Press Conference for K-drama ‘Start-Up’

About the drama..

Director Oh Choong-hwan : As you can see from the title, it’s “Start-Up.” It’s encouraging and people who want to go up will go up as they start out. All four of them will go through a challenge and they all grow up in the sand box.

Director Oh Choong-hwan : The whole thought process behind the story began two years ago. A story about starting a business, a story about youth starting up a business. I wanted to create something about that.

About the casting..

Director Oh Choong-hwan : 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. Nam Joo-hyuk had a memorable performance in The Light in Your Eyes. He showed a very memorable performance there and the writer had been very taken with him. We thought he’d be perfect for a developer who grows by relationships and grows by meeting different people.

Director Oh Choong-hwan : 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. 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. Last but not least, they’re all so good-looking.


Why they chose to work on Start-Up and their characters..

Suzy : I was drawn to the story and the complex relationships. Start-Up felt original and fresh. I also enjoyed the encouraging message for youths. I worked with writer Park Hye-ryun for my first appearance in a TV drama, so we have a meaningful relationship. I’m excited to work with her again and hopefully as a more mature actress this time. That’s why I wanted to be in this drama.

Nam Joo-hyuk : Regarding Nam Do-san, I felt like his character was still incomplete when I first read the synopsis. So I thought that I could add more to this character and fill the void together if I took on this role. The character seems a bit lacking, but as the story unfolds he grows. I saw some overlapping relationships with my character. We are around the same age, so I could feel what he’s feeling. I wanted to grow together with Do-san.

Kim Seon-ho : 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.

Kang Han-na : 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.

Nam Joo-hyuk

Story about youth..

Director Oh Choong-hwan: I was surprised to see many shows of similar genres among K-dramas. I think it reflects viewers’ desires to watch heart-fluttering stories about youth. 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.

Kim Seon-ho

Preparations for portraying character..

Kang Han-na : In-jae is a CEO who works really hard and a thorough businesswoman. 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.

Kim Seon-ho : My character is the epitome of a rich and successful person. Our writer is very thorough. She also gave me a lot of reference materials. I thought about what kind of speech style my character would have too.

Nam Joo-hyuk : 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. When I get nervous in real life, I tremble so I used that in my acting.

Suzy : Joo-hyuk himself is an adorable nerd.

Suzy : My character Dal-mi meets a lot of different people. I looked at the script a lot to portray how different she is when she interacts with different people including her first love Do-san, her grandmother, mother, and others. The “start-up” concept was also not very familiar for me, so I looked up some young CEOs as well.

Kang Han-na

On their chemistry..

Nam Joo-hyuk : When I first heard about the casting, I really looked forward to acting with Suzy. In the beginning, we don’t have a lot of scenes together but when we met, we had good chemistry.

Director Oh Choong-hwan : I want to give myself a pat on the back for casting these two. I look at them on screen and hope to myself that the world remembers these two beautiful and sparkling people on the screen together. It’s not that there’s anything special, it’s just sunlight on these two people and it’s beautiful. I hope the audience will be able to identify and enjoy these people growing together.

Suzy : When I first heard about his casting and when we were on set, there was a lot of good energy. He had a lot of good energy as well and it created good synergy between us. He’s Do-san himself and I was able to immerse myself in my role because of him. He’s bright and bubbly.

About balancing his variety show 2 Days & 1 Night and the drama..

Kim Seon-ho : The creators were all very considerate of me and my schedule, so I had no worries regarding that. I do worry that people who have seen me in the variety series might feel awkward when they see my character Han Ji-pyeong. I hope they will get used to my character with time and they can enjoy both me and my character 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.

Director Oh Choong-hwan : I’m also a fan of his show. I watch 2 Days & 1 Night He doesn’t know this, but I actually met with the show’s creators to talk about what kind of person Kim Seon-ho is. Hearing from the creators, I got to know about him more and got a good feeling about him.

How are the actors similar to their characters..

Director Oh Choong-hwan : When I work on drama series and when the talent gets on set, I believe it’s important to create a space on set where they feel comfortable to do their art. All the actors feel like their characters to me. They really embodied their characters.

Character conflict/chemistry..

Kang Han-na : My character In-jae and Dal-mi have a rivalry and there is a lot of subtle conflict going on between the two of us. Suzy, as we all know, is so loveable so it was difficult for me to bring my claws out to the character Dal-mi. While we are sisters who hate each other, on set we have a great friendship and I hope you can look forward to the chemistry between us.

Suzy : In-jae is a very cold person, but Han-na is a bubbly and loveable person so there was some confusion for me between the real Han-na and the character In-jae. While we had to maintain some tension between us, there were times when we broke out of character and laughed.

Nam Joo-hyuk : Do-san and Ji-pyeong have a difficult relationship if it were something in real life. Do-san is not someone you see every day. As I did my lines, sometimes I myself came out. There are some times when I felt sorry toward Ji-pyeong for saying these lines as Do-san. Those were times we had to film again because it was so funny and we broke out into laughter.

Kim Seon-ho : I met Joo-hyuk through this series. He’s sincere and real about everything. Everything he does feels so real. I would just follow along with that energy and it was really fun. For chemistry, mutual trust is really important. Sometimes he would improvise and it would be Do-san himself. It was amazing.

Director Oh Choong-hwan : First of all, our cast didn’t make many mistakes because they prepared well beforehand. However, there were some outtakes because of laughter. There were some improvised lines, but they would just look at each other and break out into laughter. It was very pleasant and people might see a different side of Joo-hyuk.

Closing comments..

Director Oh Choong-hwan : Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these are tough times not only for us, but for many people. However, working on this series actually comforted me and helped me heal. I feel that this is the kind of energy people who watch our drama will feel. I hope that viewers can feel comforted, heal some wounds, and cheer up people who are feeling down.

Suzy : 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 heart-warming story. I hope you can watch it with a warm and joyful heart.

Nam Joo-hyuk : Not only the cast members here, but also other cast members and everyone behind the scenes, I really am confident when I say that you’ll be able to see so many wonderful sides of so many wonderful people. I hope you can enjoy our drama series at home.

Kim Seon-ho : A few days ago, the director showed me an edited version of our series. I was taken aback by how beautiful, how encouraging and wonderful our scenes looked. I think it’s something the audience will feel. I hope you all enjoy.

Kang Han-na : Our drama series is truly a sparkling story that will create a fire in your hearts. It’s a good drama to watch with someone you love, your family, or even on your own. I hope you tune in for the first episode on the 17th.

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