Scott Pilgrim Takes Off executive producer Eunyoung Choi
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
When you oversee a successful Japanese anime studio, it's not uncommon to constantly hear the question "What's next?"
That's how Science SARU CEO and co-founder Eunyoung Choi found herself in a brainstorming session with Netflix executives in 2020 soon after working with them on the series Japan Sinks: 2020. Sure enough, a title soon piqued her interest: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
By her own admission, Choi was not familiar with Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series. But she loved the Edgar Wright-directed 2010 cult classic feature film about a lovelorn indie-rock bassist (Michael Cera) literally fighting for his girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Choi knew it would make for an ideal anime series.
"Scott is a very realistic character who's relatable," she explains. "He's more of a friend than a superhero type. But he can go through a journey." The journey unfolds in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (premiering November 17 on Netflix), which is based on the comic book and features heavy ties to the film. It even reunites much of the original cast, including Cera, Winstead, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Brie Larson and Kieran Culkin. (Wright is an executive producer). Choi, also an EP, is evasive on the plot details — except to say "It's not the exact same [story] as the movie because there's a nice surprise. But you can enjoy it as a series."
The South Korea native started her career as an animator nearly twenty years ago before moving on to directing and producing. She co-founded Science SARU in 2013 and has since produced a slew of projects, including two episodes of the 2021 animated anthology Star Wars: Visions for Disney+. "I find myself more useful as a producer because I have all this experience," she says. "When I see an artist's animation work, I can go much deeper [on the feedback]. It gives me a lot of power and strength."
But when she's watching TV at home in Japan, Choi sticks to live-action fare. "To be honest," she says, "when I watch animation, it's too much about work and I don't want to think about it!" No wonder her Seven Shows list includes a few classics. Here are her picks:
Scenes from a Marriage (SVT, 1973)
I started to watch the original Swedish series because so many people talked about it after the  HBO remake. Ingmar Bergman directed it, but it's not a cinematic kind of set. It's more like a play, so it's very simple. And you're basically going deep into this couple [Liv Ullmann and Eriand Josephson] who have these conversations. They look perfect from the outside, and then you see what's going on from the inside. As a grown up, I appreciate that human kind of intimacy and maturity.
Future Boy Conan (NHK, 1978)
This is an anime series directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It's from the '70s, but I watched it as a child in the '80s, and it stayed in my mind for a very long time. The main character, Future Boy, has such a positive mindset, and no matter what, he just moved forward. It's not like he had superpowers, but he did have a strong physical strength. For example, he could jump from really high places. I wanted to jump like him! I wanted to run like him! But he was also this genuine person. Also, the aesthetic is so beautiful — there's a little bit of sci-fi and dystopia. It made me think about the future.
Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990-1991)
I remember every week I had to watch a new episode of this show. Like, I was obsessed. I remember thinking that, at first, everything looked normal. It wasn't this big city. Then something mysterious started to happen. There was a surreal kind of atmosphere, and this combination made me curious. And all the characters were amazing! You had Dale Cooper [Kyle MacLachlan], and all these people around him in this little town were really rich.
Band of Brothers (HBO, 2001)
I don't watch a lot of war movies. But Band of Brothers made me think about men and their brotherhood. And it convinced me that this brotherhood depended on how you bonded as a team — and who is leading the team. Otherwise, it could be disastrous. This felt very realistic to me. I could not believe that British actor Damian Lewis was playing this American soldier, and then he did Homeland!
The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008)
I didn't know much about Baltimore before watching this show. But this series was so realistic in how it showed the character dynamics and [how they] deal with crime of the city. I also liked the unique tempo and rhythm of the show.
Mad Men (AMC, 2007-2015)
I thought this would be just another 1960s-set show, but then you saw what was going on in the era. The characters and the stories made it so interesting! I didn't know how women were treated during that time, but you saw that the women in the office were treated very different from the men. And you see the struggle between the main character [Jon Hamm's Don Draper] and his wife, [January Jones's Betty Draper]. Everything was on their shoulders. I also loved the look of the show; it actually felt like the 1960s.
True Detective (HBO, 2014-Present)
I got into the first [season] because I loved the two actors [Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson]. They both played characters with such different personalities, and the story evolved with them. Seeing the location in the American south [Louisiana] . . . it made me so curious because I didn't know much about the area. It's kind of mysterious, and the show got philosophical, and yet there's also this darkness. That kind of atmosphere dragged me in.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.