Disclaimer: Article is roughly translated. It may contain inaccuracies. Please pardon any mistakes.
It’s a meeting between two actors in the drama Business Proposal. It’s your first couple photo shoot, right?
Hyo Seop: That’s right.
Sejeong: It’s also my first time. Filming hasn’t reached the part where Kang Taemoo (Hyo Seop) and Shin Ha Ri (Sejeong) get close to each other, so this photo shoot feels like a foreshadowing of what’s about to come.
Hyo Seop: Sejeong and I must have been a little awkward when we were taking the first couple photo. It feels new to shoot a pictorial instead of the drama.
Sejeong: It was fun not to meet as Taemoo and Hari, as we do on (the drama) set, and instantly get in sync with each cut.
Business Proposal is a romantic comedy about the relationship between CEO Kang Taemoo and the employee Shin Hari. You started filming in the second half of last year, so it seems you’ve gotten close.
Hyo Seop: If I talk rashly, it might get too awkward (between us) but... (laughs) I think we’re close.
Sejeong: Me too. We have quite a lot of things in common.
Hyo Seop: If we have one thing in common, it’s that we think positively.
Sejeong: Ohhh~ I was going to say that. Hyo Seop is more optimistic than me. I tend to have a positive mind after thinking of bad situations (that might happen), but he doesn’t even have those thoughts.
Hyo Seop: One’s bound to have worries as they work on a project. And when that happens, I think to myself, “Think about the things you can do right now.”
Among the difficult scenes that you were worried about, which one is the most memorable?
Sejeong: We filmed a rainy scene, where I had to get wet, and the weather then was the coldest. The water hose and the ground were frozen.
Hyo Seop: Sejeong had such a hard time. I often stayed in a relatively comfortable place, since Taemoo is rich...
Hyo Seop, you introduced Taemoo during your Marie Claire interview last year. You said, “(Taemoo is) a 3rd generation rich heir, with a nice car and watch, and a comfortable and spacious office.”
Hyo Seop: In addition to what I learned about Taemoo, he has an unknown trauma. He may seem meticulous and strong, but inside him is a boy trembling in fear. That is why Taemoo sometimes acts childish, and Hari is the one who sees through him.
Sejeong, what was your first impression of Hari?
Sejeong: It was really difficult to approach Hari. I wasn’t sure how to balance Hari’s personality when she’s at work, with her family, or with her friend Youngseo (Seol In Ah), since she’s different in all those situations. However, thinking about it, like Hari, I also show a different side of me depending on the situation. So I thought, it would be right to act the way I felt about it on set, and naturally, the Hari today was born. I think I did a good job at raising her to be optimistic with a good coping ability.
Did you feel anything new while creating Hari?
Sejeong: I think Hari likes Taemoo a lot. Hari’s process of finding her feelings for Taemoo was fun. The process went from Hari understanding Taemoo, Sejeong understanding Taemoo, then Sejeong understanding Hyoseop. The way I treat people recently also helped.
In what way do you treat people?
Sejeong: In the past, I used to keep the door of my heart firmly shut. But these days, I try to lower my boundaries, and let people outside that door in.
Hyo Seop: There are many people who make their own exits to avoid being hurt. It was like that for me, and it seems like Sejeong is the same too. However, when you try to protect yourself, you find yourself judging other people based on your own perspectives. These days, I try to see other people’s strengths instead.
What do you think are each other’s strengths?
Hyo Seop: The longer you take (to answer), the more awkward this gets.
Sejeong: No, I was just organizing my thoughts. (laughs). Like Taemoo, it’s not easy to keep to keep a boy’s purity well into their late 20s, and I think Hyo Seop has that bright side, too. I think that’s amazing.
Hyo Seop: Sejeong is always cheerful. There are many times where she looks cheerful because she’s enjoying herself. I was able to approach her comfortably because she’s the same inside and out. Whenever I open my mouth (to say something), she’s always ready to laugh.
You’re laughing because it’s really funny, right?
Sejeong: Of course, initially, I laughed to get close to him. But now, to some extent, I know him, and he’s a really funny guy! I didn’t know!
Hyo Seop: Shall we start talking about each other’s shortcomings? (laughs)
Sejeong: Hahahaha! His jokes like these are really funny.
In an interview with Director Park Seon Ho, who directed Business Proposal, he said this is the reason for casting the both of you: “Both actors are clean and cute.”**
Hyo Seop: The director is like a clean slate who accepts everyone’s opinions. He listens to everything, but he also gives his own opinion. Even if there is a script, things change when we discuss on set, but we are completing a drama that will satisfy everyone while keeping the writer’s intentions.
Business Proposal is based on a web novel, which was also adapted into a webtoon, which gained popularity. It would’ve felt difficult when acting as the characters were expressed in detail through other media.
Sejeong: That’s right. I don’t look closely on the original work, because the character in the script is the one I need to act. When I think of the original Hari, I don’t think I can be the Hari that will fit the drama version.
Hyo Seop: I’m sure there are viewers who focused on the original, and had higher expectations thanks to its popularity. But this drama isn’t fictional or comical. It shows our daily lives and realities. So I put the right amount of acting so the drama won’t be too light, but I referred to the vibe and outer appearance of the original. The drama poster is shot in the same composition as the webtoon poster.
Hyo Seop has been steadily working on projects like Lovers of the Red Sky and Dr. Romantic 2. Sejeong went on stage for her musical Red Book after her previous drama The Uncanny Counter. Is there anything you discovered about yourself while acting as different people?
Sejeong: Rather than discovering new, I realized a side of me that I already had. I tend to bring out what’s inside me when acting, so I try to find similar points between my character and myself. That’s why I think it’s important to be honest with myself. The more honest I am, the more cards I can take out.
What cards did you take out for Business Proposal?
Sejeong: I felt that I don’t really show my feelings to someone. Without realizing, I was incorporating this into Hari. I was embarrassed for no reason, when she was expressing to herself her unrequited love for someone. I thought, “There’s no reason for her not to admit her feeling.”
Do you also find those similar points between you and your character, Hyoseop?
Hyo Seop: It doesn’t matter what role I play, I think those characters come into me gradually. So then, there are times where I become the character in real life. I’m sure Ahn Hyo Seop in Business Proposal is cheerful. It’s interesting to see myself change with each project I do.
Do you tend to break away easily from your character every time you finish a project?
Hyo Seop: I’m not sure. I think the characters just pass by me without me knowing. If someone tells me, “This side of you has changes,” that’s when I realize that I have assimilated with a character.
Sejeong: For me, it’s hard for me to break character if I’m deeply immersed. It’s because I added a part of my inner self into the character I’m playing. So, if I get to play a murderer someday, it’ll be dangerous, right?
Hyo Seop: This is what I meant when we talked about worrying situations in the beginning of this interview. Why are you worried about something that hasn’t even happened yet?
Hyo Seop: Just enjoy the interview. It’s so much fun.
I’m glad you’re having fun. While preparing for this interview, I looked at your past interviews, and the word “challenge” came up a lot. Where do you think you get the strength to take on challenges?
Sejeong: Anxiousness. I don’t want to stay still like this. But that anxiety doesn’t have a negative effect on me. Just like how I enjoy thrills, I also have fun in a state of anxiety.
You’re using negative emotions in a positive way.
Sejeong: So I try to be anxious as much as possible. If I’m nervous about who I’m not, then it’s difficult. I think I can grow up only when I accept the anxiety that arises with age.
It's important to see yourself objectively. I think Hyo Seop said something similar before as well.
Hyo Seop: It’s really painful and difficult to see yourself for who you are. I can relate to Sejeong because she knows that. One has to get used to anxiety in order to grow up and take on challenges. However, life will become boring if you settle in one place just because you’re afraid.
Sejeong: Right. I want to live life in a fun way.
Hyo Seop: I really love the term “positive inferiority.” I think the challenge to become who I want to be, and not the me who is superior to others, eventually leads me to a better direction.
Sejeong: Positive inferiority! I think that describes me. I’m badly stuck in it.
Hyo Seop: You know that book I gave you? It’s written in there.
Sejeong: Is it?
What book did you give her?
Sejeong: The Courage To Be Disliked. I received it before the drama started.
Hyo Seop: It’s an impressive book, so I gave one to each of my co-actors.
Sejeong: I haven’t finished reading it yet. Now, I want to read it.
We’re almost done. (laughs). Can we say that Business Proposal is another challenge for both of you?
Hyo Seop: Of course.
Sejeong: There’s no other choice but for it to be a challenge.
Then what will you expect at the end of the challenge?
Sejeong: I wish I could say “I’m glad I did it.” Even now, I still think it was a good choice.
Hyo Seop: I believe that I will make the right choice in every moment. I don’t think it will be possible without this belief. I hope that through Business Proposal, I can become a better version of myself in any way.
Source: Marie Claire Korea