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'I worried a lot my youthful charm wouldn't come through': Wi Ha-jun on playing first romantic lead role in new K-drama

'I worried a lot my youthful charm wouldn't come through': Wi Ha-jun on playing first romantic lead role in new K-drama
South Korean actors Jung Ryeo-won (left) and Wi Ha-jun.
PHOTO: Instagram/Wi Ha-jun

He’s done a lot of action shows, but now he’s taken a liking to more lighthearted genres.

In an interview with AsiaOne, South Korean actor Wi Ha-jun talked about his initial concerns filming the K-drama The Midnight Romance in Hagwon, which wrapped up with its finale on June 30.

“Even though my character Lee Jun-ho is a teacher, he used to be a student long ago and he’s also younger than Seo Hye-jin (played by Jung Ryeo-won). I often hear that I look older than my age and Ryeo-won looks too young,” the 32-year-old told us.

“I worried a lot that my youthful charm wouldn’t come through. That’s why I would sometimes wear bright clothes and let my hair down in the middle.”

Ha-jun rose to fame after playing a charismatic policeman in the hit 2021 series Squid Game. Since then, he’s starred in dramas centred around everything but romance – from the action-packed Bad and Crazy (2021) and The Worst of Evil (2023) to 2022’s mystery-thriller Little Women.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon marks Ha-jun’s long-awaited romantic lead role.

“I used to be more drawn to the action genre because I enjoyed physical activities and thought I was good at them. However, now I find romance genres appealing as well,” he said.

“I like bright romantic comedies and want to continue doing melodramas like The Midnight Romance in Hagwon. So, I think I'll continue to greet you often in the romance genre.”

‘I felt admiration rather than similarity’

In the drama, Jun-ho quits his job and returns to his former academy as an instructor. He meets his first love and previous instructor Hye-jin, and together they navigate the complexities of love and ambition.

While the job of an actor and a teacher may appear to have similarities – for one, the lack of personal time – Ryeo-won said the latter is the tougher profession.

“Even though actors can't always get enough sleep or proper meals during filming, they can take breaks when there's no shooting. Teachers at academies, on the other hand, seem to have a much more intense daily life,” the 43-year-old told AsiaOne.

“Their weekends and evenings, when others start resting, are often busier due to class preparations that are needed to stay competitive. I felt admiration rather than similarity between our professions.”

We also asked both actors about their favourite thing to do late at night.

“I enjoy reading books in bed and falling asleep. Alternatively, catching up on unwatched content on OTT (over-the-top) streaming services and then falling asleep is also nice. It's great knowing that unfinished tasks are waiting for me when I get home,” said Ryeo-won.

Ha-jun, on the other hand, enjoys watching his “favourite” martial arts videos on YouTube: “I love martial arts so much that watching them helps me relieve stress and feel healed. This ordinary way of relaxing, just like everyone else, is what I enjoy the most.”

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon is available on Viu.



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