The mere announcement of Suzy and Yang Se-jong joining the cast of Doona! created an instant buzz. Suzy, who continuously honed her acting prowess through roles in Dream High, Architecture 101, Uncontrollably Fond, and Anna, now embodies the alluring Lee Doona, a role seemingly tailored for her.
During the press conference last Wednesday, Oct. 18, Suzy revealed that it was her first time doing a role like Lee Doona's, a South Korean idol, and it made her heart flutter. (ICYD: Suzy was also an idol herself. She was a member of the girl group Miss A.)
"There was this particular mood and vibe that was unique to Doona and I was drawn to the character because it was a character [that] I've never played before. And I also had some parts where I really felt for the character which tapped my curiosity. When I got the script, my heart was really fluttering and I would sometimes scream as I was reading the script," Suzy said.
"(The role) resonated deeply, making me feel for Doona's layered emotions," she added.
It is the same story for Se-jong who was also ecstatic when he got the script. The series was his comeback drama after serving in the military.
"When I have the script for Doona! first of all, I was also very excited, my heart was also pounding [as] this might be the last drama series I ever to play a character like Won-Jun who at his very early 20's so I decided to come on board," the Still 17 star said.
Doona! follows the story of Lee Doona, a retired K-pop idol who moved into a shared house near a university town. Lee Won-jun, a university student who only thinks about his family, left home to live near his school to shorten his commute hours. Doona meets Won-jun one casual day and mistook him for an obsessive fan. Later, they end up getting comfortable with each other.
'Perfect fit for the roles'
Talking about the casting, Director Lee Jung-hyo, who is also known for gems like Crash Landing on You and Romance Is a Bonus Book, shared how he was impressed by Suzy's talents and that he believed she was an unparalleled choice for the lead character.
"After having agreed to take on Doona!, I thought, 'Who would be able to dance, sing, and act at the same time? Wouldn’t Suzy be the only person?' Suzy helped me greatly in directing the part about idols, but while filming, I hoped that viewers would view Suzy as the actress who played the role of Lee Doona, and not Lee Doona of Suzy, a former idol," he said.
Director Lee was also impressed by Yang Se-jong, who is celebrated for his roles in Dr. Romantic and Still 17. Reflecting on his casting choice, he said, "Given Yang Se-jong's past portrayals, he was the perfect embodiment of Won-jun—pure and earnest."
A drama that evokes memories and emotions of first love
Suzy expressed her desire for global viewers to understand and empathize with her character, Doona.
"When I thought of Doona, she was like someone who really can't express what she is feeling," Suzy said. "People would misunderstand her in the beginning but as they watch the show, they will get to understand this person."
Se-jong, for his part, wants the drama to capture the feeling of real love, the kind of love that everyone experiences at some point in their lives.
"I would recommend this to viewers who want to reminisce about the essence of the truly realistic love or the first love that everyone would have experienced, and those who want to remember the transformations they went through because of such love," Se-jong said.
"It is fun to watch and filled with delicate feelings, and the narratives of all characters vary, which further adds more interesting factors. I hope viewers will enjoy Doona! and be healed by watching the series," the actor added.
Beyond a mere romantic saga, Doona! resonates with the clumsiness and awkwardness of young love. Director Lee hopes the series evokes memories of bygone days, replete with vulnerabilities, first love, and youthful transformations.
Doona! is now streaming on Netflix.