Shin Sung Rok Talks About Ratings Competition For “Kairos,” Working With Lee Se Young Again, And More
In “Kairos,” which wrapped up on December 22, Shin Sung Rok played Kim Seo Jin, a man who has lost his daughter and ends up making contact with Han Ae Ri (Lee Se Young), a woman living one month in the past and searching for her missing mother.
Although “Kairos” received critical praise for being a well-made drama, the ratings were relatively low, staying in the 3 percent range for most of its run. In Newsen, Shin Sung Rok said, “It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the ratings. But as you know, our drama wasn’t the kind of show that you could start in the middle and understand what was happening. The drama had a complex plot that sparked questions about what was happening even for people who watched every episode. But if we didn’t do that, then the storyline wouldn’t have been complete. So we chose to have the complex storyline instead. Instead of something that was just easy to watch, we wanted to have a story that viewers could solve along with the characters. That’s why it was hard for the viewership to rise higher once it had begun. Ratings are somewhat like a report card, so there is a bit of disappointment, but I was also satisfied to receive praise from many quarters.”
One of the reasons that “Kairos” struggled with ratings was the major success of SBS’s “The Penthouse,” its competitor in the time slot (both aired on Monday-Tuesday evenings, although Kairos started 30 minutes earlier). Shin Sung Rok had previously worked with the director of “The Penthouse,” Joo Dong Min, along with cast members Bong Tae Gyu and Yoon Jong Hoon, in the 2018 drama “Return.”
In Star News, Shin Sung Rok said, “I’m still close enough with all of them that we go out drinking sometimes, so it was obvious that we would cheer each other on. I actually spoke with Joo Dong Min often while I was filming ‘Kairos,’ and we each shared what we were up to. We also said that we would meet up after we finished filming. We ended up competing in the same time slot, but they are people whom I am always cheering for, so I congratulate them sincerely on their project doing well.”
Shin Sung Rok also reunited with Lee Se Young after working on the drama “Trot Lovers” together six years ago. In the Newsen interview, he said, “When I met her six years ago, she was making the transition from a child actor to an adult actor. It’s a transition that carries a lot of fear and dread. But when I met her in this project, she had fully matured as a lead actor, so she didn’t need any help in order to carry the drama forward. In fact, there were times when I ended up depending on her professionalism. She is a junior and a colleague in whom I have a lot of pride and from whom I have a lot to learn. Even though it was our first reunion in six years, she was so friendly that I think we’d get along whenever we meet again.”
He also praised his co-stars Ahn Bo Hyun, Nam Gyu Ri, and Kang Seung Yoon. About Ahn Bo Hyun, he said, “I met him for the first time on this project and he’s such a great person. He always wants to learn more, he keeps an open mind, and throws himself into discussions because he wants to do something new. I really liked his passionate attitude toward his work. He also takes good care of himself, so I felt like I had a lot to learn from him. He’s someone I would want to work with again.”
About Nam Gyu Ri, he said, “I think that she is a bit of a method actress. In order to play the role of someone in despair after losing her daughter, she didn’t talk much on set and got absorbed in her character, so I felt a lot of compassion for her. I thought that she was a really hard worker.”
About Kang Seung Yoon, he said, “Through this drama, I learned that there are so many people who have a lot of passion toward acting and a dedication toward learning their craft. He always wants to do well, and when things don’t go his way, you can see how frustrated he is. I was taken aback by that level of passion he had toward acting. On set, he seemed like a mischievous guy and we got along well, but when it came to his attitude toward acting, he was completely professional and hardworking.”
Watch “Kairos” below!