April 11, 2022
Disclaimer: Article is roughly translated. It may contain inaccuracies. Please pardon any mistakes.
Q: How do you feel about finishing the drama successfully?
A: I’m both relieved and thankful that we finished the drama safely. Everyone could have been nervous and frustrated at the same time, but we were able to film and wrap up happily because of the fun script, and the positive and pleasant staff and actors.
Q: What made you choose the role of Kang Taemoo?
A: I couldn’t think of anything when I read the script. I carefully read for a short time with no worries, and there was only one reason why I can do so. I wanted to be in the interesting situations Kang Taemoo was in, and I also wanted to challenge comedy. However, I think Kang Taemoo was attractive because he wasn’t superficial.
Q: What did you focus on while preparing for the role of “Kang Taemoo”?
A: When I first read the script, I thought Kang Taemoo was unrealistic. I worried about how to express realistically, this unrealistic character that was literally pulled out of a comic book. However, if I only thought about the realistic aspects, I would’ve missed the part of Kang Taemoo being good in many ways, so I acted believing that he actually existed somewhere in the world. Above all else, Kang Taemoo’s way of speaking was the most difficult. In some ways, I was aware that this character’s way of speaking can be unnatural, but I thought that bringing out Taemoo’s unique tone will spice up the character. I acted, believing that if the viewers get used to Taemoo’s way of speaking, his colorful charms will stand out more. The most important thing is that I believed in Kang Taemoo, and I believed in myself.
Q: What is Kang Taemoo’s charm?
A: I think Kang Taemoo’s biggest charm is his boyish charms. On the outside, he may seem like a level-headed, cold, city man, but if you look inside him, there is a boy stuck inside, who didn’t get the love he deserved from his parents. Perhaps that’s why (Kang Taemoo) pursued a perfect life to fill that void. When Taemoo meets Hari, a character he’s never encountered before, he starts to find his true self. There were times where they would have childish fights, and times where they felt pure love, and Taemoo would realize an image of himself he never knew about, prompting him to change. I think this is the most interesting and attractive point while acting (as Taemoo).
Q: Are there parts you were satisfied or had regrets about while acting as “Kang Taemoo”?
A: No matter what role I play, I always feel I was lacking, and that I have parts I regret. Rather than regretting a specific scene, at every moment, I would have thoughts like, “I feel I can make this more interesting”, or “I feel I can do this instead.” I think it’s more regretful that the character was completed after putting together trivial things. It’s good that I didn’t hold on to those regrets because I was able to do everything with the best staff and actors. I was thankful throughout the shoot.
Q: How was your chemistry with Kim Sejeong, Kim Min Gue, and Seol In Ah?
A: If I start with the conclusion, I’d say that I was happy (to work with them). First of all, they were all considerate people, so we were able to film while being considerate with each other. There were many fun scenes that were made after listening to the other’s opinions and accepting it as they were. The parts where Sejeong was Hari. I tried to think about how to keep the scene with small adlibs and teamwork. Everyone worked hard, and I was motivated a lot.
Q: What would have happened if Kang Taemoo met the real Jin Youngseo, and not Hari, on the blind date?
A: Knowing Kang Taemoo and Jin Youngseo’s personalities, I think it would’ve ended very shortly as they would agree to end it right there and then.
Q: The scene where Kang Taemoo felt love for the first time, was when he said “Love is an empty feeling”?
A: It’s the scene where Hari and Taemoo were at the playground, talking on the phone. Drunk Hari dissuades the students, hung up, and Taemoo goes running to the place where Hari’s likely to be. He ran all over the place, worried about Hari. When he came to his senses, Taemoo realizes that he is able to give that kind of emotion to someone. He recognized for the first time, that he be drawn so much to another person. The very next day, he notifies Hari of her dismissal, and wanted to deny his feelings. When he denied the feelings of love for the first time but still went back to Hari, Taemoo was, at the same time, afraid of love, and longed for love.
Q: There are suspicions that Kang Taemoo has been single since birth because he’s a workaholic.
A: I’ll leave this to the viewers’ imaginations ^^
Q: Did Kang Taemoo and Hari have any worries about work and love while they were dating at work?
A: When working, Kang Taemoo is strict. Although Taemoo and Hari work in the same company, Taemoo’s work ethic didn’t change. Taemoo is a strict boss who makes decisions and takes responsibility. Whenever talks about work come up, he shows his concentration. When Taemoo is working, he separates emotion as to have reasonable judgment and a cool head, but when he’s dating, he’s the opposite where he goes straight ahead with one emotion. When Taemoo had to go to America for his grandfather, he asked Hari to go with him, but Hari decided to stay in Korea. The both of them have love and pride for their work, and Taemoo decided to go alone because he respects, believes, and understands Hari. Just as Taemoo can be faithful to love even though he entered society at young age, his humane innocence is something I want to have.
Q: Is there a memorable episode in <Business Proposal>?
A: The episode that comes to mind right now, was when Manager Gye (Lim Ki Hong) made bomb drinks for Taemoo and Food Development Team 1 during their company dinner. Actually, it was a simple scene, but I was really shocked when I saw sunbaenim’s (Lim Ki Hong) acting. Everyone sincerely, and respectfully applauded him, and the atmosphere on set was good. I thought that even a short scene can be expressed in so many ways. I heard that he practiced opening beer bottles and shaking them in their bathroom at home. It was a day where I was inspired after seeing him act sincerely at every given moment, so I can’t forget that scene for the rest of my life. And the date where it suddenly rained. It was when Taemoo noticed that Hari cared about his trauma, so he says sorry for not telling her first, and kisses her. The way they’re considerate with each other was pretty. It was drawn on the spot, not by emotions, but from the discussion that if it were Taemoo and Hari, this would be their conversation, and this is what they would do. I think it was a drama where such heartfelt and warm scenes permeated the viewers and made them feel happy.
Q: Lines such as “I’m good at everything,” and “Honey” became hot topics. What was the most difficult line for you?
A: There were a lot of cheesy lines from beginning to end. There were moments at the beginning of filming where Taemoo expressed his narcissism, and the line where he brags to his grandfather about his specs, was difficult for me. Or when Taemoo wanted to protect Hari from her friends, in his own way. Especially the line where he goes, “You made my heart skip a beat,” while looking at Hari. Usually, when that happens, one doesn’t usually say out loud that their heart skipped a beat. And for me to say that to my co-actor, was really difficult and shocking, that my heart really skipped a beat.
Q: What did you gain from acting as Kang Taemoo?
A: I gained a lot of confidence. I don’t know if it’s from Kang Taemoo, or from working with good people in a good filming set, or it could be both. I think I became more confident in the things I wanted to say. If there’s a similarity between me and Taemoo, it’s that we don’t easily open up to other people. However, as Taemoo found his true self, I, too, was able to approach other people with an open mind.
Q: <Business Proposal> was loved, not only in Korea, but also abroad to the point that it was ranked Number 2 in the world. Were there any impressive responses from the viewers? Do you realize your increased popularity?
A: I knew that K-drama contents are slowly gaining more attention, but I didn’t expect it to be this big. I was able to happily think that as long as I put my sincerity in any project, I can connect with everyone. People around me reacted a lot, and they were all impressive reactions. With a grateful heart, I read posts about loving <Business Proposal>, and those who wrote about what was lacking. I think I tried to take a step back, and humbly accept the reviews with gratitude, and recognizing that it couldn’t suit everyone’s tastes because of individual preferences. And if I realized my popularity, my long time friends who don’t usually watch my projects, watched <Business Proposal> Ha ha.
Q: <Dr. Romantic 2>, <Lovers of the Red Sky>, and <Business Proposal>. You pulled off a variety of characters to the point where people don’t recognize it was you. Do you feel any pressure in character transformation?
A: I don’t think there’s any pressure in character transformation. Rather than feeling pressure, I thought it was fun to get to know new characters, so I poured my heart into preparing for them. The time between saying goodbye to Haram in <Lovers of the Red Sky>, and saying hello to Kang Taemoo in <Business Proposal> was a bit close, so I did my best to look at each role carefully.
Q: Through many recent projects, you established yourself as a leading actor among actors in their 20s. What is your goal as an actor?
A: Rather than having a new goal because I want to grow, or became interested in something, I always think about my life motto, “At every moment, in the present, to do my best with sincerity.” Since I will continuously love this job, I want to play various roles through many projects. And apart from the achievements and results, I hope that every moment on set will be a happy one.
Q: Is there a new character of genre you want to try?
A: I’ve played roles that are outstanding and righteous, and I want to play broken or evil characters. I also wanted to try a school genre, and I’m looking forward to the (next drama) <A Time Called You>. I get to wear a school uniform, too.
Q: With your next project <A Time Called You>, you are continuously working hard with no rest, so how do you feel about that? What are your plans for the rest of 2022?
A: After <Business Proposal> ended, we’re currently filming <A Time Called You>. Kang Taemoo’s role was clear and unique, so I worried about going to the next character right away, but it’s slowly shaping up. First of all, my first goal is to put as much passion into the work as possible, and finish it safely, and I say this repeatedly, but I want to create an opportunity to meet my fans. I also really want to meet my fans.
Q: Any message for Kang Taemoo?
A: Taemoo! It feels strange. I think Taemoo would prefer being called “Mr. Taemoo.” “Mr. Kang Taemoo, you’re someone who can receive enough love, so I hope you can share that love with Hari, and be happy for a long time.”
Q: Lastly, a message to those who loved <Business Proposal>.
A: With great support and love from the viewers, the drama ended, full of love. Taemoo, Hari, and I, Hyoseop, were able to draw our own happiness. Thank you and I love you to all the good people who worked hard on this: director, writer, staff, co-actors, viewers, and fans.