What do you do when you encounter a pair of glasses that will give you the ability to see and interact with a hologram which can help you with your daily tasks? Would you have accepted it?
In Netflix's upcoming original series My Holo Love, this is the dilemma that So Yeon goes through. Suffering from face blindness, she isolates herself from the world, making her appear cold to the people around her. This changes when she comes across a pair of glasses that makes her see an AI-powered hologram named Holo, who helps her open up to the world.
However, behind the amazing piece of technology is Nan Do, who watches So Yeon as she gets closer to Holo. As she beta-tests the product, he finds himself drawn to her, realizing that they share the same loneliness that's caused by their pasts. This starts an unusual love triangle between two humans and a hologram, who are all just trying to accept their imperfections to get by in this world.
Ahead of its global launch this February 7, we got the chance to have a chat with Yoon Hyun Min and Ko Sung Hee, who play Nan Do/Holo and So Yeon, respectively, via a video conference with a couple of members from the Philippine and Singaporean press. There, they talked about their characters on the drama, the possibility of living in a world where we interact with AI-powered holograms, and loneliness.
On the show, their characters, and their favorite scene
Aside from being a sci-fi drama, My Holo Love tells the story of two young people who appear to live glamorous and successful lives outside while hiding their own scars and loneliness inside. This is something that both actors found relatable during the drama's production, as they show a different side of themselves when at work and when at home.
Hyun Min, who plays Nan Do and Holo, thought that he feels more drawn to Nan Do's humanity and imperfection. "I personally feel for Nan Do more out of the two [characters]. I can always be kind and gentle when I'm working or when outside of my home like Holo. However, upon returning home, there's that sense of emptiness and depression sometimes," he said.
The two actors both had their own struggles when filming the drama as it was something they've both never done before. Sung Hee admitted that she had a hard time bringing out the emotions for the scenes where she had to "talk to Holo" and act with nothing but a green screen. "I really focused on bringing the emotion to appear as authentic as possible so that I could feel genuine love and emotion towards the character."
My Holo Love is also Hyun Min's first time to play dual characters, and getting into the shoes of two extremely different ones is something he found difficult doing at first. "I would lose sleep at night, agonizing over how to handle these two opposing characters. But now that the show is finally over after a six-month odyssey, I feel that I have grown a lot," he stated.
On their on-screen chemistry and the most memorable scene on the drama
Although it's the first time for the two stars to work with each other, their on-screen chemistry is undeniable. Thanks to the bond they have formed off-screen, they were able to bring together the closeness that So Yeon and Nan Do/Holo had throughout the show. "I think it was one of those times when I felt the closest and most open in terms of having an open conversation with a co-actor," Sung Hee added.
Sung Hee revealed that the scene where she was crying in the rain by herself was the hardest one to shoot as it's the turning point for So Yeon. Drenched in the rain she had to bring out the maximum emotion, so it also took them a long time to film it.
Hyun Min shared that the hardest scene to shoot also gave him one of the most fun behind-the-scenes moments. This was when Holo and Nan Do have an emotional conversation and he can't control the tears from falling, something that Holo shouldn't be able to do. While the director allowed for Holo to shed one tear, another problem came up. "Me, being a human being, the tears actually fall out of the corner of my eyes. That's too human-like. [The director said,] 'can you make it so that your teardrop falls at the center?'" He recalled.
On a world with artificial intelligence
With how fast the world is changing today, the possibility of a future where humans live in a world with AI-powered holograms – maybe even fall in love with them – is something that's not so far-fetched. "I don't think that it's something that is completely implausible," Hyun Min said, "Just the fact that we are holding this press conference with us being here [in Seoul] and you all the way in your respective countries, this is something that I couldn't even imagine when I was a child."
Asked about what they would do if they ever encounter an AI that's as perfect as Holo, Sung Hee said she feels like she'll react the same way as So Yeon did. While she can be afraid of the technology, she thought that she'll eventually be able to familiarize herself until it becomes an inseparable part of her life. "I would probably want [Holo] to protect me and play a protective role in my life at times I feel low or when I feel down," she added.
The same goes for Hyun Min, who felt like he would also use his own Holo in times when he needs comfort and a little cheering up. However, he also knew that only humans can fill the void that the loneliness can bring about, and relying too much on technology has its downsides.
"I think it could be a little bit eerie to think that AI could take the places of roles previously or currently played by human beings," he said.
Those who'll be watching the show can also learn a thing or two from these characters, especially when it comes to dealing with their loneliness.
"I would like to say [to So Yeon] that if you feel alone, don't take it all in yourself," Hyun Min advised. "Reach out, because there's going to be someone that can help."
Sung Hee's message to Holo is also something that we should try to live by: "I would say that you are enough. Holo, even though you're an AI, is enough. He's a character that is sometimes better than a human being." Then to Nan Do: "Nan Do, despite all the hurt inside him, and the way he isolates himself to be lonelier, I still want to say to Nan Do that you are enough. That you are already such a wonderful and amazing human being."
My Holo Love launches globally on Netflix this February 7.