The Glory is one of Netflix‘s most popular K-Dramas to date. This thriller takes viewers on a woman’s harrowing quest for revenge against her high school bullies, who grew older…but not wiser.
The Glory has its share of shocking, on-screen moments, but what happened behind the scenes is just as intriguing. Here are 6 making-of facts that might change how you see The Glory.
1. It takes inspiration from true bullying stories.
In The Glory, heroine Moon Dong Eun (played by Song Hye Kyo) endures traumatic physical, emotional, and verbal assaults from her classmates. She then spends the next 18 years plotting her revenge.
In Kyushu, Japan, a boy endured similar school violence and plotted his own revenge. Like Dong Eun, he chose his schooling and career with vengeance in mind, specializing in chemistry. This gave him the knowledge and resources he needed to put his plan into action 12 years after he was bullied. The Kyushu man intended to kill forty of his ex-classmates and five ex-teachers at a class reunion he’d organized, but his revenge plot was foiled in the end. The same can’t be said for Dong Eun’s…
The Glory‘s bullying might seem extreme, unrealistic even, but according to a school commissioner in Korea, it’s far from fiction. Some school violence victims really have endured horrors like Dong Eun’s.
At that time, the victim suffered severe burns and a protruding tailbone. She required 5 to 6 weeks of hospitalization…The perpetrators also confessed that they had punished the victim by ripping off the scabs that had formed on her scars with their fingernails.
—Choi Woo Song, MBC Radio
2. The cast was screened for past bullying incidents. The director wasn’t.
In an ironic twist of fate, The Glory‘s production director Ahn Gil Ho admitted to being a perpetrator of school violence, after accusations hit the web. Through a statement released by his legal counsel, Ahn Gil Ho apologized for his past behavior.
This is Kim Mun Hui from law firm Jipyong, representing PD Ahn Gil Ho.
We would like to ask for your understanding that there was a delay between the initial report and us announcing our position.
Ahn Gil Ho had a girlfriend that he started dating while he was studying abroad in the Philippines in 1996. When he heard that his girlfriend became the target of teasing at school due to him, in the heat of the moment, he got emotional and caused an unforgettable wound on another person.
He is asking for forgiveness from those who were hurt by him. If he is provided the chance, he would like to meet the victim in person, or at the least contact them via phone call, to convey his apologies.
He also apologizes for causing controversy over his unfortunate incident.
— Kim Mun Hui
Unlike The Glory‘s PD, the cast was checked for a history of bullying, according to actress Cha Joo Young.
(The actors) were checked (if we had a history of bullying) before (filming) began.
— Cha Joo Young
3. The snake is real.
If you thought that snake in one of The Glory‘s most controversial scenes was pure computer graphics, you’re not alone.
In an interview, actress Kim Hieora revealed that “Sunbae-nim Snake” was actually on set with her during the scene where her character, Lee Sa Ra, hallucinates.
I was lying on my back when the staff said, ‘The snake’s here.’ They showed it to me and said, ‘Say hello. This is the co-star you’ll be acting with.’ It was a GIANT snake in a box. [. . .] I was told the snake has been on multiple shows, so it’s a sunbae-nim snake.
— Kim Hieora
4. A body double was (and was not) used for nude scenes.
The Glory took some heat for its NSFW scenes, including a nude scene featuring Cho Joon Young. The actress revealed that she used a body double for her hot tub scene, in which her back view was shown, but not for this topless scene.
In the scene with Jae Jun, when my back is showing, a body double was used. But in the scene where I am wearing a shirt and taking that off, that is my body. Yep, that part was my body. But in that scene, there was some editing done through CG.
— Cha Joo Young
5. The White Dress Controversy
Cha Joo Young’s character, airline stewardess Kim Hye Jeong, stirred up drama both in The Glory and online. In an interview with Allure, the actress revealed that a less revealing outfit than this white dress was originally prepared, but the director allegedly pushed her to wear this instead.
Netizens criticized the director for making Cha Joo Young uncomfortable. The actress has since defended the creative decision and clarified her previous statements about the white dress.
When I previously sighed, it was directed toward myself. We had prepared several outfits for the scene. I ultimately wore the (white dress) because after trying it on, I understood (why the director wanted me to wear it). It was a perfect scene to show Hye Jeong. But, I was concerned if the audience members would understand the tight-fitting dress, and therefore I sighed. We prepared a dress that we thought Lee Sa Ra would actually wear. I agreed (to wear the dress) after I realized that rather than being factual, it was more important for the scene to express Hye Jeong’s character.
— Cha Joo Young
6. Song Hye Kyo went on a grueling diet for Moon Dong Eun.
One of the most heartbreaking scenes is the one where Dong Eun reveals her scars to make her “headsman” understand just how much abuse she has survived. To prepare for the scene, Song Hye Kyo barely ate or drank in the days leading up to this shoot.
I dieted diligently for that scene. I only ate bananas for three days, and I didn’t even drink water the day before. Because of this, I felt like dying while putting on the special effect makeup. I think the scene came out better because my body was going through hardships.
— Song Hye Kyo
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