“A Shop for Killers” might appear to be an action drama, but the 8-part series is about the story of a lonely girl growing up, the choices various characters make and their consequences, which should give strength to the audience in enduring hardships, according to director Lee Kwon and the actor who portrayed the girl, Kim Hye-jun.
Disney+ original "A Shop for Killers" narrates the story of Jung Ji-an (played by Kim Hye-jun), who is targeted by a slew of killers after her uncle, an online weapon shop operator, dies mysteriously. The drama series is based on the novel "The Killer's Shopping Mall," written by Kang Ji-young.
Lee Kwon, who previously directed hit Korean thriller works such as "Door Lock (2018)" and "Save Me 2 (2019)," said via the action-packed series, he aimed to shed light on the growth story of Jung.
"On the surface, 'A Shop for Killers' appears to be an action drama, but in reality, it's a coming-of-age drama series," said Lee, during an interview held with reporters in Seoul on Wednesday.
Lee said one of the main reasons he chose to dramatize the novel is because he was drawn to the novel's narrative of Jung Ji-an, who is left to face the world on her own from a young age after her parents -- in addition to her trusted guardian -- are killed inexplicably.
"The series of isolation and the sudden dangers that Ji-an faces, along with the consequences of numerous choices she has to make on her own, and the resulting sense of responsibility (she is coerced to bear), compelled me to dramatize the novel," said Lee.
Through the depiction of Ji-an's tumultuous growth story, Lee said he wanted to convey the message that growth is not about being protected, but about taking responsibilities and making decisions for oneself.
"The moments in the drama series where Ji-an makes her own choices are so precious," he said.
Actor Kim Hye-jun, who played Ji-an in the drama series, said the character's charm also compelled her to play the role.
"I was attracted to the fact that Ji-an is given the choice to make extraordinary choices. I was also attracted to Ji-an, as she is a type of character who possesses remarkableness within an ordinary appearance," said Kim, during an interview held with reporters in Seoul on Wednesday.
Kim said she also put an effort into characterizing Ji-an's idiosyncratic appearance. In the drama series, Ji-an is represented via her distinguishing set of green and red sweats, and her short hair.
"Regarding the attire, I thought it would be nice if Ji-an had a distinctive outfit that comes to mind when thinking about her character. I aimed to convey a sense of strength through the bold colors of red and green," added Kim.
Kim said in addition to Ji-an, "A Shop for Killers" features a slew of attractive characters, who portray incredible strength during extreme situations, and, through their actions, the audience could be motivated to endure hardships.
"The drama series features flashy actions and entertaining characters, but the essence of the drama series lies in the fact that everyone has something they are striving to protect. I believe the audience watching it could gain courage from that," said Kim.
All eight episodes of 'A Shop for Killers' are currently streaming on Disney+.