We're adding new K-Drama Start-Upto our weekly habit! It premiered yesterday on Netflix, and it's brimming with youthful energy.
Starring Nam Joo-hyuk, Bae Suzy, Kim Seon-ho, and Kang Han-na, Start-Up is a youth rom-com series that revolves around four young, passionate, and driven individuals who all have goals they want to achieve.
Just a few minutes into the first episode, the series already lives up to its promise of delivering a sparkling story that, as Kang Han-na said, "will create a fire in your heart." This fire could leave one with that burning desire to succeed, like what the four main characters in Start-Up have.
Nam Joo-hyuk is Nam Do-san, a math genius who founded a company called Samsan Tech. He used to make his parents proud, but with his business not taking off as he thought it would, he has to deal with the fact that he has become a disappointment to his parents.
Bae Suzy is Seo Dal-mi, a hardworking young woman who juggles several part-time jobs. She's multi-talented and persistent, but for some reason, she couldn't find a full-time job. She dreams of becoming Korea's Steve Jobs. One area she's clueless about, though, is dating.
Kim Seon-ho is Han Ji-pyeong, an investment manager at a venture capital company who's been dubbed "the Gordon Ramsay of investments" because of his tendency to blurt out mean words.
Kang Han-na is Won In-jae, a second-generation chaebol CEO who has everything, except she's not acknowledged and recognized for her own achievements.
Directed by Oh Choong-hwan (Hotel del Luna, While You Were Sleeping, Doctors) and written by Park Hye-ryun (Dream High, I Can Hear Your Voice, Pinocchio, and While You Were Sleeping), this new K-Drama is highly-anticipated given the credentials of not just the team behind it but also the actors breathing life to its characters.
Director Oh Choong-hwan was very particular in choosing the actors to work with for this exciting project. They really took the casting process very seriously in order to find the actors who are in some ways alike to the characters being highlighted. He said during the virtual press conference for Start-Up, "In the casting process, I really think that the actor's image itself is extremely important. I am sure that if you see our series, you will see that all of them are cast in their perfect roles."
Director Oh Choong-hwan adds, "Our story has ups and downs because it follows the characters' ups and downs. You're
going to watch our characters grow and foster friendships with one another, and also
learn life lessons and learn more about who they are. It's about love, but not just about
love, it's about having a vision for your life and working hard for your vision."
Read more about Start-Up in the gallery below, with photos from the show's virtual press conference:
About New K-Drama "Start-Up"
SWIPE LEFT OR RIGHT TO NAVIGATE BETWEEN PAGES
1 / 23
Nam Joo-hyuk's portrayal in K-Drama "Light in Your Eyes" was a factor in his casting.
Last year, Nam Joo-hyuk starred in the K-Drama "Light in Your Eyes" (or "Dazzling") as a young man who's a scammer at an elderly care center. His performance here caught the attention of director Oh Choong-hwan and impressed him, so when an opportunity came for this director to cast Nam Joo-hyuk, he didn't have second thoughts about it anymore. He and writer Park Hye-ryun were sure the role of Nam Do-san in "Start-Up" would fit him like a glove.
2 / 23
Nam Joo-hyuk sees a similarity between him and his character.
Nam Joo-hyuk candidly admitted that he's got a nerdy side, something he shares with his character Nam Do-san. While he worked hard to internalize this role, he realized that giving justice to this character was a matter of just looking within him and pulling out that side of him in order to make his portrayal plausible. He said, "In portraying Do-san, I looked back on my life but also looked forward to
my future. I really identify with my character. To relate to my character, I looked into myself. It was not hard to pull off the nerd aspect of my character because I realized his qualities were within me."
3 / 23
Nam Joo-hyuk feels his role is something he can grow with.
There are several factors that convinced Nam Joo-hyuk this project was worth taking on. There are, of course, the director, the writer, and his co-actors. But the first time he read the script of "Start-Up," he was instantly drawn to Nam Do-san because he felt he could contribute to its character development. "I thought, well, if I take this role, I can add more and I can help this character to be more complete. Right now, this character seems to be a bit lacking a little bit here and there, but as the story unfolds he's going to grow," he said. "So I saw some kind of overlapping relationship between me and my character. So I really want to grow together with my character as I play him."
4 / 23
Bae Suzy previously worked with this series' director and writer.
That means Bae Suzy was more comfortable on the set, as she's already pretty familiar with how director Oh Choong-hwan and writer Park Hye-ryun expect her to deliver in every scene. Bae Suzy worked with the director in "While You Were Sleeping" and the writer in "Dream High" and "While You Were Sleeping." Director Oh Choong-hwan said, "I’ve worked with Suzy before and there’s this kind of energy
about Suzy that you want to encourage and want to see grow." Bae Suzy said that since she worked with writer Park Hye-ryun for her first-ever TV appearance, she hopes that this time around she had become a mature actress. "We have a very meaningful relationship and I'm happy to work with her again," she said.
5 / 23
Bae Suzy said "'Start-Up' felt original and fresh."
"I was drawn to the story and the complex relationships," Bae Suzy said of what she initially liked about "Start-Up." She also appreciated the youth empowerment message it wishes to convey overall. The topic of "start-ups" is something new for her, so she really took a deep dive into the script to get into her character of Seo Dal-mi. Among the preparations she did for this role was watch interviews of young CEOs to get a feel of what it's like to be in their shoes.
6 / 23
Bae Suzy said she's comforted by "Start-Up."
"Start-Up" has a vibrant narrative that's balanced with tear-jerking moments in between. And the actors themselves are inspired by the characters. Bae Suzy said, "Throughout the production process, I was comforted by the screenplay. It helped me take a look back on my life and feel comforted. It’s a very heartwarming story. I hope
you can watch it with a warm and joyful heart."
7 / 23
Kang Han-na watched some videos of successful CEOs, to better portray her character.
As part of her preparations for taking on this role, Kang Han-na was given some reference materials in order to portray the role of a young CEO more efficiently. "In-jae is a CEO who works really hard and a thorough businesswoman," Kang Han-na shared. "The writer gave me some reference videos to understand my character better. I also searched and watched some videos of successful CEOs to capture their aura."
8 / 23
Director Oh Choong-hwan said Kang Han-na's character is the "loneliest."
Kang Han-na plays the role of Won In-jae, who's beautiful, smart, and rich. She has a successful business, but people think it's all thanks to her step father's influence and wealth. But the fact is she had to work hard to reach the status she currently maintains and protects. Director Oh Choong-hwan shared, "Kang Han-na’s character is the loneliest out of the four characters. She has relatively less scenes and lines, but there’s something about her energy. She’s strong
and complex, but also very warm."
9 / 23
Kang Han-na said she and Won In-jae are both determined.
Each actor finds something similar with the characters they portray. For Kang Han-na, what she shares in common with Won In-jae is that attitude when it comes to chasing after their dreams. "In terms of my likeness to my character Won In-jae, I think I have resolve and I follow through. We also discussed how short hair would suit Won In-jae better, so I
got a haircut. Won In-jae, as a CEO, is an amazing businesswoman. However, deep
down I feel sympathy for her. I hope viewers can relate to that and cheer her on for her personal happiness," Kang Han-na said.
10 / 23
Kim Seon-ho described their series as "comfortable, warm, and fun."
A series that paints a picture of the goal-oriented young ones today, "Start-Up" is both heart-fluttering and heartwarming. It shows the characters' triumphs and tribulations in such an inspiring light. Kim Seon-ho said, "When I read the script, there was a lot of excitement. This show was quite different from other shows because if you look at the lines and not only my character’s lines, but also the other character’s lines and the ending scenes of each episode, I felt
compelled to continue reading. When you look at other dramas, they have a lot of spicy and juicy stores, but our drama is comfortable, warm, and fun."
11 / 23
Kim Seon-ho said he can't be as mean as Han Ji-pyeong.
"Han Ji-pyeong is kind and has a good heart. In that regard we are similar. I’m not as mean with my words as Han Ji-pyeong. He’s straightforward and quite sharp-tongued to people to their faces and I can’t really be like that so that’s a difference between my character and me," shared Kim Seon-ho, who really embodied his character down to his speech style.
12 / 23
Director Oh Choong-hwan said he's a fan of Kim Seon-ho.
"Kim Seon-ho is an actor I’ve always been a fan of. He has a clean, but complex
aura. He seems very sharp, but he’s a softie on the inside. Such a cute and friendly character. Han Ji-pyeong also has a sharpness about him but also has a softness within him," the director said. He even talked to the writer of Kim Seon-ho's "2 Days & 1 Night" reality show, to better understand how he is not just an actor but also as a person.
13 / 23
Keep scrolling for more photos of the cast members from the virtual press conference of "Start-Up."
14 / 23
15 / 23
16 / 23
17 / 23
18 / 23
19 / 23
20 / 23
21 / 23
22 / 23
23 / 23
Catch new episodes of Start-Up every Saturday and Sunday evening on Netflix.