In a recent interview, scriptwriter Hwang Jin Young addressed the plagiarism rumors surrounding her K-Drama, My Dearest, for MBC.
Not too long after its premiere, My Dearest—dubbed one of the “10 Best K-Dramas of 2023“—was accused of being the “Korean remake” of Gone With The Wind. Some scenes were also accused of being an exact replication of other Western classics, like Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
At the time of the initial plagiarism accusations, Hwang claimed that the Western classic(s) served as an “inspiration.”
Following the grand finale, however, Hwang explained via an interview with Sports Chosun that the viewers are right to argue that the show is “more of a remake than an inspiration.”
When I first thought of writing a ‘wartime romance’ K-Drama set during the times of the Qing invasion of Joseon, I found it difficult to overcome the pressure—more so because of how unsuccessful that war was. I didn’t know if I could create something good enough to be scheduled into the broadcasting schedule. After careful consideration, though, I decided to use Gone With The Wind‘s approach to keeping it lighthearted and romantic.
When viewers think about Gone With The Wind, they don’t associate the work with war. They think of the passionate love story between Scarlett and Rhett. So I thought that, as a variation of Gone With The Wind, My Dearest could spark the interest in viewers—even if it’s set during a lost war. Frankly, I never wanted to hide the fact that I was inspired by Gone With The Wind.
— Hwang Jin Young
Hwang also admitted that some of the scenes in the earlier episodes of My Dearest were, in fact, copied from Gone With The Wind‘s most iconic scenes—like the first encounter of the lead characters.
It was intended for some of the scenes in the earlier episodes of the show to be similar to the signature scenes from Gone With The Wind (like Rhett meeting Ashley for the first time or Rhett watching Scarlett pursue Ashley). I purposely had them clustered in the beginning of the show, so that even the viewers who weren’t aware of the inspiration would notice, ‘Hey, this show reminds me of Gone With The Wind.’ I hoped that the similarities would make the viewers curious as to keep watching and seeing how My Dearest ends up being different from Gone With The Wind. To be honest, I thought it was clever and I almost wanted recognition for how well that was done.
But some viewers believed that to be plagiarism. It’s constructive criticism that I wholeheartedly accept.
— Hwang Jin Young
Calling her scriptwriting “insufficient,” Hwang apologized for the plagiarism controversies surrounding the show.
Looking back, I wonder if I should’ve revealed from the get-go that the show was based on Gone With The Wind. But I think that would’ve been too ‘spoiling.’
Regardless, I would like to clarify once again that My Dearest is indeed inspired by the great Gone With The Wind. And to the viewers who might have felt offended by the similarities caused by my insufficient ability to storytell, I extend my deepest apologies as the scriptwriter spearheading the content.
That being said, I hope more viewers can watch My Dearest and see how the plot deviates from its inspiration, focusing on My Dearest‘s unique setting, characters, and episodes.
— Hwang Jin Young
Koreans are not impressed by Hwang’s interview. Most are expressing disappointment at the scriptwriter’s “shamelessness.”
- “That’s what remakes are, though. Based on original works, but with interpretive tweaks. That’s what the writer did, and so it was a remake. Not an inspiration. Stealing another creator’s foundational work is not to be considered acceptable.”
- “Wow… Amazing.”
- “So shameless… She’s basically admitting that she plagiarized. LOL. How stupid. But then again, she was stupid enough to plagiarize a classic from the beginning to end, so…”
- “Constructive criticism that you wholeheartedly accept, huh?”
- “Wow… So this is how shameless a person needs to get in order to plagiarize.”
- [Irrelevant Comment]
- “Wow… Why is she so proud of the fact…?”
- “So… Is she saying that she did copy Gone With The Wind but that it is absolutely not a remake? If this ain’t plagiarism, then what is?”
- “People saying it was a remake was not supposed to be constructive criticism. We were literally calling you out for plagiarizing. It’s not something that you wholeheartedly accept… You need to be ashamed of yourself and reflecting on your mistakes.”
- “This level of confidence, though… LOL. I read the interview multiple times, and it doesn’t sound too far from ‘Oops, you all caught me! Sorry!’ Ha…”
Despite the accusations, My Dearest became a huge hit for MBC—with viewers anticipating major wins at the MBC Drama Awards.
Read more about female lead Ahn Eun Jin here.