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Netflix's 'The 8 Show' will navigate power structures within small society

Ryu Jun-yeol, Bae Sung-woo and star director Han speak about controversies related to private lives

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : May 10, 2024 - 15:46

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A scene from A scene from "The 8 Show," starring Ryu Jun-yeol (Netflix)

Director Han Jae-rim, who helmed numerous hit Korean flicks such as "The Face Reader" and "The King," said he aimed to depict the power dynamics that arise when people group together in his latest Netflix original series "The 8 Show" -- which re-imagines the popular Korean webtoon "Money Game" and its sequel "Pie Game."

The eight-part thriller series narrates the story of eight financially struggling individuals who take part in a mysterious show called "The 8 Show." On the show, the contestants must stay trapped in a building divided into eight floors. Each contestant receives more money the longer they decide to stay trapped.

"'The 8 Show' will explore the depths of human nature, rather than following the story of a heroic protagonist who ventures out to solve problems. Instead of portraying a simple dichotomy of good and evil, the series is more about the formation of power dynamics that arise when a small society is created," Han said during a press conference held in Jung-gu, Seoul, Friday.

"The 8 Show" marks Han's debut as a series director. Han said while directing his first series, he strategically employed cliffhangers and attempted to maintain a rapid narrative pace.

"When audiences come to watch movies, they sit in a theater and make a tacit promise not to stop watching until the movie is over," said Han.

"However, you watch a series at home, and at your leisure. Therefore, I thought it was important to keep the series fast-paced and to leave the audience wanting more at the end of each episode. I also capitalized on the long running time of each episode to show each contestant's characters in depth, allowing viewers to pick their favorites based on their preferences," he said.

Ryu Jun-yeol speaks during a press conference held in Jung-gu, Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap) Ryu Jun-yeol speaks during a press conference held in Jung-gu, Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, "The 8 Show" has been embroiled in a slew of controversies following a recent scandal surrounding a relationship between the series' male lead Ryu Jun-yeol and actor Han So-hee, as well as allegations regarding director Han's romantic relations with Lee Yul-eum, who appears as a participant in the "The 8 Show."

The series also marks Bae Sung-woo's first appearance as a main character in a series since being suspended from appearing on broadcasting channels such as KBS and MBC. Bae was fined 7 million won ($5,120) for driving under the influence in 2021.

"Unrelated to my intentions, numerous posts emerged on social media about my private life. Instead of addressing each one individually, I deemed it best to maintain silence and endure the criticism," said Ryu.

"(Dating and breakups) are personal matters, so I will speak about them again in a place where I can share personal stories," said Ryu.

Director Han denied the dating rumors involving him and Lee, who is 21 years younger than him.

"Staff may have thought that Lee and I were (in a romantic relationship) by seeing her come to the director's monitor and ask questions. I'm close with the actors here. But (the dating rumors) aren't true," said Han.

With the press conference marking Bae's first official appearance in public since being charged with a DUI, Bae formally apologized to the public regarding concerns raised about his inclusion as a main cast member in the series.

"This work was made with the sweat and effort of many people, including the director, actors and production team," said Bae.

"Although my presence here was a disruption, I worked with the earnest hope that it wouldn't be," said Bae.

All eight episodes of "The 8 Show" will be released on Netflix on May 17.