Kim Soo-Hyun And Seo Ye-Ji Talk About Their Characters In "It's Okay To Not Be Okay"
Working on this healing drama was both a challenge and a life-enhancing experience for the two of them, and they hope the viewers will experience some sort of healing in the process of watching it as well
Mark your calendar: June 20, 2020! That's when the much-awaited K-Drama It's Okay to Not be Okay, starring Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji, will be released on Netflix.
Metro.Style joined the series' virtual press conference earlier today, wherein the lead stars talked about their characters in detail and shared how it was like working with each other on this healing drama.
In It's Okay to Not be Okay, Kim Soo-hyun is the handsome, smart, and sympathetic Moon Gang-tae, a caregiver in a psychiatric ward. He takes care of his older brother, Sang-tae (portrayed by Oh Jung-se), who's on the autism spectrum. Fate leads him to a special woman, Ko Mun-yeong (Seo Ye-ji), a well-known children's book author who has an antisocial personality disorder. She's cold, rude, selfish, and lacks empathy. However, when their paths cross, they open up and help each other go through the process of healing their own wounds.
There are so many elements that make It's Okay to Not be Okay exciting and intriguing, but one of the things that we really can't wait to see is the on-screen chemistry between Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji, which we've gotten a glimpse on in the series' trailers.
At the virtual press conference, Kim Soo-hyun shared what it was like working with Seo Ye-ji: "At the very beginning, obviously, as one tends to be around people you meet for the first time, there was a sense of awkwardness and difficulties between the two of us, but as we began to really transform ourselves into Gang-tae and Mun-yeong, and so we had to spend a lot of time together, I feel like we have a comfortable chemistry between us now. And so I hope that you can enjoy our chemistry on-screen as well."
She also points out how he's been very considerate of her since they started working on this project. "I feel like our chemistry started off and continues to be quite good. And I think I would even go as far as to say that he’s by far the best partner that I’ve had."
This is Kim Soo-hyun's comeback series after finishing his military service. The last K-Drama he starred in was The Producers back in 2015. This was followed by cameos in Hotel del Luna and Crash Landing on You. As one of the highest-paid actors in South Korea, he has become famous for his roles in TV series like Dream High, Moon Embracing the Sun, and My Love from the Star, and movies like Secretly, Greatly and Real.
Meanwhile, Seo Ye-ji's last K-Drama was Lawless Lawyer. The other series she starred and appeared in include Save Me and Moorim School: Saga of the Brave.
Both acknowledge how unique and well-written this story by writer Jo Yong is. It's Okay to Not be Okay has an interesting concept that inspires them to push the envelope in terms of what they can offer with their acting. And as much as they enjoy working on this drama, they hope the viewers will be delighted watching it too, and that their characters will resonate with them on a deeper level.
Seo Ye-ji says, "I truly hope that all of you will be able to experience healing through this story and also feel consoled through our drama series, and above all, I hope you’d be happy along the ride."
Check out the gallery below to read about what Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji has to say about their drama and their characters in it:
Kim Soo-Hyun And Seo Ye-Ji
SWIPE LEFT OR RIGHT TO NAVIGATE BETWEEN PAGES
1 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on His Character
"My character is somebody who’s stronger than anyone else in front of other people. However, when he’s left alone to himself, he’s weaker than anyone else, so I hope that you can enjoy the ride of seeing Gang-tae heal his inner wounds."
2 / 16
Seo Ye-Ji on Her Character
"I play the role of Ko Mun-yeong, an antisocial children’s book writer who has a personality disorder because she lacks the feeling of empathy towards other people. She has a cold character. As she begins a relationship with Gang-tae, she begins to heal her inner wounds and therefore goes through a significant change."
3 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on His First Impression of the Script
"When I first saw the script and read it, I felt a heartache. I think that you may be able to agree once you see the show but there are a variety of characters and all of them have different stories and there’s also a lot of love. So I think that whatever angle you see our show from, I think there’s something in it for everybody, so I really hope that you walk and enjoy it."
4 / 16
Seo Ye-Ji on Her First Impression of the Script
"When I first read the script, the first thing that came to mind was that it was truly intriguing. I think that I can almost say that I’ve never seen a character like the character I play in any Korean drama before. I also had a heartache about the fact that my character is unable to feel empathy toward other people. Therefore, she’s very selfless. She only knew of herself and the sense of obsession she has is like a sword with two, you know, where it hurts both herself and other people around her. So I was really drawn to the character, I felt like she had a lot to offer. I also believe that if I were able to truly express all of the things that were really hidden inside her and harbored in her internally then it could create a truly wonderful story."
5 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on Why He Agreed to This Project
"After reading the script, with that heartache that I had after reading the script, I really felt like it was something that I really wanted to challenge myself to do. I wanted to be able to express that heartache into this form of art. And in that process, I think I also wanted to see how I would change as a human being outside of the story as just me, Kim Soo-hyun, as a person. So it was something that I think I really wanted to challenge myself to do."
6 / 16
Seo Ye-Jin on Why She Agreed to This Project
"I think, first of all, director Park Shin-woo, of course—extremely talented and the talent is irresistible, so I had no choice but to join in the project. I think that also goes for the writer as well. It was truly an intriguing story, so well written. But of course, last but not the least, the partner. I think any actress would be extremely happy to have Kim Soo-hyun as a partner so I had no reason not to do it."
7 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on His Unique Traits
"To talk about some of the things I lacked or didn’t have prior to a few years ago, I would say that, first of all, after my military service, I’ve become physically stronger and I think I’ve created a little more space if you will, and by that I mean, I think I have become a little bit more experienced. I have a little bit more space in my attitude shown through acting. So I think for anyone who has seen my acting prior to that, I think you’ll be able to notice that once you see our show."
8 / 16
Seo Ye-Ji on Her Unique Traits
"The character that I play, Ko Mun-yeong, if you really go in-depth and look at her, I have to channel my, this image of a witch to express her, the character, in the most adequate way. I would say that my low voice and what I can call a witch-like aura if you will, I think that really helps me channel my inner Ko Mun-yeong. And I personally think that by acting as this particular character, I have gone through experiences truly healing some of the things that I had inside me, and also I was able to learn some new things about myself through the eyes of other people."
9 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on Going Back to the Drama Scene
"This is my first piece of work after finishing the military service and because of that, I have been extremely nervous, I think I still am. While serving in the military, I really had this thirst to be on screen again and to act. And I’m really thankful that 'It’s Okay to not be Okay' has become my first one after finishing my military service. And as thirsty as I have been for acting, I will do my very best to make sure that this is worth all of it."
10 / 16
Seo Ye-Ji on Portraying an Unusual Female Character
"I think through my character, Ko Mun-yeong, this is a character that you can feel you're hurt with her and also feel like you’ve been healed with her as well. The concept of being able to feel empathy, I think that's the power she has as a character. Seeing her character in our drama series, I think you’ll be able to look back on your own hardships, your pasts, your actions, things you have said or even your future. So I feel like when you really join the journey with her, I think you’ll be able to truly have sort of an opportunity to really think about empathy for other people."
11 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on How He Prepared for His Character
"I really wanted to be able to express all of the hurt that my character Gang-tae has. And throughout and through the process, what I would want most is for people to resonate with that."
12 / 16
Seo Ye-Ji on How She Prepared for This Role
"I did a lot of research, I tried to do a lot of research so I tried to look into some antisocial characters and the actual personality disorder that my character probably has. However, and I referred to a lot of different characters, however I came to the conclusion that Ko Mun-yeong is extremely unique and really has a color of her very own. So I tried to express a lot of that characteristics with what is seen from the outside, so hair, makeup, costume, and all of that. I think there’s gonna be some things that my character wears that might even come across as a little odd to other people or difficult to understand why she would be wearing some things like that, but I try not to focus on the character being fashionable but someone who is extremely well expressive, like somebody who can really express herself through what she wears. So I think it’s important to understand that what she wears is not something to show off, but it’s actually something she puts on to defend herself."
13 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on What Viewers Can Pick Up from the Show
"I think that despite all of the differences, culturally or physically, what’s universal is the way we are worried or concerned about our loved ones, the way we think of the people that are important in our lives and the way we feel love towards other people. I think all of that is universal. Despite the cultural differences, I hope that that would be a point that all of us will be able to relate to and that’s what I expect our viewers to be able to see through our drama series."
14 / 16
Seo Ye-Ji on What Viewers Can Pick Up from the Show
"I think that, of course, everyone has their own different wounds and they’re hurt different ways and of course the depth is also all different. However, what I do hope is that all our viewers through our drama series will experience some sort of healing. One of the keywords of our drama is healing of the hurt, so I hope that as you watch our story together, you’ll be angry together, you’ll be healed together, and you’ll laugh and feel happiness together."
15 / 16
Kim Soo-Hyun on What He Likes Most About His Character
"When Gang-tae is with his brother Sang-tae, although Sang-tae is the older brother, Gang-tae becomes the older brother and he has to become an adult in front of his brother. He would have to swallow his pride. He would have to just give in to things. However, when he meets Mun-yeong, that is when he begins to sort of let his guard down. He is able to complain about things and he becomes like a child in front of this character so I think that meeting Mun-yeong is like a transitional point in Gang-tae’s life in that sense."
Chun Youngsang for Netflix
16 / 16
Seo Ye-ji on Her Own Fashion Style
"I think, personally, my fashion choice is something that’s casual, something that you can lounge around in the house and then just step out casually, so I think for me, comfort comes first."
Chun Youngsang for Netflix
Catch "It's Okay to Not be Okay" on Netflix this June 20, 2020. There will be two new episodes weekly, to be released every Saturday and Sunday.
Lead photo by Chun Youngsang for Netflix | Other photos courtesy of Netflix