Series Mania: Korea’s ‘Mouse’ Hunts for Elusive Psychopathic Gene

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Choi Ran began her screen career writing scripts for documentaries, before changing direction and moving into fiction. Her episodic creations include “Black” and “God’s Gift: 14 Days,” which was remade in the U.S. as “Somewhere in Between” for ITV Studios America and ABC.

Choi’s latest effort, twenty-part thriller “Mouse” appears in the International Panorama section at Series Mania. Its dangerous premise is the question: what if it were possible to sort out psychopaths before they do any harm?

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“I’ve never been crazy about serial killers or murder as a genre, but I thought psychopaths were natural-born,” Choi told an audience at Series Mania headquarters in Lille this week. “As I researched further and realized it wasn’t so, that in part inspired the series and the idea for a supposed ‘psychopathic gene’.”
Series producers, Lee Kyungsun and Lee Hyunyoung, shared similar sentiments. “Choi Ran’s thoughts of wanting to see a psychopath feel emotional pain for his crimes and then make atonements, were, in fact, what we wanted as well,” said Lee Kyungsun.

The series is produced by Higround, Studio Invictus and CJ ENM. International distribution is handled through CJ ENM, which has already clocked up rights deals with streamers including Rakuten Viki, Viu, WeTV, and iQiyi.

Carlo Fasino, programmer for Asian series at the festival and host for Choi’s Q&A session, said that “Mouse” is a show not to be missed. “The series is a masterclass of cliffhangers and shocking scenes driving the narrative, rather than becoming cloying and gimmicky,” he said.

“While immersed in the screenplay, there were moments I’d imagined myself in some murder scenes and having nightmares of being hunted down by the killer,” said Choi.

“We took the obscure path to set a psychopath as the protagonist. Korean viewers are used to good-hearted main characters, but thankfully a likable and well-known actor like Lee Seung-gi as a police officer helped offset that unfamiliarity,” said Lee Hyunyoung.

Winners in the International Panorama section will be announced on Thursday.

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