Q&A with the cast of K-drama It’s OK to Not Be OK

K-drama ‘It’s OK to Not Be OK’ initially received much attention in South Korea and globally as Kim Soo-hyun’s comeback piece,  but it also stood out because of it’s unusual title and plot lines.

For those not in the know, Kim Soo-hyun was released from his military service in July 2019 and has bided his time for the past year, till this current drama ‘It’s OK not to be OK’ came along.

Pic : Chun Youngsang for Netflix

The drama is not just a romantic comedy with mysterious and unusual characters, but also a human drama that heals the soul.

With a strong line-up of main characters such as Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Ye-ji and Oh Jung-se, combined with director Park Shin Woo’s skills, we believe that a great drama is in the making.

The team at K-popped! were invited by Netflix to attend an online press conference for ‘It’s OK to Not Be OK’. Check out the Q&A with the main casts below!

Kim Soo-hyun

Q : How would you describe your character in short?

Kim Soo-hyun: I am portraying a constantly weary character that appears stronger than anyone else when he’s with other people, but becomes weaker than others when he’s alone.

Seo Ye-ji: My character is a children’s book author who has an anti-social disposition. Her outward appearance and her heart is very cold like ice. While she only thinks of herself, she doesn’t have prejudice when she views other people.

Oh Jung-se: My character Sang-tae is his biological older brother (points at Kim Soo-hyun) and likes her (points at Seo Yea-ji). He is on the autism spectrum, he is Gang-tae’s biological brother, and he’s a huge fan of author Ko Mun-yeong. He is an innocent young man.


Seo Yea-ji

Q : Can you share an interesting or funny episode on set?

Kim Soo-hyun: There’s a scene where I teach the Butterfly Hug Method to Mun-yeong. It was the first scene where we have to be extremely close to one another. I was shaking and nervous. I think you’ll be able to see it in the broadcast.

Seo Ye-ji: Like Gang-tae said, the Butterfly Hug Method was the most memorable scene. Actually there haven’t been many big events that happened for Ko Mun-yeong yet. She’s only focused on Gang-tae and only thinks of herself, so I’m waiting for more episodes in the upcoming scripts.

Oh Jung-se: There’s a scene where Sang-tae has a convulsion, so Gang-tae hugs, embraces, and consoles him.

Kim Soo-hyun: I relied on that scene a lot and it personally gave me a feeling like I was entering a large and comfortable home, so this was the most memorable scene for me.


Oh Jung-se

Q : All of your characters are rather unusual. Has your character changed any prenotions you have about anything?

Kim Soo-hyun: It hasn’t been that long for me, but while acting I used to think that I had to feel sad first in order for viewers and the audience to feel emotionally moved. While filming​ ‘It’s OK to Not Be OK’, my thoughts on this changed a bit. I learned that even though I might not feel sad, viewers watching could feel very heart wrenchingly sad and could cry very sadly.

Seo Ye-ji: Usually people will make judgements after seeing one side of a person’s behavior and have prejudice. Ko Mun-yeong doesn’t have prejudice when she views people and since I’m acting like I have this trait, it became a turning point where I’m trying to be like that.

Oh Jung-se: I’m very cautious and I studied a lot about portraying the character Sang-tae. I try to deepen my approach to the character, but I think I’m still lacking a lot. Actually, even now some things… When I had an interview during the early half of the project, I said he is a character suffering from autism. I learned that this was a wrong expression. Saying that you’re suffering from something means you have an illness. However, autism isn’t an illness, but something you’re born with. I learned it’s correct to say he’s a character who was born with autism. Even though I studied intensely, I’m more careful and I think there’s more that I need to know. I am carefully doing my best to prepare well.


Q : This drama is a big project and highly anticipated. What are some aspects you paid the most attention to?

Kim Soo-hyun: As I said earlier, I keep describing my character as someone who appears very strong in front of people but is actually very weak when alone. I hope that many people can feel that pain together. I think I’ll be really happy if they can experience the pain together.

Seo Ye-ji: I especially paid attention to Ko Mun-yeong’s styling, her uniqueness, her hair and makeup, and her outfits. I also focused on Mun-yeong’s directness about her feelings for Gang-tae and the process of how it helps her heal.

Oh Jung-se: Sang-tae has specific behaviors and habits, but what I worry about and focus on most is his greatest charms: his innocence, his good-hearted nature, and his pureness. Traits that we’ve had in the past that have faded a bit with time. I think he’s a character that has a lot of innocence. I’m making efforts in this area in order to not miss out on that aspect.


Q : Gang-tae appears to put aside a lot of things just to take care of his older brother who has autism spectrum disorder. That must be emotionally draining at times. How did you prepare for your character? Any reference you considered?

Kim Soo-hyun : A little before starting filming, I met an actual caregiver at a ward. His body was very sturdy and you could see traces of experiences left on him. I observed these kinds of things and thought I need to make an effort to express these things since I don’t have these traits. Something I felt after observing him was that he always looked exhausted, kind of like how The Hulk always looks angry.


Q : Mun-yeong is a very strong character. How does it feel to portray a character who is refreshingly different from typical female drama characters?

Seo Ye-ji : One point of concern is that viewers might dislike the character at first. She only thinks of herself and is very selfish. I was worried about these points, but then she gradually improves on her ability to feel empathy as she listens to Gang-tae’s words and starts to sympathize and heal. I thought that viewers can look forward to this process and change in thinking of her positively. As for the fun part, I felt stress relief through expressing her honest feelings for the man she loves so much without any reservations. While acting, I am very outspoken to Gang-tae and this relieves my stress as I’m acting. Ko Mun-yeong always says “I have to get him” and “I want him” and it feels fun because it feels like resolving these things.


Q : Which areas do you pay most attention to while portraying someone who is an illustrator with ASD? How interesting or difficult is to play the role?

Oh Jung-se: As I mentioned earlier, Sang-tae is a character I approach cautiously and there were many things I had to pay attention to. The thing I paid the most attention to, as I said earlier, was his pureness and innocence. We also had these traits when we were younger, but as we live life they fade a bit. Sang-tae’s innocence, purity, and following his heart instead of his head are his greatest charms compared to other characters. So I thought about how to portray this innocence even though there isn’t a specific way to show it and I am trying to have this state of mind.


That’s all from our Q&A session with the main casts of ‘It’s OK not to be OK’. Thank you Netflix for the inviting us!

Lastly, we hope the drama receives much love and hits high ratings and views till the end of its run!

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