‘Dog Days’ explores human connection through feel-good canine stories

Bomi Yoon

From left, director Kim Deok-min, actors Tang Jun-sang, Lee Hyun-woo, Yoo Hae-jin, Kim Yun-jin, Yoon Chae-na, Youn Yuh-jung and Jung Sung-hwa pose during a press conference for the film “Dog Days,” at a theater in Yongsan District, Wednesday. Courtesy of CJ ENM

From left, director Kim Deok-min, actors Tang Jun-sang, Lee Hyun-woo, Yoo Hae-jin, Kim Yun-jin, Yoon Chae-na, Youn Yuh-jung and Jung Sung-hwa pose during a press conference for the film “Dog Days,” at a theater in Yongsan District, Wednesday. Courtesy of CJ ENM

By Lee Gyu-lee

The upcoming film “Dog Days” is set to portray heartwarming and adorable stories centering around the bonds between pets and humans. The director and cast members said the film will explore the impact of these connections on human relationships.

The comedy-drama film, set to hit local theaters on Feb. 7, follows an anthology of different people finding happiness in life by raising dogs. Min-sang (Yoo Hae-jin), an unmarried man who is not particularly fond of dogs, finds himself in a strained relationship with his tenant, veterinarian Jin-young (Kim Seo-hyung). Their dynamic becomes contentious as the dogs from the veterinary clinic create chaos in the building Min-sang has worked hard to acquire.

Min-seo (Youn Yuh-jung) is a world-renowned architect, who lives alone with her dog, Wanda, after her husband passed away. She forms an unlikely relationship with a Gen Z delivery man, Jin-woo (Tang Jun-sang) when she loses her dog.

Sun-yong (Jung Sung-hwa) and Jeong-ah (Kim Yun-jin), a married couple, recently adopted a child. While struggling to settle as a new family, they unexpectedly welcome a stray dog. Meanwhile, band leader Hyeon (Lee Hyun-woo), who has been having a tough time taking care of his girlfriend’s dog, Sting, alone, comes across his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend Daniel (Daniel Henney) who shows up to see Sting.

The film, inspired by Ericka Waller’s novel of the same name, is the directorial debut of filmmaker Kim Deok-min.

A scene from the film “Dog Days' / Courtesy of CJ ENM

A scene from the film “Dog Days” / Courtesy of CJ ENM

“At first, actor Kim Yun-jin read the novel during a flight and found it very interesting. So she looked for a production company to create it in Korea, bringing it up to JK Film. And that’s how this project began,” the director said during a press conference for the film at a theater in Yongsan District, Seoul, Wednesday.

“When I first got the script, two words came to mind: relationships and growth. The characters each experience a bit of growth from the start to the end. In this process, the most crucial element is the human relationships. Rather than superficial relationships, I wanted to tell a story about people subtly growing within their everyday relationships.”

The movie fills its 120 minutes with different breeds of canines, with three of them as the main characters. The director shared he went through a meticulous process to cast the dogs.

“The casting process for the dogs involved consultations with professional trainers. We met with various dogs, had auditions with them, and spent a significant amount of time with dog-related social club members. Then, we finally selected the three friends,” he said.

A scene from the film “Dog Days,' which will be released, Feb. 7 / Courtesy of CJ ENM

A scene from the film “Dog Days,” which will be released, Feb. 7 / Courtesy of CJ ENM

“While filming, I heard that the timing of dogs is different from humans. So, we had to keep the cameras rolling and patiently wait until our furry friends delivered the performance we wanted. Thanks to trainers, who built trust with the dogs, we were able to maintain a safe and enjoyable filming environment without any incidents.”

Youn portrays the character of an architect who chooses to isolate herself in a spacious house with her dog, despite her successful career. The storyline takes a turn when she crosses paths with Jin-woo, a young delivery man. Despite the generation gap, the two characters form a friendship that transcends their differences.

The actor noted she shares similarities with the character.

“When I first received the script, the character’s name was also written as Youn Yuh-jung, which felt like pressure on me to take the role … Since they tried to pressure me, I feel they tried to make the character similar to me. I didn’t have any problem playing my character as she had a similar personality as me,” she said, adding it was a fresh experience to work closely with her co-star, Tang.

“I’ve been in the industry for a long time, but acting with someone as young as Tang was a first. It was an experience I could have because of my long career as an actor. It was truly an honor.”

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