[Press Conference] Song Kang and Han So-hee discuss complicated romance, their chemistry and more for their drama Nevertheless
“Netflix’s son” Song Kang (Navillera, Sweet Home) and Han S0-hee (The World of the Married) star in the upcoming adaptation of Nevertheless, a popular Naver webtoon-turned-drama. So-hee plays Yu Na-bi, a college student who doesn’t believe in love but still wants to date. On the other hand, Park Jae-eon (Song Kang) enjoys flirting with many women but doesn’t want to date exclusively. Despite their differences, the young art students find themselves attracted to each other, despite knowing their romance may not end well.
Fans of the original webtoon loved the hyper-realistic romance that reflects modern dating, and together with the drama director Kim Ga-ram, the two stars discussed their on-set chemistry, steamy scenes, the challenges of filming, and how they hope audiences will resonate with the story.
Q: This is a hyper-realistic romance and is a very frank story of young people, so can you give a detailed introduction to the series?
Kim Ga-ram: This series, Nevertheless, is about something that we all come across when we’re in a relationship, the question of “What am I doing?” That is the essence of our series, we always take the risk and go into relationships, then we get hurt and think we don’t want to love, but then we find ourselves trying to find love once again nevertheless. I hope the series will help remind the viewers of how it felt to be young and in love and we want to tell the stories of those who risk themselves and jump into love. I hope Na-bi will resonate with the viewers and I think the audience will understand why she’s not able to end her romance with Jae-on, while still rooting for her.
Q: Recently a lot of typical romance dramas didn’t do as well compared to more dramatic, provocative dramas. What do you hope will be the key to success for Nevertheless?
Kim Ga-ram: I think romance is an extension of our daily lives and I want to convey that through this show. Up to now a lot of drama series focused on the fantasy side of romance, as we turn to content to escape real life. I’m a huge fan of the original webtoon and I really truly related to the despair and the bitterness of romance, which I think differentiates our story to other romance dramas.
Q: Song Kang you’ve been very busy, so what attracted you to Nevertheless?
Song Kang: When I first read the script, though it may seem like a normal college romance, I truly felt it was different. You still get the sweet romance that we typically expect, but also elements that set it apart and make it stand out.
Q: You starred in Navillera with veteran actor Park In-hwan and you had great chemistry with him. How is it different this time?
Song Kang: I think with him, it was almost like a form for me to learn (how to be a better actor) on Navillera and so I learnt a lot on set. The chem this time can be described as a great friendship, the kind I think we were able to create a relationship and relate to each other as we’re the same age and therefore create a connection with the young characters.
Q: Han So-hee, you made a strong impression on viewers after The World Of The Married. Why did you choose to act in this?
Han So-hee: I am a huge fan of the original webtoon, and like Director Kim said, I felt like this series focused on types of emotions anyone goes through when in love, and it was a completely different type of romance. I felt it was a great opportunity for me at my age as an actress.
Q: There’s a lot of buzz with the similarities in looks between you and Nabi. What was it like working on this?
Han So-hee: A lot of people told me this is a complete switch from my previous role (in TWOTM), and approaching this role with Nabi, because I share a lot of similarities with her, it was close to home and therefore less of a ‘transformation’, which meant I could focus and channel myself into her.
Q: What kind of side of you do you think the audience see through the drama?
Han So-hee: I don’t know if it could be called charm, but I hope that the aud will find her relatable and that the story I tell through her is able to resonate with lots of people and I try to make it as realistic as poss and I wanted to be as real an draw in bringing the emotions of my character.
Q: Director Kim, the webtoon has a wide fanbase so people were very curious who would be cast. What did you think of when casting?
Kim Ga-ram: First, I didn’t put my time into picking out the cast as after reading the original, I immediately thought of Han So-hee and Song Kang. It seems like I’m lying but I’m not, so I tried really hard to cast these two hot, rising stars. I asked them multiple times to work together with me and thankfully both of them really like the webtoon and said yes.
Q: How was it drawing out their charms when acting?
Kim Ga-ram: So-hee and Nabi are like one character to me, so I didn’t have to direct her in a certain way as I thought she was Nabi herself. For Song Kang, people think he’s different in real life from Jae-on so they wondered how he could pull off the character as Song Kang is very innocent. Despite this, both he and Jae-on are very attractive and I didn’t need to give him too much direction; Kang has been handsome his whole life and I think he would have lived a similar life to Jae-on. I said I want you to put your life in this character plus one spoon of Jae-on.
Q: There was so much hype about how you look like your characters, so you must have felt a lot of pressure. What do you think your score is for looking like the characters?
Han So-hee: Maybe 50%? Nabi knows that this is a dangerous relationship but she falls into it anyway; in the past I would have acted like her, but now I’ve been though it, I resonate with her and feel sympathetic for her, but I wouldn’t do it.
Q: In order to appear identical to the character, were there any areas you focused on?
Han So-hee: Na-bi feels these feelings towards Jae-on which I feel is very instinctive, nevertheless she’s drawn to him, so I wanted to make sure I act instinctively so I really focused on ths. Emotions change all the time so I talked to the producer all the time, as when I have new feelings arising I try to incorporate that into the scene.
Song Kang: When I look at Jae-on he looks like a nice guy but he’s got a very sharp, icy feel to him and I wanted to convey this. I thought I wanted to look sharper so I dieted and lost around 5kg.
Q: Was it hard to act as Jae-on?
Song Kang: Jae-on doesn’t really say how he really feels so I thought it was kind of difficult to portray his emotions, as well as the lines. His anger, sadness, happiness isn’t shown through him so I put a lot of thought into it and talked to director Kim a lot to pull it off.
Q: How did you feel when you knew you were acting together?
Song Kang: I thought from appearance and her expressions she was like Na-bi , and she’s also got an ambiance and she’s very frank. So I was very surprised and happy to know she was my costar.
Han So-hee: I also thought he was very similar to Jae-on. Before the drama there were a lot of online polls and fan picks for the casting and I thought he’d be a great pick. Song Kang has a bubbly character, and his charms are very different from Jae-on since he’s very pure (in real life), so that contrast makes him more charming.
Q: Can you complement each other?
Song Kang: I would say she’s very flexible in terms of attitude. Whatever I throw at her in terms of acting, she responds well.
Han So-hee: In real life, his similarities to Jae-on helped me a lot. Every time Song Kang arrived on set, I felt the energy he brought brightened everyone up and I was also to perform my best due to his great energy.
Q: PK what do you think about their chemistry?
Kim Ga-ram: I think there was amazing chemistry, not just personally but from an actor’s point of view. They are great colleagues and played off the energy they have. I liked giving direction to them and I told them not to think too much and just to play off the natural chemistry they feel. Every time I’d see them really get into their roles and focus on the scene, I became a viewer not a director and this made me excited to see the final result.
Q: Jae-on is handsome, talented and an art school ‘idol’. Were you ever interested in art?
Song Kang: Jae-on works a lot with iron and metal. I also tried to learn how to work with metal and later glass art and I was hooked – I loved it. Now I am trying to pick it up as a hobby after we finish the series.
Q: What was it like learning about art and were there instructors who said you’re both talented?
Song Kang: Yes! There were instructors and at first it was daunting but as I got into it, the process, the structure – it was just so interesting.
Han So-hee: While filming, there are some drawings I drew myself. In Nabi’s home, you can see some of my past drawings.
Kim Ga-ram: As this is a set in art school we needed lots of background art pieces, so Song Kang needed classes but So-hee didn’t need classes as she’s already good with art. In the show, there is a scene where Na-bi is drawing – So-hee drew it herself.
Q: Why are some episodes are R-rated?
Kim Ga-ram: Firstly when we say R-rated you think it could be something very ‘colourful’ but it’s not what you think; it’s what 19 year old people do. It’s something that those aged below 19 shouldn’t watch so that’s why it’s R-rated and you’ll understand when you see it for yourself.
Q: Were there lines/scenes that were very heart-fluttering?
Song Kang: I think everyone’s scenes are heart fluttering, especially Jae-on’s lines. I think it’s the moment he first sees Na-bi, anything that’s a first always gets stuck in your mind.
Q: Any message for the viewers when watching?
Song Kang: All the characters have their own personalities, character, and love stories. That is something you should focus on when watching.
Han So-hee: Anyone who’s ever been in love knows what kind of feelings you have to go through when in love. So when you watch, you may reminisce about past love, and maybe some people can start falling in love again. Sometimes in relationships we don’t know if its love and that ambiguous feeling is something Na-bi carries and I hope people can relate to her, and look through her to see if what she’s feeling is actually love.
Kim Ga-ram: We made a webtoon into a drama and people are curious if there will be differences in the drama. I think we did a great job – I hope you stay tuned and we’re open to any feedback, good or bad.
Stay tuned for the sizzling chemistry and be sure to check out Nevertheless when it premieres on 20 June at 12AM MYT with new episodes every Saturday and Sunday, only on Netflix.