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[ENG TRANSL] Ahn Hyo Seop - Esquire Korea - Part 2 (2022)

July 21, 2022


Disclaimer: Article is roughly translated. It may contain inaccuracies. Please pardon any mistakes.


Ahn Hyoseop, “The reason for <Business Proposal>’s success is the comfortable development, without any forced conflict.”


(Today is Ahn Hyoseop’s day. And Ahn Hyoseop said that it is important to know that the present is the only time we are living.)

Q: What do you think was the main reason for (Business Proposal)’s ratings rising from 4.9% in the first episode to 11% at the end?

A: I think it become famous through word of mouth. On top of that, there’s Netflix too. Since it was released almost in real time, after the 1st and 2nd episodes, it ranked first in more than 20 non-English speaking countries like Hong Kong, Japan, etc., and it was ranked 2nd globally. I think since these reactions were released through news articles, domestic fans started to watch it. There are probably people who watched the drama in real time on TV, after watching the previous episode on Netflix. Also, I think the fact that our drama is light, and every scene is fun making it easy to join in the middle, had an influence to it. I think the biggest factor was that it was a comfortable drama to watch.


Q: That’s right. It’s a fact that watching it almost in real-time on OTT platforms, has a huge impact on the viewership of real-time TV broadcasts. But for me, the most refreshing thing was that it was “comfortable.” This drama doesn’t have a huge conflict.

A: There was no huge villain.


Q: Kang Taemoo started liking Shin Hari almost from the beginning, and loved her till the end.

A: That’s right. (laughs) The villain was the grandfather (’Kang Dagu’ played by Lee Deok Hwa), but even he wasn’t threatening.


Q: When a rich kid is dating someone, there’s always a scene where the parents appear, give that someone the money to leave, and slap them…

A: Hahahahaha. Grandfather does tell Hari to resign.


Q: However, Hari breaks through that by laying down her contributions to the company and refusing to resign. I thought there were set structures when it comes to the romantic comedy genre, but those structures were all removed.

A: I told Sejeong this when Episode 12 wasn’t released yet: “We’re just going to get married, are we?” (laughs) I was actually worried since there’s not that much conflict. There were conflicts, but there weren’t dramatic factors to solve; it was beautiful from beginning to end.


Q: That’s what I’m saying.

A: After the drama ended, I realized that there are more people who want to see lovely stuff than I thought. I think the fact that we didn’t go the direction we’re used to is the reason for its success.

Q: Anyway, these days, there’s always an opportunity to make your name globally known just by appearing on Korean dramas. I wonder how it would be like if you play an English-speaking role.

A: I do think that’ll be fun, if I get the chance. I want to try a good English-speaking role. I haven’t had that kind of role yet. But I don’t feel that “I have to advance internationally no matter what.”


Q: Acting in English would be very different, right?

A: When it comes to talking, if you speak a language you don’t really use, it gets awkward. If you continuously speak it, it gets better. That’s why I get flustered when I’m suddenly asked to speak English at events or variety shows. Vocalization is also very different. The tongue is also a muscle. There’s a certain position when I’m speaking Korean, but when I change to English, it gets pushed back. If I suddenly switch languages, my tongue gets twisted.


Q: Your next work is the Netflix original <A Time Called You>.

A: That’s right. We’re still filming, and I personally expect it to be released next year.


Q: It’s a remake of the very successful <Someday or One Day>.

A: I didn’t watch that drama. I only know it’s a remake.


Q: “Esquire” also loves Jeon Yeo Been, whom you’re starring with. You were both featured twice.

A: She’s really nice and considerate, and she’s doing well.


Q: Aren’t most people nice to you?

A: There’s no such thing as that. (laughs) Aren’t people who are mean to others rare in today’s world? Or I just don’t know it?


Q: You’re still in production, so I don’t think you can answer in detail so I’ll stop asking about your next work. Any dramas you filmed so far, that you want to do a sequel on?

A: I want to do a <Dr. Romantic S3>. That drama is about survival, but it’s not just about physical survival. The hospital, personal circumstances, and the emotions in those situations are all integrated in that survival, so it’s fun.


Q: Where do you spend your time other than work?

A: I watch a lot of YouTube videos. Recently, I watched <Mr. Nobody> that stars Jared Leto. It’s not on Netflix. It’s on YouTube, and of course, it’s paid. <The Brand New Testament> was the director’s next movie.


Q: What do you usually watch on YouTube?

A: There’s no consistency in the videos I watch. But if I have to choose a similarity (in the videos), I usually watch YouTube channels of positive people. For example, even if I only eat one food, if I can eat that a lot for the rest of my life, I’d be grateful, because I can savor it while watching eating videos. And when it comes to travel videos, I watch the calm and quiet travel vlogs, not those that are loud and enthusiastic. I tend to look for videos that don’t stress me out.


Q: Do you get stressed when watching people get angry, frustrated, or sad?

A: I do. There are touching hidden camera videos, or social experiment videos. I also like videos where they record how someone secretly helps another person, or they’re saved by a passerby from a tough situation. I can’t change humanity on my own, but I’m one of the supporters of all humanity.


Q: Do you believe in the goodness of humanity?

A: I can’t say that humanity is good, but I think it can be good. The concept of goodness is a bit vague. I support the idea that “humanity is an entity that can be happy.” It sounds weird, right?


Q: I’ve been having this feeling since earlier, but you’re like a teenager, in a good way. A young man, bright person, blue.

A: Hahaha.


Q: You co-founded “The Present Company” this time. Looking at the name, it looks like you got a lot of inspiration from (the book) <The Courage to be Disliked>.

A: That’s right. It came from one of the teachings from that book, which is, “To live in the present.” The book says to live like you’re under a pinlight. When the pinlight is pointing at me, I can’t see what’s around me, and I focus on myself at that moment. So I wanted to add the word “spotlight”, but (the name) already exists. I thought a lot about various options, but I ended up choosing the most sincere and simple one. The word “present” also has a double meaning of “gift.”


Q: If you think that you’re under a spotlight, a lot of the problems in this world become simple.

A: That’s right. Actually, I think it’s a great waste of energy to be tied to the past. The only thing I can change now is the future anyway, so I have to live in the present.


Q: Living for the sake of the future can be a little stressful too.

A: You sacrifice now for the sake of the future. We always hear, “I need to earn a lot of money to become a good son later on.” But what’s contradictory is that the only time you feel the happiness, is in the present. The present is where happiness exists.


Q: So it’s similar to YOLO (You Only Live Once).

A: It’s a very similar context.


Q: Carpe diem, too.

A: It’s also similar to carpe diem. It’s also similar to Nike’s slogan, “Just do it.” It implies that you shouldn’t hesitate, and put it into action “now.”



Q: Is there a book you recently read that deeply impressed you?

A: I’m currently reading <Art of Loving> by Erich Fromm.


Q: You’re reading a great classic.

A: It’s hard. (laughs) It’s a very basic approach to love. Since it’s about the art of loving, I thought it would be a book with beautiful words in it, but it’s scientific and objective. There are times when I think that loving is the easiest, but I keep in mind that love is also something I have to learn. I usually think that someday, I’ll be able to meet someone I love, but apparently, only those who can love can do it. It was good to realize that love is also something you work hard for.


Q: I also think about that a lot these days. In order to love, you need to have great empathy.

A: I think it’s really hard. I also try to empathize with someone’s difficult situation, but I’m not good at it. But it’s also not good to force myself and pretend that I’m sympathizing. I’m not good at giving meaningless sympathy, but maybe there is someone who’s similar to me.


Q: What do you think love is?

A: I think of it as two people standing on an invisible lever and building trust in each other. It’s not your happiness, it’s not my happiness, but for each of our happiness, we keep building trust in each other.


Q: It’s like two people standing on both ends of a see-saw and balancing it, am I right?

A: It’s similar. I don’t move forward or back to find my own happiness, but it’s important to stand at a point to keep the balance. In order to keep that balance, it’s important to build the trust. Love and friendship, all the same.


Q: If today’s interview was made into a documentary video, what would the title be?

A: “That day, in this moment, Ahn Hyo Seop.” I want to give that kind of nuance. I tend to think seriously when I’m asked this kind of question.


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