In Conversation with Jeon Do-yeon and Jung Kyung-ho of “Crash Course in Romance”
Crash Course in Romance proved that a K-drama doesn’t need extraordinary special effects to reach the hearts of its viewers.
Produced by Studio Dragon, the 16-episode show was broadcasted on tvN (available on Netflix in the UK) in the slot previously occupied by the hit drama Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow — a challenge for a production that was entirely different not only in style but also in its pace.
As described by the channel, Crash Course in Romance tells the story of “a woman with a heart of gold who navigates the cutthroat world of private education when her daughter tries to join a celebrity math instructor’s class”. The woman is played by the talented Jeon Do-yeon (General Hospital, Wish Upon a Star, The Good Wife). At her side, the celebrity math instructor is none other than Jung Kyung-ho (My Sweetheart, Prison Playbook, Hospital Playlist 1&2).
Why did an already-seen screenplay become such a breezy and appreciated viewing among Korean drama aficionados? Not being a classic, consuming romance was probably one of the reasons. The story itself is, in fact, like a comedy of errors where the characters are brought together over and over again by some external forces.
In my conversation with Jeon Do-yeon and Jung Kyung-ho, we had the chance to discuss how their characters, Nam Haeng-seon and Choi Chi-yeol, seem to be drawn to each other.
“I believe destiny finds those who work hard”, Jung Kyung-ho said. “If we sit back and do nothing, it does not find us. We have no choice but to work hard”.
Destiny seems to play a key role in Jeon’s life as well. “Destiny always finds a way to bring people together”, she commented, then added: “So, if you ask me if I believe in destiny, yes, I think I do”.
“Haeng-seon is positive and sensible. I admire her for living the life she has chosen”, the actress also said during our chat.
“It’s something that you share with your character”, I added.
“Yes”, she smiled, then continued: “Those who know me well have told me that Haeng-seon and I are cheerful, funny, and lovely”.
On the other side, sitting next to her, Jung Kyung-ho was laughing. The actor admitted that he had fun filming the drama, and he has delightful memories of playing the character.
“Chi-yeol is a star instructor, considered the best of the best in the world of private education”, he explained, adding that “He [the character] suffers from an eating disorder, but he eats, loves, and grows as he meets Haeng-seon”.
“If I have to find common traits too… well… we probably look alike”, Jung Kyung-Ho admitted with a chuckle.
The chemistry level between the two actors is undeniable and was one of the main reasons that the drama became an acclaimed success.
While talking with Jeon Do-yeon, we touched on the variety of feelings she had to portray on the screen.
“I read the screenplay many times so that I could express Haeng-seon’s words as my own”, she revealed. “I read the screenplay again and again until I could recite it in my sleep. It wasn’t easy to keep up with Haeng-seon’s energy and spirit”.
After all, the series portrays the competitive world of ambitious mothers and their student children in a whole different way from what we are used to seeing in dramas such as Penthouse or Sky Castle. Jeon’s character is not that of a high-class mom walking in stilettos and running a charity program. Nam Haeng-seon is a woman whose life has always been a challenge; she had to give up her dream to care for her niece – who became her adoptive daughter – and disabled brother while running a banchan shop.
“The strength of this drama is that it’s a story that many [might] be familiar with”, Jung Kyung-ho explained.
“You know, the story is almost like comfort food, and it’s something that stays in your memory and heart. Likewise, it’s a story that we are all used to, but it leaves an impression because we get to think about it in a new way”.
“As you watch Crash Course in Romance, I hope you can let go of your ‘chi-yeol’ life and focus ‘intensely’ on yourself [‘chi-yeol’ means ‘intense’ in Korean]”, Jung Kyung-ho summed up.
While wrapping up our conversation, I asked the leading couple what was the most memorable scene they shot.
“A place is more memorable than a scene”, Jeon Do-yeon told View of the Arts, then added: “Nation’s Best Banchan, is the place where my daughter Hae-e, my brother Jae-woo, and my friend Young-joo comforted me”.
“Writing on the chalkboard was memorable”, Jung Kyung-ho admitted candidly, and he carried on saying, “I’ve never had the experience of giving a lecture in front of 100 people, and the thought of me giving a lecture made me nervous, but I looked forward to that scene”.
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.
Loved this show- it was so well done with known and unknown new actors. It had a very human and warm side to the story