The writer of popular K-Drama The Penthouse, Kim Soon Ok, recently sat down for an interview with Sports Chosun.

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She began by explaining that she first planned out the drama with it being an original show with seasons on an OTT (over-the-top) online video service. She said that she had written it with the mindset that it could be her last project. So, she tried to portray many uncomfortable topics that she had wanted to deal with in an unconventional but honest way. This included the gap between the rich and poor, different classes of people due to real estate, domestic violence, school violence, and unfairness in education.

However, when it was decided that it would air on a public broadcast network, there were many restrictions. So, a few characters disappeared or were edited and I added comedic elements. Since the early outline of the plot didn’t change, some people criticized it by saying that it was too sensational and strong. That’s why I was nervous everyday, wondering if we would be able to finish the drama.

—Kim Soon Ok

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The Penthouse was, like several other K-Dramas, produced before its premiere which can sometimes cause some issues.

Since the drama was produced before it aired, we couldn’t edit the script while it was airing. There were articles and comments criticizing the show every day and I worried that the young cast might be hurt because of me. Thankfully, we were able to wrap up season one well, so I am very happy. I feel sorry about viewers feeling uncomfortable.

—Kim Soon Ok

She then went on to discuss the characters and actors of the show. She stated that she wanted to keep a gray-area between good and evil. “People have good and evil within them, no matter what form it takes. People can show different sides of themselves depending on the situation. With that said, I think that Yoon Hee [Eugene] is the most realistic character.

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The scene at the end of episode 15 still has people talking. It is the scene where Cheon Seo Jin (Kim So Yeon) plays the piano after the sudden death of her father. Soon Ok admits that it was like a gift to her drama and that she replayed it many times.

So Yeon wanted to truly bring out her emotions so she practiced for a few months and even played the piano herself in the scene. I love her surprising passion. She did such a great job that as a writer, I feel like I was carried by an actor’s performance.

—Kim Soon Ok

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She went on to praise the entire cast and crew and describe how important they all were.

The cast members perfectly pulled off their roles. I think that the biggest reason for the show’s success is the cast’s sacrifice, teamwork, and effort. I’m infinitely in debt to all the cast and staff, including Director Joo Dong Min. Whether their job was big or small, everyone was the best. I often wonder if I’ll be able to meet such a team again.

—Kim Soon Ok

Get ready for the second season of The Penthouse on February 19!