Scarlet Heart actor Kang Ha Neul is reel different

Sorry to destroy the fantasies of K-drama fan girls - the truth is, real life hardly imitates reel life.

Take it from South Korean actor Kang Ha Neul.

The 26-year-old is in town to promote Scarlet Heart, the highly-anticipated Korean adaptation of the massively popular 2011 Chinese fantasy period drama with the same name.

Kang, who was cheerful and affable during his press conference yesterday, said he is nothing like his character in Scarlet Heart.

In the 20-parter, he plays the stoic and ambitious Eighth Prince Wang Wook.

The prince falls in love with female protagonist Lee Ji Eun (South Korean singer and actress IU), who went back in time from the 21st century to the ancient Goryeo dynasty.

"I'm very ordinary, totally different from Wang Wook," Kang told local reporters via a translator.

"I'm not as smart, I'm not good in martial arts at all... To most people, I'm just a boy next door, a big brother to the young ones and a younger brother to my seniors."

Kang will hold a meet-and-greet session with fans at 5.45pm today in Punggol at Village Square, Level 1, Waterway Point. It is free and open to the public.

Scarlet Heart, which also stars Lee Joon Gi and Baekhyun of boy band EXO, will premiere on Monday the same time as in South Korea.

FANTASY: South Korean actors Kang Ha Neul (far right) and Lee Joon Gi in fantasy period drama Scarlet Heart. Photo: Youtube Screengrab

It will air every Monday and Tuesday at 9pm exclusively on ONE (Singtel TV Ch 513 and 604, StarHub TV Ch 124, 820 and 823).

Kang said: "I'm drawn to roles that bring out traits I don't have.

"The most appealing part about playing the Eighth Prince was portraying the change in his personality after he found romance.

"The Eighth Prince was initially really repressed. He suppressed a lot of his emotions because he felt he had to (behave like a) prince.

"But after meeting IU's Ji Eun and falling for her, he felt liberated. He felt the freedom to do the things he wanted."


Kang said he is aware of how well-received the original production of Scarlet Heart was.

"To be part of such a mega hit, I definitely felt pressure. Eventually, I told myself to just give it a go and enjoy myself. Only then can I do my best," he said.

He is confident the Korean version will outdo its predecessor in at least one aspect - the technical element.

He said: "We have taken the visuals a notch up. Visually, it is very attractive, from the camera angles to the use of colours."

This article was first published on Aug 27, 2016.
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