Although the K-drama Sweet Home is based on a popular Korean webtoon, the character played by actress Lee Si-young in the show doesn’t exist in its original source.
She plays the role Seo I-kyung, a firefighter and a former special forces soldier in the series.
Given that Sweet Home’s premise centres on a scenario where humans are suddenly turning into monsters, it makes sense to have characters who can fight – and do that really well – to add on to the action element within the show’s 10 episodes.
In it, viewers get to see how I-kyung, along with a few other main characters, form a strong front to keep the monsters from invading the apartment they live in.
And at the same time, being vigilant about who – among them – will turn into a monster next.
During a video interview, Lee told StarLifestyle that she views her character as an important addition to the story.
“Anyone can be caught in a disaster, regardless of their age, gender and positions. And a person who might be considered weak – a woman, a child – can rise up to power through a disaster, ” she said.
“With I-kyung, I wanted to convey the message that women have the strength and power to protect the ones they love.
“I felt like this was an important point – that everyone has something within them, that they could bring and amplify, to be strong.
“I feel the idea of a female character who is very strong and powerful, and gets through a disaster is something that can resonate with a lot of the audience members.”
She continued: “As I-kyung is a firefighter, she takes on the role of a leader and protects others.”
The 38-year-old is no stranger to action scenes or playing strong female characters.
In the 2017 series Lookout, Lee plays a wrongly accused cop who goes to great lengths to prove her innocence. The actress shot daring scenes such as jumping off a three-floor building with no safety net and whizzing through traffic on a motorbike.
Lee breaks the image of typical female Koreans in real life too.
On her profile it is stated that the actress competed in female amateur boxing championships in the year 2011 and 2012, even winning some of the fights.
Nonetheless, the Liver Or Die star admitted executing the action sequences in Sweet Home were both different and difficult than anything she’s done before.
One reason being, her character has to fight with monsters instead of humans.
“As monsters are several times stronger and more destructive than humans, the reaction required in action scenes here are completely different, ” she recalled.
To ensure her character is believable when she takes on the monsters, Lee honed in on the moves, practising and working with a martial arts action director for six months prior to shooting Sweet Home. Even on set, she kept up with the training.
She said: “I had to do a lot of weight training to build muscle because there were action scenes where parts of my body were exposed.
“I became a lot stronger than I expected, and that helped me tremendously with the action scenes.”
Like many audiences who sped through the series – making Sweet Home among the top 10 most viewed shows in 70 countries worldwide within four days of its release on Netflix – Lee hopes there will be more seasons of Sweet Home and that her character will be in it.
“When Director Lee Eung-bok told me, he wanted to create a never-before-seen action sequences featuring a female character, I was immediately drawn to that aspect.
“I thought I would be able to create an amazing and spectacular action series with Director Lee.
“Also, I thought to myself that with all the creators and cast involved in Sweet Home, there is a very high possibility of the story continuing on to maybe Season Two or Season Three.
“So, that was another thing that I had great hopes for, ” Lee shared on the reasons why she said agreed to star in Sweet Home.
While the characters Lee brings to life in most of her recent projects are serious folks, many of her fans know the actress herself is actually far from serious, well, judging by all the hilarious TikTok videos she has posted that is.
According to Lee, she’s a fan of the comedy genre.
“Comedy is something that I am always willing to work on. In fact, way before in my career, I did a lot of comic roles and I really loved doing that.
“However, I think after I began to seriously work out, I started to take on the stronger and more action-packed roles. So, now I do TikTok as a way to sort of release my comedy side, ” she explained.
“And, I’m ready at any time to take part in a project that falls in the comedy genre.
“I’ve always been a fan of the action genre as well as the comedy genre. I personally don’t think there’s too big of a difference between the two. I love them both.”
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