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INTERVIEWPark Ji-hoon, Choi Hyun-wook share how 'Weak Hero Class 1' became turning point

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Actors Park Ji-hoon, right, and Choi Hyun-wook, center, play lead characters in Wavve's new original series,
Actors Park Ji-hoon, right, and Choi Hyun-wook, center, play lead characters in Wavve's new original series, "Weak Hero Class 1." Courtesy of Wavve

Two actors play high schoolers who form unlikely friendship

By Lee Gyu-lee

Actors Park Ji-hoon and Choi Hyun-wook, the lead characters of Wavve's new original series, "Weak Hero Class 1," have said that taking part in this recent series has been a life-changing experience.

Actor Park Ji-hoon / Courtesy of Wavve
Actor Park Ji-hoon / Courtesy of Wavve
Based on the webcomic of the same name, the teen action series revolves around a smart, model high schooler, Si-eun (Park), who devotes his time to studying rather than socializing with his classmates.

One day, a laidback, athletic classmate, Ahn Su-ho (Choi), who is also an outsider himself, comes into Si-eun's lonely life. Along with a transfer student, Oh Beom-seok (Hong Kyung), the three form an unlikely friendship and together, cover each other's backs against bullies and violence during the trials and tribulations of school life.

The eight-part series is created by Han Jun-hee, who is known for leading the Netflix series, "D.P.," and it is directed by You Su-min, whose previous work includes the short film, "Thirsty."

"This is the first series I've shed blood, sweat and tears (literally) while filming, so I feel especially attached and have grown more fond of it … I feel this work has been a turning point in my life," Park told The Korea Times in an interview in central Seoul, Tuesday.

"Not that my previous work wasn't fun. But that's how much I've grown attached to 'Weak Hero.' I've learned a lot working on it and it has been really fun. Time flew by as I took part in this."

A scene from the series,
A scene from the series, "Weak Hero Class 1" / Courtesy of Wavve

Choi also said that he has learned to be more optimistic through his character, adding that he was drawn to the character ever since reading the script.

"I felt the character of Su-ho has grown more mature than the kids of his age through his experiences of real life from working (part-time). But I still thought this character could be spirited. Because this character is a type of friend you can come across in real life, I didn't try to portray him too dark," he said. "(My life) before and after 'Weak Hero' changed a lot. I've learned a lot from Su-ho and I'm thankful to meet him. I've become more positive and try to live every moment without regrets."

Actor Choi Hyun-wook / Courtesy of Wavve
Actor Choi Hyun-wook / Courtesy of Wavve
The series, which was released on Nov. 18, has been garnering attention on the platform, scoring this year's highest number of new subscribers on it.

Park shared that he was most excited to see comments about his performance as Si-eun in the series.

"One of the comments said, 'In this series, I see Si-eun, not Park Ji-hoon,' which was the first time I'd gotten such a compliment. That came as a very refreshing shock," he said. "It was something that I've been wanting to hear. It drives me to do better."

Si-eun longs for affection from his busy parents and Su-ho, who lives with his grandmother, are open toward each other and learn what it's like to have someone to rely on.

Park said that he used his own experience of becoming a solo artist, after the disbandment of the project boy group, Wanna One, to portray the loneliness of the character.

"I felt that Si-eun's loneliness was similar to the feelings I had when I sat down in the green room alone or when I had to act on my own after the group. I tried to piece the puzzle together like that," he said.

Choi added that he sympathized with his character, who hides his loneliness underneath his laidback, bright personality.

"I think the emptiness he saw in Si-eun's eyes triggered his curiosity. Beom-seok and Si-eun are depicted as lonely, but I also felt that Su-ho is also a very lonely kid," he said.

The series,
The series, "Weak Hero Class 1," was released on Nov. 18. Courtesy of Wavve
The two expressed that the three lead actors learned a lot from one another in terms of acting.

"(Choi, Hong, and I) didn't become close until later on, so that awkwardness between us is well portrayed at the beginning (of the series), which I liked. As the episodes went on, we all became so close, like the characters," Park said.

"I've learned a lot from the other two. Hong's acting is by-the-book. He takes time alone (to get into the character), which I learned that's how you should act. With Choi, he is very expressive even with just one line. He's full of ideas," Park continued.

Choi said that he learned to share energy with fellow actors to create a good scene.

"I learned to delicately put into acting the synergy that my fellow actors and I make. Each actor approaches acting differently and has a different definition for it," he said. "And getting to know other people and learning their way of acting was very interesting. That's one of the reasons why I love acting."

He added that this series has helped him grow and taught him to find the joys of discovering a new side of himself.

"'Weak Hero' has led me to become more mature. Now, I know that playing the character itself is meaningful rather than thinking about whether the work will be a hit or not," he said. "Acting has become even more fun. Discovering a new version of myself was really exciting. Looking back at myself after finishing this series, I feel that I've taken a step forward," Choi said.


Lee Gyu-lee gyulee@koreatimes.co.kr


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