Why Parasite star Choi Woo-shik felt more pressure starring in Netflix K-drama Our Beloved Summer than Oscar-winning film that was global hit

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By Lee Gyu-lee

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After being catapulted to global fame in the Oscar-winning film Parasite in 2019, actor Choi Woo-shik has been busy playing lead roles in movies like the dystopian thriller Time to Hunt (2020), and even took a stab at a Korean television reality show by appearing in Youn’s Stay last year.

Also last year, the actor returned to the small screen playing the lead role in the romantic comedy series Our Beloved Summer. The last time he appeared in a TV drama was about four years ago when he played a supporting role in the TV series The Package.

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“There was enormous pressure [in leading]. As the premiere day came closer, the burden felt heavier every day. The feedback for the series is completely different than the feedback I would get from starring in a film,” Choi told The Korea Times.

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(From left) Choi Woo-shik, Song Kang-ho, Chang Hyde-jin and Park So-dam in a still from Parasite. Photo: CJ Entertainment

“You are getting responses for each episode and there are so many different views and reviews from audience members ranging in different ages, so I felt a lot of pressure.”

Based on the webcomic of the same name by Han Kyoung-chal, the romance series, which ended on January 25, revolves around a free-spirited illustrator, Choi Ung (Choi), and a workaholic PR specialist, Kook Yeon-su (Kim Da-mi), who used to be high-school sweethearts.

When a documentary they filmed during high school resurfaces and goes viral online, the two are forced back into each other’s lives five years after their break-up to film a follow-up documentary. The series was directed by newcomer Kim Yoon-jin and written by scriptwriter Lee Na-eun.

The series saw a rather disappointing rating after kicking off, with a 3.2 per cent viewership rating on December 6. However, the subtle, realistic coming-of-age story of the couple going through a heartbreaking separation and a heartwarming reconciliation, and the actors’ compelling performances, led to the drama’s increasing popularity on Netflix.

Our Beloved Summer ranked fourth on Netflix’s official weekly top 10 charts for non-English TV shows in the second week of January after debuting on the chart in December.

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Choi appeared in Korean reality show Youn’s Stay. Photo: tvN

Choi said he fell in love with the series after reading the script. “I really loved the series’ script. After reading it, I had to get on board. I was dying to take the role,” he said.

The character projected the serene, natural image Choi displayed through reality shows (the writer said she took references from watching Choi on Summer Vacation), and he said his main focus in creating his character was to look natural.

“I felt like if I get overly eager and try to add elements to my character, it would look awkward. So I tried to be as natural as possible when getting into the role. I had faith in the script, co-star, and the director, so I just followed what was written on the script,” he said, adding he really enjoyed working with the series’ staff and actress Kim.

Choi said it was satisfying to take the lead role in a romantic comedy series for the first time since Hogu’s Love in 2015.

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Playing the lead role again in a romantic comedy series was important to Choi. Photo: Instagram

“I’ve been playing roles in which my characters either kill someone or get killed, or run away from something and struggle to survive. So playing this kind of tender, heartwarming character was really satisfying. I hope to continue to take part in stories that depict realistic romance,” he said. However, he will focus on getting a good rest before picking his next project.

Read the full story at The Korea Times.

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