Coupang Play says it will release a director’s cut of Anna following director Lee Joo-Young’s claims that the Korean streaming service had edited the series without her consent.
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Anna, which stars Bae Suzy in its titular role, follows a woman who endangers her own life after a small lie leads her to live out someone else’s life. Its director Lee Joo-Young is known for her work on films like On the Other Side of You and A Single Rider.
On August 2, Lee filed a formal complaint through a law firm, claiming the platform made major edits to the series’ final product without her prior consent. In her complaint, she alleged the streamer had cut the length of the series from the initial eight to the existing six episodes and tampered with the series’ structure, “which interfered with the show’s narrative, filming, editing and intention”. The version of Anna that was released by the streaming service was, she claimed, “unrecognisable” from what she had envisioned.
In a statement published a day after her allegations, according to Korea JoongAng Daily, Coupang Play said that it had initially been “very supportive” of Lee and the production team’s plans, only to later find out that the “director’s editing direction became significantly different from what was initially agreed with us.”
Coupang Play also claimed that it had requested “multiple times” that Lee edit the show in accordance to what had been initially agreed upon, “however, the director refused to do so over several months.”
“With the consent of the producer and in accordance with the rights stipulated in the contract, Coupang Play edited the work to match the original production intent,” the company wrote. “As a result, the series became a great hit and received high praise from the viewers.”
However, in order to show that the company still “respects the director’s editing direction”, Coupang Play announced it would release an eight-episode director’s cut of the series this month as soon as it has been reviewed by the Korea Media Ratings Board.
Since the publication of Coupang Play’s statement, six other staff members who participated in the creation of Anna have since spoken out in support of the series’ director, per a report today (August 4) from Korea JoongAng Daily.
A statement jointly issued by staff members Lee Ui-tae, Jung Hee-sung, Lee Jae-wook, Park Beom-joon, Kim Jung-hoon and Park Joo-kang expressed their solidarity with Lee Joo-young, alleging that their “completed work was unilaterally altered by Coupang Play” and requesting the service “erase their names from the credits”.
“It is the highest form of discourtesy for the production team to use our names in a work [which was altered without our consent],” their statement read.
Coupang Play has yet to respond to this new statement.