The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] When ‘comedy freak’ filmmaker makes rom-com '30 Days’

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Oct. 2, 2023 - 16:01

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Director Nam Dae-jung (MindMark) Director Nam Dae-jung (MindMark)

Director Nam Dae-jung who directed comedy flicks “The Last Ride" (2016) and “Homme Fatale” (2019), has returned with “30 Days,” a rom-com featuring a couple with amnesia going through a comical divorce.

Nam said he watched the film hundreds of times while editing.

“The film ended shooting in February this year. Since then until the opening of the film, I think I’ve watched the film more than 600 times while editing. This is because, for comedy films, the timing of each frame is really important to give the audience a certain point to laugh,” Nam told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Monday.

"30 Days" revolves around Jung-yeol (Kang Ha-neul), an intelligent lawyer, and his wife Nara (Jung So-min), a passionate film producer. Despite their initial cute, idyllic newlywed life, the quirks that made them fall in love with each other eventually drive nerdy Jung-yeol and quick-tempered Nara apart.

“30 Days” (MindMark) “30 Days” (MindMark)

Kang and Jung, both 34, reunited on screen for the first time since the 2015 hit film “Twenty.”

“It’s not that I intended to put the couple together, but I had already chosen Kang, who seemed just like Jung-yeol, as the male lead. Jung, who starred in my last film, was a good person to work with again, so I had no hesitation in casting them,” Nam said.

A self-described "comedy freak" who watches a wide range of comedy films from all around the world, Nam said he is the type of person who wants to make people around him laugh.

“When I’m together with my friends, I just cannot stand the silence. So I have a desire to break the silence with my humor," Nam said.

"Such personality makes me focus on making comedy films, which I can do better than any other genre such as horror or drama. I see that as my strength.”

Some of his personal favorites are works of Adam Sandler and Scarlett Johansson’s “Rough Night” (2017).

In "30 Days," several comical scenes are drawn from his own experience, he said.

“There is a point in the film when Jung-yeol becomes pessimistic and talks to Nara in a very sarcastic way, like saying ‘What do I know about it? I’m just a jobless person’ to every question that Nara asks. That’s actually me in the past, in agony, writing the scenario when the investment or casting didn’t go well,” said Nam, laughing.

Although the scenes are dramatized, he believes they are still very relatable.

“Don’t you think that you'd have that one friend who wants to go out but has an exam tomorrow, so he decides to bring all his textbooks and starts to read in the pub? You may also have a friend whose eyes are glued to the smartphone screen for the whole time he’s with you but you don’t feel uncomfortable about it," Nam said.

“Or is it just me? Maybe I have lived a comedylike life as a comedy film director."

“30 Days” hits theaters on Oct. 3.