tvN’s flagship series “Lovely Runner” aired its final episode on May 28, 2024, with viewership ratings reaching an all-time high of 5,7%. After the grand finale, hailed as one of the best “feel good” endings in K-Dramas, the production’s director Yoon Jong Ho spoke with Korean media outlet OSEN about the K-drama’s success and of its characters.

The director of 'Lovely Runner' was heavily criticized for his deplorable attitude towards lead actress Kim Hye Yoon K-Selection

The interview, however, had negative repercussions, with director Yoon facing strong critical backlash for the way he treated lead actress Kim Hye Yoon. Director Yoon said he said a lot of harsh things to Kim to push her to be her best self. Then he added that over time she went from feeling like a girl to feeling like a woman for him.

Here is Yoon Jong Ho’s statement:  » Kim Hye Yoon is of course a great actress, but I wanted to make sure there was a defining moment where Ryu Sun Jae couldn’t help but fall in love with her. So I thought Kim Hye Yoon should portray Sol better than she did until this episode. I focused on capturing her beauty best. I also said a lot of harsh things (about her appearance), but Kim Hye Yoon accepted the feedback and gradually became prettier. »

« For non-celebrities, appearance may change depending on care and effort. But for the actors, I think the beautification comes from having to be in front of the cameras and playing their characters all the time. At first, I saw Kim Hye Yoon as a girl figure. But she became so beautiful as she began to seem like a woman to me. It must have been difficult to portray the emotions of a 34-year-old in a 19-year-old’s body, but with the help of the screenwriter, Kim Hye Yoon understood the directions and did well. »

The director of 'Lovely Runner' was heavily criticized for his deplorable attitude towards lead actress Kim Hye Yoon K-Selection

The comments, deemed misogynistic in multiple ways, including downplaying Kim’s impact on the show based on her appearance, sparked anger in online communities.

  • “So he thinks his harsh comments made her prettier…?” I bet he said some really disgusting things. Seems like he’s not really good with words in general, though. »
  • “Argh, I want to give him a beating. Has he lost his mind or something? Are we living in the Joseon era? Who does he think he is to talk to his cast like this? »
  • “Ugh. »
  • “WTF? »
  • ” What is that… “
  • “In 2024…? I can’t believe I keep reading meaningless interviews like this. Damn, man. »
  • “Just keep your mouth shut.” »
  • “I don’t understand how some men’s logic leads them to formulate sentences that use ‘girl’ and ‘woman’ interchangeably. It’s disgusting. »
  • “What’s the matter with him?” »
  • “But Kim Hye Yoon carried the whole show on her shoulders, right? Yoon should have paid more attention to the lead actor’s acting direction. And then… If we’re talking about looks, it’s not like the lead actor is breathtaking either. »
  • “Kim Hye Yoon worked so hard on this show, and yet the production manager spits on her. »
  • “I read his entire interview and… he must have made life hell for the actresses on his set. I stand in solidarity with the actresses who had to endure it. I can’t believe people still think and talk like him while working in the hottest industry. »
  • “I really enjoyed the lead actress’ acting, though. What is happening to this director? »
  • “WTF…?” Is he on crack? I wanted to bring this up because every time I watched behind-the-scenes videos, I found that he was borderline rude and disrespectful towards Kim Hye Yoon during the direction. I didn’t, because I didn’t want to be attacked for being too sensitive, or anything. But it turns out he is indeed a moron. You should hear the way he talks to Kim. It’s disgusting. And he doesn’t show her any respect in this interview either. Kim worked hard on this show for over a year, and all he can say is how did he criticize her appearance? »
  • “So… He admits that he criticized Kim Hye Yoon’s appearance face to face and said harsh things about her face to pressure her to improve? And he thinks it’s thanks to him that Kim Hye Yoon looked better on screen throughout the episodes? What is this nonsense…? It’s wrong. »
  • “Wowza…”
  • “As a director, he wasn’t directing her on how to act but instead criticizing her for her appearance? AND he talks about it himself in an interview, as if he was right to do so? LOL. Without Kim Hye Yoon, the show wouldn’t have had half of its success. Pull yourself together, ahjussi. »

What do you think?