Last year was a remarkable one for actress Lee Yoo-ri, who nabbed the grand prize at the MBC Drama Awards for her infamous role as Yeon Min-jung in TV drama "Here Comes Jangbori."
While people still recall her heartless character, the 35-year-old is poised for her new role in the upcoming tvN series "Super Daddy Yeol," which will hit the airwaves Friday.
Lee plays Cha Mi-rae, a successful doctor and single mom of a 9-year-old child. Cha is diagnosed with terminal-stage cancer. Soon after she hears the tragic news, she goes on a mission to find her daughter Cha Sa-rang (Lee Rae) a father before she leaves.
It is at this juncture that she encounters ex-boyfriend Han Yeol (Lee Dong-gun), who has remained single ever since she broke his heart 10 years ago.
"Cha Mi-rae is a cold-hearted character, but when it comes to her child, she is willing to sacrifice everything," said Lee Yoo-ri on Monday at news conference for the drama in Seoul. "She is also short-tempered."
Lee admitted that she felt some pressure in selecting her next project after receiving such a big award. Nevertheless, she feels like it is a new beginning: "I am (taking part in the) filming (of) this drama with the mindset of a rookie actress."
Lee Dong-gun ("My Boyfriend is Type B," "Marry Him If You Dare") portrays a grungy, irritable 35-year-old single man, the complete opposite of his persona as a dandy.
"He is very outdated, less refined and simple-minded, which is actually similar to my real personality," said Lee. "I enjoy wearing sweatpants."
The 34-year-old actor plays the rehabilitation coach of a major league baseball team. Lee said that he consulted with real athletes to prepare for the role. "I like sports and I am aware that rehabilitation is such a strenuous process requiring painful, highly repetitive exercises in order to repair an injury," he said.
The 16-part drama is based on the eponymous webtoon and directed by Song Hyun-wook ("Marriage, Not Dating").
"It's a drama with both tears and comedy as different people ― who are like water and oil ― get together to form a family," said Song.
While there have been many medical dramas in the past, rehabilitation-themed dramas were less prevalent, says the director. "Rehabilitation is a matter of survival," said Song. "It's hard for the body, but even more, the sense of loss is weighty, especially for the athletes who were at the peak of their career."
"Han Yeol is a rehabilitation coach and Cha Mi-rae is a doctor," said Song. "Just like they both heal people, I hope the drama cures viewers' hearts and gives them hope."
"Super Daddy Yeol" begins airing this week on tvN on Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m.