“It’s Okay To Not Be Okay” Screenwriter Jo Yong Praises Cast, Picks Best Scenes
The writer of tvN’s “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” has shared some final thoughts upon the drama’s conclusion!
“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” premiered on June 20 and told the story of Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun), a community health worker at a psychiatric ward, and Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji), a children’s storybook writer with an antisocial personality disorder. The final episode aired on August 9.
In the interview, writer Jo Yong first thanked the viewers, the director, the cast, and staff members for their hard work. She then talked about how she’s been reacting to the drama’s popularity.
“I don’t know if the drama’s popularity has hit me yet,” Jo Yong said. “I didn’t exactly have a chance to experience it. I’ve been so busy packing all my things that I haven’t had the time to check out the reactions. I only heard that the drama is popular overseas on Netflix, so I felt relieved. Drama fans gifted me with a fountain pen, and I was so thankful I almost cried.”
She added, “In the drama, the fountain pen was used as a deadly weapon… I wanted to say that I’ll treasure this gift forever with gratitude, knowing that it’s something I’ll use with utmost determination in the future.”
Jo Yong talked about what kind of message she wanted to portray through the drama. “I’ve read somewhere that even someone who doesn’t experience many emotions can feel loneliness,” she explained. “The message is that if it’s human nature to search for any kind of warmth that will heal loneliness, one should never ignore the hand that is reaching out for that sense of warmth, whether it’s because they’re lonely, they want to be cured, or they’re becoming an adult.”
She continued, “I wanted to relay that message through the drama’s characters, who heal and grow through each other’s warmth.
” Jo Yong praised the actors for their impressive performance. She said, “The three actors who portrayed Kang Tae, Sang Tae, and Moon Young all did a perfect job becoming their characters, and they really did have fantastic chemistry. It’s to the point where I can’t imagine Kang Tae as someone other than Kim Soo Hyun.”
She then chose Kim Soo Hyun’s most memorable scene. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the scene at the end of the ninth episode where Kang Tae apologizes and breaks down crying. It was a scene that was painful even to write, and when I watched it, it was even more painful to the point that I almost panicked.” Jo Yong then said that she was touched by the level of versatility that the actors were able to show through the drama.
Jo Yong had nothing but praise for Oh Jung Se as well. She said, “I was very careful and worried because Sang Tae should not create misunderstandings or stereotypes about autism. I personally began to respect Oh Jung Se as a person after seeing him sincerely do his best to first understand those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and to get close with them.”
She continued, “Through that process, Oh Jung Se became Sang Tae, and Sang Tae became Oh Jung Se.” Jo Yong then named the scene where he read his storybook in front of his mother’s tree in the final episode as his best. She revealed that she cried a lot at that moment and knew that Oh Jung Se made the right creative decisions.
Jo Yong also talked about Seo Ye Ji’s performance. “Moon Young is a character where the actress especially goes through a lot of emotional hardships, but Seo Ye Ji brought Moon Young to life through her unique charisma and lovable charms,” she said.
Jo Yong chose Seo Ye Ji’s best scene as the one at the end of the sixth episode, where Moon Young dreams of her mother and ends up crying in the arms of Kang Tae. “I got goosebumps the entire time,” Jo Yong said. “It was the best performance. Seo Ye Ji got a lot of attention for her beauty, but I think her real charm is the loveliness within her low voice.”
Jo Yong continued to name some of her most favourite scenes. “I liked all the scenes where Kang Tae, Moon Young, and Sang Tae were bickering,” she began. “Out of those, I really love the sequence where Kang Tae dreams about Sang Tae as a regular employee who suddenly appears in between Kang Tae and Moon Young, who are wearing school uniforms.” Jo Yong explained that she loved how Sang Tae realized at that moment that his younger brother is happy when he is with Moon Young and how Sang Tae then welcomed Moon Young into their family.
Jo Yong explained the character Park Haeng Ja (Jang Young Nam) as well. “I needed a character with the duality to sympathize with everyone’s pain but to actually ridicule them for being weak,” she said. Jo Yong went on to describe how she wanted to portray that the villains are actually not as strong as they first appear.
She continued, “We thought that since the villains in fairy tales always leave defeated, the villains in our drama, which could be considered a great fairy tale about growth, should leave in that same manner. I wanted to put an emphasis on the idea that when the ‘weak’ ones unite and find the courage to square up against the villain, that dark shadow that once appeared so large can be defeated in one blow. I wanted to naturally convey that message about courage in the last story.”
To conclude, Jo Yong said, “It’s a drama that is warm like the heat between people. I hope that viewers will remember the drama as one that — although it’s a bit unfamiliar and strange — warms a part of your heart after watching it.”
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