-joon - who were both spotted in Singapore multiple times in June and July to film the series.
In a virtual press conference held in Seoul on Monday, where questions from the media were not taken, the cast and director Kim Hee-won did not touch on filming overseas. But they did reveal five things to know about their upcoming drama, which premieres on Sept 3 on Netflix.
1. Money makes the world go round
The series revolves around the three Oh sisters: the eldest Oh In-ju (Kim), who desperately wants to give her family a better life; tenacious news reporter Oh In-kyung (Nam Ji-hyun); and prodigious art student Oh In-hye (Park Ji-hu). When they are unexpectedly embroiled in a case that involves 70 billion won (S$72.5 million) that goes missing, they face off against the wealthiest family in the nation.
And money is integral not just to the story but to the characters too. Kim (Yumi's Cells, 2021 to present), 31, says: "In-ju feels that you need money to express love, to buy someone food, give them shelter and good education."
Squid Game (2021) actor Wi, 31, adds that his character, a consultant from London who is also investigating the case of the missing money, similarly holds money in high regard. "He believes that money is the only thing that can change his life," he says.
2. Lightness in a dark story
While the story of three sisters who grew up in poverty facing off against a wealthy family can sometimes get dark, Kim assures audiences that there are still light moments and witty lines in the series. The script is by Chung Seo-kyung, known for writing director Park Chan-wook's films like The Handmaiden (2016) and Decision To Leave (2022).
"I'm not sure if she intended for In-ju to be funny, but a lot of funny moments came through when I was on set," Kim recalls with a laugh. "I'm glad that I get to lift the spirits of this drama with humour. Ha-joon wants to be funny too, but I told him no. The funny bits are mine. I'm not usually the greedy kind, but this time, I knew I wanted to be the funny one."
3. Sisterly love
The actresses who play the trio of sisters in the series showed their close bond during the press conference, where they often teased and joked with one another. Nam (100 Days My Prince, 2018) and Kim both seem to treat 18-year-old Park as their own little sister.
Nam, 26, says: "Go-eun and I both feel that Ji-hu really is so small and precious, she's really like the youngest baby of the family and she just makes people want to protect her."
Meanwhile, Park, who rose to fame with zombie drama All Of Us Are Dead (2022), understands In-hye, who feels suffocated by her sisters' love. "I definitely felt overwhelmed by the amount of attention I received from my older sisters," she jests.
4. Mysterious leading man
Much about Wi's character - who he is, how he is involved with the Oh family and his unfolding storyline with In-ju - is still unknown.
The actor says: "The more I read the script, the more mysterious the character felt to me. I kept wondering: 'What kind of upbringing must he have to form the strong convictions he has now? And what are his true intentions with regard to In-ju?'"
Wi, who is known for his muscular physique, adds: "He's not straightforwardly sexy, but he's sexy because of how mysterious he feels."
5. Reinterpreting a beloved story
While the K-drama's contemporary story about three sisters looks nothing like the original American novel published in 1868 about four sisters and their journey into womanhood, director Kim (Vincenzo, 2021) says it is a loose interpretation.
She says: "What if those little women (of the novel) came to South Korea? We started off from a reality that everyone can relate to and then it evolved into a big gigantic story with many twists and turns."
- Little Women premieres on Netflix on Sept 3.