Netflix’s newest Korean drama is coming to the streaming site next week, and it stars two of South Korea’s most notable stars today! It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, premiering this Saturday, June 20, is an unusual romance drama about two different people who, despite their differences, help heal each other’s wounds.
We got to join the two main leads of the drama – Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji – in a virtual press conference where they talked about what fans should look forward to from the new drama. Here are some things you need to know about It’s Okay To Not Be Okay before its premiere this Saturday:
The 16-episode drama centers on Moon Gang Tae, a caregiver working in a psychiatric ward who’s tasked to take care of his older brother Sang Tae, who’s on the autism spectrum. Fate leads him to meet the popular children’s book author Ko Mun Yeong, who’s extremely selfish and rude. As the two get closer with each other, an unusual romance forms between them, and they end up healing each other’s psychological and emotional wounds.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, according to Kim Soo Hyun, tells the stories of a variety of characters who all have different struggles and histories that viewers can relate to. Seo Ye Ji described it as intriguing upon reading the script, and that she instantly felt drawn to the character of Moon Yeong.
Moon Gang Tae
Kim Soo Hyun plays the character of Moon Gang Tae, someone who appears stronger in front of other people but is actually weaker than he lets anyone see. Tasked to work as a caregiver in a psychiatric ward, Gang Tae also cares for his older brother Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se), who’s on the autistic spectrum. Because of this, Gang Tae must become an adult for him. It’s only when he meets Moon Young that he begins to let his guard down. “He is able to complain about things, so I think that [Gang Tae] meeting Moon Young is like a transitional point in his life, in that sense,” Soo Hyun said.
This is Kim Soo Hyun’s first drama after his military service, and although he was and still is nervous, he thinks that he has been stronger and more experienced after his enlistment. “I really have this thirst to be on screen again and to act and I’m really grateful that It’s Okay to Not Be Okay has become my first one after finishing my military service,” he added.
Go Moon Yeong
Seo Ye Ji, on the other hand, plays Go Moon Yeong, who’s rude, selfish, and arrogant – the exact opposite of Gang Tae. She’s a children’s book writer who’s cold and “has a personality disorder” because of her lack of ability to empathize with others.
To prepare for her role, Ye Ji said that she had to do a lot of research to learn more about how to play antisocial characters. However, she eventually realized that Moon Yeong is one unique character, and so she tried her best to express that uniqueness through her hair and clothing. “I think it’s important to understand that what she wears is not something to show off, but it’s actually something she puts on to defend herself,” she explained.
This drama is the first time that the two actors have worked together. Kim Soo Hyun admitted that their first interactions were quite awkward at first when asked about starring with the other. Eventually, though, they slowly transformed into their characters and became closer as they spent more time together. Seo Ye Ji even went as far as to say that Soo Hyun is “probably the best partner” she’s ever had.
THE SHOW’S CONCEPT OF HEALING
All the characters in the show – major or minor – have their own stories and struggles. For the two leads, this is one of the reasons why the audience will be able to relate to the show. It’s also in that sense that they hope that the audience can find healing and comfort just like their characters.
“I think that despite all of the differences culturally or physically, what’s universal would be the way we are worried or concerned about our loved ones,” Kim Soo Hyun said. “I think all of that is universal. So despite the cultural differences, I hope that would be a point that all of us will be able to relate to.”
“I think that of course, everyone has their own different wounds and their heart in different ways,” Ye Ji said. “One of the keywords for our drama series is the healing of the hurt. So I hope that, as you watch our story together, you will be angry together, you’ll be healed together and you’ll laugh and feel happy together.”
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is directed by Park Shin Woo, with a screenplay by Jo Yong. It premieres on Netflix this June 20, 9:30PM Philippine Time. New episodes drop every Saturday and Sunday.
Homestream image courtesy of Chun Youngsang for Netflix.