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[ENG TRANSL] Na In Woo - Sports Donga (Post-Drama Interview 2022)

August 5, 2022

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


“Hello. Thank you for coming all the way here.” That resonating voice. That was actor Na Inwoo. A man with a tanned face, and 188 cm tall, strode into the conference room and sat in the middle. The way he confidently sat in the “chairman’s seat” was different from the youngest member of <1 Night, 2 Days> (1N2D). When the reporters remarked that he looked like a chairman, he said, “Yes, today’s agenda is to dig into everything about Na Inwoo.” This is how the <Jinxed At First> post-drama interview started. The interview was held at CUBE Entertainment on July 26.

Last year, from summer to winter, Na Inwoo filmed <Jinxed At First> (directed by Yoon Sangho, written by Jang Yoonmi). He played an unlucky fishmonger named Gong Soogwang, who falls in love with the goddess of luck, Lee Seulbi (Seohyun) and gets a happy ending after many twists and turns.

N: “It was my first time doing it. It was my first time leading a Wednesday-Thursday drama from beginning to end, and I was more worried rather than feeling pressured. Since it’s a pre-produced drama, I worried about how I will appear, and how I will act. We wrapped up at the end of December, and I had a ton of worries.”

Regarding Seohyun, who he worked with for half a year, he said, “She’s an actress with a broad outlook.” They respected each other to enrich the scenes. In the beginning of the drama, Na Inwoo came up with ideas for the comical scenes, and Seohyun came up with ideas when she entered Geumhwa Group.

N: “Seohyun picked up on the parts that I was lacking, and told me about them, and when I analyze a scene, and mention to her my ideas on how to act it, she gladly accepts them. When I saw Girls’ Generation Seohyun, I thought she would be an introvert, but in reality, she’s an extrovert. She takes good care of herself, and she perseveres. However, I don’t want her to go to 1N2D, because it’s taxing. I’m afraid that she will have a hard time.”

The webtoon’s Soogwang is calm and blunt, but the Soogwang in the drama is friendly. He first read the original after receiving the script for the first 2 episodes. The Soogwang in the script was dark, similar to the webtoon, but Director Yoon Sangho wanted a brighter drama.

N: “If I go with the calm and dark Soogwang like the original, the (drama’s) atmosphere might be too down. So I came up with many ideas on how to change the character. I think the comical scenes came out well. I worked hard to do what the director wanted.”

Na Inwoo is an actor who uses his facial muscles well. In the beginning of the drama, Soogwang put on a comical face as he shot a palm blast on the kidnappers, and in the scene where he was afraid Seulbi might be exposed, his acting was as pleasant as Jim Carrey’s. His acting of being shocked after receiving a kiss from drunk Seulbi increased the viewers’ excitement.

However, at some point, the drama quickly became dark as the curse of the conglomerate family, and occult subjects about witches dominated the entire drama. The birth secret, infidelity, a child born out of wedlock, kidnapping, and murders also appeared. The broadcasting company clearly said that it was, “Na Inwoo’s first romantic comedy,” but SooBi (Soogwang+Seulbi) couple cried more than they laughed.

When Na Inwoo was asked, “The drama was said to be a romantic comedy, but it turned into a ‘shinpa’ (These days, the word ‘shinpa’ is used to “criticize a drama/movie that shows a directing method that seems to force emotions from the audience such as sadness”신파). You cried from Episode 7-13, did you have any difficulties?” Upon hearing the word ‘shinpa’, Na Inwoo looked a bit dismayed.

N: “In any way, being an actor entails expressing something. Whether there are people who think it’s a shinpa, and other people who feel differently, regardless of it being a good or bad situation, my mindset towards acting is the same. That is, I’m doing my best to touch the hearts of viewers and make them happy. You can look at it without difficulties. There are disappointing parts in each drama/movie, there’s no perfect one.”

There were additional questions, such as: “There are less scenes with SooBi couple together,” and “Any regrets over the ratings?” As the focus was on the conglomerate family’s wrong deeds and curse, the amount of romantic scenes between the main characters lessened, and the ratings also gradually fell. Na Inwoo said, “I’m sorry to the fans,” as he apologized. “The ratings didn’t drop because we wanted to. We unraveled the story and showed the process of growing, but that’s what happened… It’s unfortunate that you were disappointed, but we’ll meet again. I’m sorry to the fans. It’s not my fault, but I still did my best. Even though the ratings are low, as long as there are people who can relate and enjoyed watching through the character I expressed, I’m satisfied. I’m someone who focuses on the process, so it was a precious time for me. I loved the process of creating something and presenting it to (the viewers).”

Na Inwoo was asked if he was satisfied with the ending. He opened his eyes wide, and said, “It’s a spoiler, but can I say it?” I persuaded him by saying, “The article will be released at the end of the drama, and there was a spoiler photo posted on social media.” It looked like Na Inwoo was worried that when the reporters will hear the ending, it will take away the fun of watching the final episode. An official from the agency bowed his head, and said, “Inwoo is a pure person.”

N: “I think the drama’s ending is the best. Soogwang must be living happily. You’ll know if you watch it until the end. Soogwang’s life had so many ups and downs so he lived a very difficult life. I was relieved to see him happy as a mature person at the end.”

Recently, Na Inwoo, who appeared in dramas <Jinxed At First>, <Cleaning Up>, and the variety show <1 Night, 2 Days> is gaining a lot of popularity. He is a tall person, but many domestic and international fans call him “cute” and he doesn’t understand why.

N: “Seeing me in person, I’m not cute, right? The fans say I’m cute. I’m not, right? Right? (Q: You’re flustered. Do you not like being called cute?) It’s not that I don’t like it. I’m not cute, so I don’t understand why they call me cute. (Q: When watching 1N2D, you have a lot of cuteness though.) I don’t have cuteness. Since I’m the youngest, they just adore me.”

During the 1N2D home visit episode, Na Inwoo’s house which had less furniture, and no meal table, was revealed and became a hot topic. He said he still lives in that condition. When asked if he’s a minimalist, he said it’s his first time learning of such a word.

N: “I just live like that even if it’s uncomfortable. I don’t have a meal table. I didn’t even know there’s a word such as ‘minimalist’, but I just live with what I only need. (Q: Why do you live that way?) That’s just how I live. When I’m resting, I like listening to music, playing my guitar, gazing at the sunlight, drinking coffee, and lying down. I do these 5 things at home.”

When mentioned that he got tanned a lot, Na Inwoo said, “It’s from filming 1N2D” as if it was no big deal. Heo Jae Ok, the agency’s department head said otherwise. Ms Heo said, “I can’t stand it. Even being out on the street for 30 minutes a day, he becomes tanned. It’s hot these days, so he sits outside on the veranda with the air conditioner on. He says he likes the sunlight. He says he’s photosynthesizing.” For your information, humans can’t photosynthesize because they do not have chloroplasts.

The people who recognize Na Inwoo also increased. He thanked them saying they “give him strength.”

In the past, the elder people recognize me, but now, younger ones know me, and even ask to take a picture. It may sound cliché, but I am able to move forward thanks to the people who love and support me.

Someone requested for him to give a message to Soogwang. Na Inwoo looked down for a long time and opened his mouth with difficulty.

N: “Soogwang, you’ve been through pain and hardships more than anyone else, but I hope you live happily giving love and being thankful to those who taught you love and helped you find yourself. Like you, I’ll also live happily giving back the love I receive. This is no easy task.”

The interview ended, and I asked if I can take a photo with him. Then I asked him with the heart of a fan, “Na Inwoo, when will you hold a fan meeting in Korea?”

Na Inwoo said, “Ah!” as he turned his head to Ms. Heo, and asked in a loud voice, “Noona, when will I have a fan meeting? When will you schedule my first fan meeting?”

Turning back (to me), leaving her in a complicated situation, we set a fan meeting amongst ourselves, including a venue, and let our imagination run.

He asked me for fan meeting ideas, so I suggested playing ‘Canon Rock’ on guitar, and he exclaimed, “Wow!” as he clapped his hands. However, his facial expression became that of a limp golden retriever, and said, “It will take 3-4 years for me to play that” looking disappointed.

Fans would love to see him dance to Red Velvet’s ‘Red Flavor’, but I didn’t think of it at that time. In the past, he danced to this song in a drama, and the fans reacted enthusiastically.

Since he’s not enlisting yet, I also asked him about his next project. Na Inwoo said, “I’ll finish filming for the movie <Similar>, I’ll go to my next drama.” According to the agency, they received quite a few scripts, so they’re looking into it.

We rode the elevator together and continued our conversation. I thought he was going to his next interview. It turned out he was seeing me off as I’m a fan. I also received an autograph that contained warm heartfelt words of blessings, a heart, a smile, and a crying emoticon. He wanted to emphasize that he didn’t sign like this because he’s cute. He said he’s really not cute.

- END -

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