In Conversation with Park Hyung-sik and Jeon So-nee of “Our Blooming Youth”
A crown prince, a too-smart-for-her-time girl from a noble family, a destined love, and an intriguing mystery: these are the main ingredients behind the success of Our Blooming Youth, the new historical drama produced by Studio Dragon, which premiered on February 6th on tvN, and is also available – in selected regions – on Amazon Prime Video and Viki.
The Korean name of the drama is 청춘월담 (Chungchoonwoldam), which literally translates to “A Tale of Youth”. Park Hyung-Sik wears, for the second time in his career, the robe of a crown prince of the Joseon era. After the success of Hwarang, he’s now playing the role of Lee Hwan, a mysterious prince who holds the secret to a mysterious curse. His leading partner is Min Jae-yi, a clever girl who pursues the truth while being framed for the murder of her relatives, played by Jeon So-nee.
Park Hyung-Sik is well-known not only for being a member of the K-pop band ZE:A (currently on hiatus), but also for memorable dramas such as Strong Girl Bong-soon, The Heirs, and Happiness. In Our Blooming Youth, he masterfully portrays the role of a cursed crown prince, showing his ability to select a suitable range of emotions to display on the screen.
The true revelation, though, is Jeon So-Nee, a rising star of the Hallyu wave. She starred in dramas such as Encounter (with Park Bo-Gum) and When My Love Blooms (with Yoo Ji-tae and GOT7’s Jinyoung), however, this was her first experience in a period drama. Jeon So-Nee is being praised for her ability to not fall into the tricky trap of portraying an independent woman in historical clothes. She’s not only convincing as a damsel (though not in distress), but also delivers a credible performance of a woman from the Joseon era.
Recently, View of the Arts spoke to both actors in an exclusive interview.
It’s nice to meet you! And congratulations on this new role. If you had to describe Lee Hwan and Min Jae-Yi, what would you say about them?
Park Hyung-sik: Thank you. I played the role of Lee Hwan, a crown prince under a mysterious curse. I was drawn to him because he has many stories to narrate and various emotions to express.
Jeon So-hee: Min Jae-yi is the daughter of a respected father from a prestigious family. Her curiosity has left her in various situations since she was young. She has no choice but to hide within the palace walls by pretending to be a eunuch. I respect her for finding her own path while staying true to her values, even though it was a difficult period for women. To do this, she masters literary and martial arts.
Park Hyung-Sik, this is the first time since Hwarang that you have worn the clothes of a royalty from the past. How do you prepare for these kinds of roles?
In order to prepare for such roles, I consider the hierarchies, relationships, and properties that existed back then and, sometimes, adjust them so that they fit within the framework of the drama.
Jeon So-Nee, in the drama, you are a soon-to-be wife, and your world collapses under false accusations that are made against you. How much do you think Min Jae-yi’s brilliance impacted her destiny?
It’s interesting how people can step outside their boundaries and overcome their limits for the people they love. Not only does Min Jae-yi care about her own well-being, but she also wants to investigate her family’s unfortunate fate, and I believe this is what keeps her going. She is brilliant and gifted, as well as loyal and sincere, so she learns to cooperate with others and move forward. I trust Jae-yi to reach her destination without giving up.
If you could describe this drama with one object, scent, and piece of clothing, what would they be?
Park Hyung-sik: The cursed letter from the ghost, the scent of nature, and Yongpo [the king’s robe].
Jeon So-hee: A dagger, the scent of peony blossoms, and a hanbok stained with blood immediately come to my mind. What a lovely question! With these, I could recall the main storyline of Our Blooming Youth. The dagger represents Jae-yi’s courage, which she holds onto as she sets out on her journey until she reaches her destination. The scent of peony blossoms erases her memories and, later, helps her find them back. The hanbok stained with blood is what she wears during the moment in which she lets go of her life as Jae-yi.
Park Hyung-Sik, what is the truth that Lee Hwan is searching for, and how much will he grow during his journey with Min Jae-yi?
Lee Hwan is cursed by a letter from a ghost and begins a journey with Min Jae-yi to seek the truth behind it. Along the way, he feels emotions he has long forgotten about, such as longing, love, and friendship. You will see him grow throughout his journey.
Jeon So-Nee, what is the truth that Min Jae-yi is searching for, and how much will she grow during her journey with Lee Hwan?
She starts out searching for the truth behind the mysterious death of her family, but after she meets Lee Hwan, she delves deeper into the lies and schemes fabricated by those around her. Her journey with Lee Hwan leads her to seek the common good rather than her personal interests, as well as to rely on and care for her friends. I believe this is a significant step forward.
The drama comes with a quote: “I need to protect you, and you [need to protect] me.” What does Lee Hwan/Min Jae-yi want to protect, and what does Park Hyung-Sik/Jeon So-Nee wish to protect?
Park Hyung-sik: Lee Hwan wants to protect his people, and I, Park Hyung-Sik, want to protect the people I care about.
Jeon So-hee: Min Jae-yi wishes to protect her morals, the truth, and the happiness of her loved ones. When I think about it, Jeon So-nee also wishes the same thing. Each one of us has our own beliefs and views on life, as well as the people we love. We all wish to stay true to ourselves as we interact with the rest of the world and protect the people we love.
Written and interviewed by Marianna Baroli
View of the Arts is a British online publication that chiefly deals with films, music, and art, with an emphasis on the Asian entertainment industry. We are hoping our audience will grow with us as we begin to explore new platforms such as K-pop / K-music, and Asian music in general, and continue to dive into the talented and ever-growing scene of film, music, and arts, worldwide.