Kim Tae Ri, Nam Joo Hyuk, WJSN’s Bona, And More Describe Their Chemistry In “Twenty Five, Twenty One” + How They Prepared For Their Roles
tvN’s “Twenty Five, Twenty One” is set in 1998 and tells the story of Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk) and Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri), who first meet when they are 22 and 18 years old and fall in love when they meet again at age 25 and 21.
The director shared, “It’s a youth drama that captures all emotions—the fun, beautiful, and sometimes sad emotions experienced by five young people whose dreams are taken away from them as they live through the 1998 IMF crisis.”
He added, “I think the names alone of actors Kim Tae Ri and Nam Joo Hyuk are advantages. I like the emotions these two have. All of their interpretations of the script and emotions they prepared worked out well. They were so well-prepared that I was actually receiving ideas [from the actors] instead of the other way around, so they helped me a lot during filming.”
“Twenty Five, Twenty One” is Kim Tae Ri’s first drama in three years and six months, after last appearing in “Mr. Sunshine.” She plays the role of Na Hee Do, a determined high school student and fencing athlete whose team gets disbanded because of the IMF crisis.
The actress commented, “The script was so fun. There are a lot of thriller genre [dramas] these days, and amidst all of those, this was a beautiful, heart-fluttering, and uplifting story. Hee Do is incredibly bright and energetic. I liked that she was a type of character I hadn’t played yet.”
“Twenty Five, Twenty One” also marks Kim Tae Ri’s second time working with “Mr. Sunshine” director Jung Ji Hyun, and she shared, “While doing ‘Mr. Sunshine,’ I had a good feeling about the director and have many good memories of him. I was really happy to meet him again. Right around when we had just started filming the drama, the director once said, ‘Hee Do, I’m really not sure.’ That honesty gave me a lot of faith in him. I liked talking about and communicating on aspects we weren’t sure of.”
Nam Joo Hyuk plays Baek Yi Jin, the eldest son of a family that is torn apart due to the IMF crisis. Despite his difficult background, he works hard to become a reporter.
As Nam Joo Hyuk has previously starred in projects of a similar youth genre, he commented, “Rather than think that I had to showcase a new charm through ‘Twenty Five, Twenty One,’ I paid a lot of attention to how I could colorfully portray Baek Yi Jin. I tried my best to make sure the character wasn’t limited to one frame and tried to bring out as many different colors in him as possible.”
Both Kim Tae Ri and Nam Joo Hyuk were asked to sum up their chemistry, to which Nam Joo Hyuk answered, “Youth itself.” Kim Tae Ri responded, “Naiveté,” explaining, “The unfamiliar things they’re trying for the first time will be a fun point.”
WJSN’s Bona will play national fencing athlete Go Yu Rim, who is Na Hee Do’s rival. She shared, “Since fencing is incredibly important to Yu Rim, I trained diligently before we began filming. Yu Rim is an incredibly colorful character. Since she showed a different side to every new character she met, I worried a lot [about how to play her]. That’s why I talked a lot with the director and my fellow actors and focused on finding [the identity of] Yu Rim.”
Choi Hyun Wook plays Moon Ji Woong, a fashion influencer in the late 1990s whose goal is to become “Today’s Member” on the social networking service Cyworld. He introduced Moon Ji Woong as “very positive and popular,” adding, “I wasn’t able to live that generation. Since it was before I was born, I researched it a lot. I even tried to accessorize well. I think fashion is all about confidence, so I worked hard to develop my confidence.”
Lee Joo Myung plays Ji Seung Wan, a student who loves to rebel despite being the class president with the highest grades in the school. She commented, “When I first saw the script, I read it thinking that Seung Wan would be very aloof, but I gradually learned that she was more honest about her feelings than anyone. That’s her greatest charm.”
Kim Tae Ri and Bona also shared stories from their fencing training to prepare for their roles. Kim Tae Ri explained, “About five or six months before we began filming the drama, I received lessons from a gold medalist. Fencing is a cool sport that also makes you miserable. Since I do everything with my heart and soul like Hee Do, I spent five months laughing and crying because of fencing.”
She continued, “Bona and I learned from the same teacher, and I got angry because I kept losing, so I did a lot of research. I wrote a diary everyday. That diary was then actually used as Hee Do’s diary in the drama, as a prop.”
Bona added, “I started about three months later than Tae Ri unnie, but she really practiced every single morning. Back then, we would laugh and cry while competing and getting lessons. That time became of a lot of help when we were filming. We’re both super competitive, so when one of us lost, we would schedule another competition for the following week.”
Director Jung Ji Hyun remarked, “The script is very clear. There are a lot of good lines, and those good lines were sincerely delivered by these five great actors and the other cast members. I hope you will watch while focusing on those aspects. When you reminisce on old memories with old friends, you’re bound to feel happy and excited, and I hope you feel that same happiness through watching our drama.”
Kim Tae Ri commented, “It’s a drama that shines bright. What you should focus on is ‘It has passed.’ Nothing lasts forever, but this is a good drama that allows you to feel the nostalgia that a past moment was very bright. Please watch it lots.”
Nam Joo Hyuk continued, “I hope this becomes a warm drama for viewers during this cold winter. I hope it becomes a sunny drama, just like the approaching spring.” Bona added, “It feels like I’ve made good life memories while filming. I hope viewers will feel the same way.”
Choi Hyun Wook shared, “Watching the highlight clip made me teary and emotional. It felt like I had actually lived through 1998. I think there’s a charm that makes you gradually fall deeper [into the drama].” Lee Joo Myung added, “The key point of our drama is the chemistry. I hope you look forward to our chemistry.”
tvN’s “Twenty Five, Twenty One” premieres on February 12 at 9:10 p.m. KST.
Watch Nam Joo Hyuk in “Bride of the Water God” here!