Chae Jong Hyeop Opens Up About “Unlock My Boss,” His Epilepsy Diagnosis, Upcoming Military Enlistment, And More
Chae Jong Hyeop has spoken about “Unlock My Boss,” how his epilepsy diagnosis impacts his enlistment, and more!
Based on the original webtoon of the same name, ENA’s “Unlock My Boss” is a unique comedy thriller that depicts the story of Park In Sung (Chae Jong Hyeop), an unemployed job-seeker whose life changes after he picks up a smartphone that speaks to him and gives him orders. This smartphone has trapped the soul of Kim Sun Joo (Park Sung Woong), the CEO of a big IT corporation called Silver Lining, and the story follows Park In Sung’s journey to infiltrate the CEO’s office to find the truth.
On January 12, “Unlock My Boss” aired its finale and garnered an average nationwide rating of 1.4 percent, maintaining its all-time high score from the previous two episodes. This past week, Chae Jong Hyeop chat with Star News about the drama’s conclusion and much more.
The actor shared, “I feel both sad and refreshed now that the drama has ended. ‘Unlock My Boss’ was a particularly special and meaningful project. The set atmosphere was also great. It was the first set where the director asked for my opinions and I was able to showcase everything I had. Thanks to that, I was able to move around freely within the [camera] frame.”
On his love line with Seo Eun Soo, Chae Jong Hyeop commented, “In the drama, she appears as an AI-like character but that’s the complete opposite of her real personality. She’s kind, bright, and positive. I was thankful that she approached and talked to me first.”
Touching on their kiss scene, Chae Jong Hyeop explained that while you could only see their silhouettes in the scene, Ahn Nae Sang told them, “Since this is a good thing anyway, just get close and work hard.” Chae Jong Hyeop added, “Seo Eun Soo and I filmed while laughing together. It was hard because of the laughter but since Seo Eun Soo is so good, we were able to film in one try.”
Despite how much on-screen interaction his character gets with Park Sung Woong, Chae Jong Hyeop revealed that the two actors only filmed together near the end of the drama. “When I met with Park Sung Woong near the end, it felt like, ‘the drama is completed, at last.’ I was curious about every scene he acted in. I wanted to try acting with him so I feel very regretful that I wasn’t able to.”
The accomplished young actor, who recently won Best New Actor at the 2022 KBS Drama Awards, surprised the interviewer when he revealed that he didn’t have a big dream while growing up. Chae Jong Hyeop explained, “My biggest desire was to live without regret while feeling happy and joyful, but I mostly lived life as I was told without much of a dream.” He then revealed that his first dream was to become a model, but his goals switched once he was given the opportunity to act.
Chae Jong Hyeop then shared how studying abroad since the ninth grade helped shape his personality. He explained that while he was initially bewildered by his parents suddenly sending him to study in Thailand and South Africa, it served as an opportunity for him to develop his self-reliance and make decisions on his own.
Now, Chae Jong Hyeop has a clear life goal of being a happy and healthy person. He elaborated with a smile, “Our filming director gifted me a book of poems and in there were the words, ‘I am a good place to stay.’ The moment I saw that, it became my goal and dream. As an actor or as a person.”
As Chae Jong Hyeop is now quickly approaching his thirties, the actor spoke candidly about enlisting in the military. He revealed that he has been diagnosed with epilepsy and has been approved to fulfill his military duties as a Wartime Labor Service Agent. This corresponds to Grade 5 in the Military Manpower Administration’s physical examination, where Grades 1-3 are qualified for active service. Chae Jong Hyeop stated that he first experienced symptoms of epilepsy when he was studying abroad and was officially diagnosed in 2018.
He shared, “There were a few times when I’d collapse while foaming at the mouth. When I got my physical examination [to enlist], I received a Grade 4 [meaning he is unfit for active duty], but if you don’t enlist within four years, you have to take another test. The military is a sensitive topic. That’s why I also wanted to be fully recovered but my reexamination date was decided so I got an electroencephalography [EEG] and they said I had epilepsy. I’m still taking medication now.”
Now that Chae Jong Hyeop is five years into his debut, he commented, “I know I’m lacking because I got here too quickly. That’s why I’m working that much harder.” He continued, “I am working tenaciously and diligently. I do not think of myself as the main character. I’ve just taken on the role of a character. Of course I know that I must take responsibility, but my desire to create along with all the actors and staff is greater.”
Following “Unlock My Boss,” Chae Jong Hyeop is currently in talks to reunite with his “Stove League” co-star Park Eun Bin in a new romantic comedy.
Check out “Unlock My Boss” below!