“Strangers From Hell” Director On Working With Im Siwan And Lee Dong Wook, Heading His First Drama, And More

“Strangers From Hell” director Lee Chang Hee talked about his experience working on his first drama, what to expect from the first broadcast, and more!

The upcoming mystery thriller tells the story of a young man who moves up to Seoul and experiences a hell created by others while living in a strange dormitory. It stars Im SiwanLee Dong Wook, Lee Jung Eun, Lee Hyun Wook, Park Jong Hwan, and Lee Joong Ok.

The drama is led by director Lee Chang Hee, who has previously won the Top Excellence award at the 10th Annual Mise En Scène Short Film Festival for his film “Den” (literal translation) and has received praise for his 2018 movie “The Vanished.” Viewers are highly anticipating what kind of excitement he will bring to television screens in his collaboration with OCN.

Lee Chang Hee discussed his upcoming work in an interview with media outlet Dailian. Regarding how he came to direct “Strangers From Hell,” he stated, “It’s a given as a director to want to make works from fun and interesting stories. I found the original webtoon to be interesting, and I got excited to embody it through video. There was no need to hesitate ⁠— I got the offer and accepted it the next day. I’m working hard to not undermine the original work, but to also tell a similar yet different story. I’d like to create a story that will be fun for both those who have read the webtoon and those who have not.”

“Strangers From Hell” will be Lee Chang Hee’s first time directing a drama. When asked about the differences between dramas and movies, he said, “If a movie is about developing the substance [of the story] in a given time, a drama is a project in which you can build empathy with a character over a longer period of time. The benefit of working in dramatic cinema is that you combine the strong points of a drama with the impact of a movie. I’m filming with the mindset that I’m making 10 interesting 1-hour movies or a movie with 10 climaxes.”

The director also provided his take on the drama’s central theme of “a hell created by strangers in a dormitory,” saying, “The setting of a dormitory is very ironic. It could be seen as a hopeful and romantic place, but in other regards, it can also be a place full of desperation, packed with the personal hells that modern people carry. The irony is maximized by [the fact that] a dormitory is a place where you share the same air with complete strangers. ‘Strangers From Hell’ is a work that started with the question: ‘In a place where you can most closely feel strangers breathing, what might happen if those strangers are murderers?'”

Lee Chang Hee also shared praise for the cast. “Objectively speaking, the actors don’t really look like their characters, but they do such a good job of portraying them. For example, Park Jong Hwan is actually an extremely handsome man. Im Siwan is able to get really immersed in a scene, and the sheer presence of Lee Dong Wook created great energy. Lee Jung Eun is like a magician who can turn any situation into a reality. While each of the characters’ individual appeals is strong, they shine even more when they’re together.”

The director stated, “‘Strangers From Hell’ is a drama that anyone can watch because of the charms provided by its psychological thrills and fresh characters. We put a lot of effort in both the acting and directing and worked hard to hook viewers in with every episode. I would appreciate it if you started this journey together with the main character Jong Woo, who closely interacts with the strangers of his dormitory.”

“Strangers From Hell” premieres August 31 at 10:30 p.m. KST. In the meantime, check out the latest preview here!

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Top Left Photo Credit: Xportsnews

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