Yoon Shi Yoon And Hani Talk About The Unusual Subject Matter Of “You Raise Me Up” In Press Conference
“You Raise Me Up” is a comedy drama about Do Yong Shik (Yoon Shi Yoon), a man who develops erectile dysfunction in his 30s. When he goes to a urologist for treatment, his doctor happens to be Lee Ru Da (Hani), his first love.
The drama has garnered attention for its approach about a topic that is not often openly discussed on television, particularly in TV dramas. Yoon Shi Yoon said frankly, “I had a lot of concerns about how I’d pull this off, whether people would think of it as unrelatable, and how people would react to it. I think that this is the first time that a drama has had a concept like this. But when I saw the teaser, it was funny to the point where I thought, ‘I should have been more over-the-top.'”
Hani said, “We had a lot of fun while we were filming and I had a lot of high expectations for the project. Since we had so much filming, I thought that the audience would be able to enjoy it too. I’m really looking forward to seeing it from the audience’s perspective.”
Director Kim Jang Han said honestly, “Our drama is basically about self-confidence. It’s a drama about growing as a person, but the concept is such that the actors aren’t paying attention to its reception and putting more emphasis on the unusual subject matter. Of course, it’s hard not to pay attention to the concept. It’s not an ordinary subject to tackle. But I hope that people won’t remember it as just attention-seeking. I want the subject matter to be meaningful.”
Kim Jang Han also addressed the issue of ratings, given the drama’s subject matter, and said, “It’s essentially about a man who loses confidence in himself and develops erectile dysfunction and goes to a doctor for treatment. There’s a love triangle between him and the doctor, who was his first love in high school, and the doctor’s current boyfriend, who is played by Park Ki Woong. There were things in this basic concept that we could only do because we were on a streaming platform. I think those elements will feel fresh and new. Our project is rated 15+. Once you see, you’ll understand.”
Asked about similarities to their characters, Yoon Shi Yoon said, “It’s about 5-10 percent. Considering how the character appears in the teasers, it wouldn’t do for me to say that we’re alike. It would be embarrassing. But we’re similar on the inside. I was able to get a sense of vicarious satisfaction in the second half of the drama as well.”
He added on a more serious note, “We’re joking around like this because it’s easier to approach the topic this way. But it’s really a story about men my age who suddenly lose everything after taking their mental and physical health for granted. When something that you take for granted disappears, there’s a sense of panic. We joke around about ‘standing up,’ but it’s not really about him curing his erectile dysfunction. It’s about him learning to stand on his own feet, about learning to face his problems head-on. It’s a cute, funny, lighthearted drama.”
There is a scene in the drama when Do Yong Shik is being examined at the urologist and his rear is exposed. “I thought a lot about how to overcome the sense of embarrassment in those scenes,” the director said. “It could be embarrassing, but I wanted it to feel lighthearted instead.”
Yoon Shi Yoon said, “It’s definitely a subject that could be embarrassing. But it’s not something bad or shameful. It’s just kind of embarrassing to talk about. But we have to explain it. We tried hard to express the topic but there was a part of us that couldn’t do it. We had to work with the director about how to show this subject matter in an indirect, but funny and cute way.”
Talking about a swimming scene in the drama, Hani said, “There was once a drama where So Ji Sub looked really cool while swimming. I wanted to show that coolness in Lee Ru Da as well. I told the director, ‘I want to look cool like that.’ There are a lot of dramas where the woman is the one getting rescued, but Ru Da is the one who rescues Yong Shik. So I wanted to look cool like So Ji Sub.”
The director observed, “Most actresses want their swimming scenes to look beautiful, but Hani came up to me and said, ‘I want to look cool like So Ji Sub.’ She even researched different swimming styles.”
In conclusion, the director and actors spoke about the message they wanted their drama to convey. “Yoon Shi Yoon talked about the feeling of loss when something you took for granted is gone, but if you watch our drama until the end, you’ll see why these things are lost and how we can stop them from being lost or find them again,” Hani said. “I hope a lot of people can find comfort in our drama, and if there are those that are feeling beaten down, they can find it in themselves to stand up again.”
Yoon Shi Yoon said, “How can we possibly comfort people who are experiencing loss and sadness? That can feel embarrassing at times. But through the efforts of our cast and crew, we have created a story in which Yong Shik develops a sense of courage and stands up for himself. I think that the viewers will cheer him on as he grows. I believe that people can find the answers themselves. I hope that people cheer Yong Shik on and are moved by him that much more in the process.”
The director said, “Regardless of our drama, I regret that there’s so much conflict in our society these days. I think that the origin of the conflict is that our society has become intolerant of those who are different from themselves. If I connect things back to our drama, I want to say that the scars that Yong Shik carries are a little different from everyone else. I want to tell Yong Shik, ‘It’s okay to be a little different.’ Rather than a big takeaway message or a feeling of strength, I just want people to relate to the drama and have fun watching it. I hope that our society can become one that is broadly tolerant and embraces many things.”
“You Raise Me Up” is available on Viki. Check out the first episode below!