After stealing our hearts yet again in the space film Space Sweepers, Song Joong Ki is back for a new and thrilling K-drama! This time, he’ll be playing the Italian mafia consigliere, Vincenzo Cassano, in Vincenzo. The drama, which also stars Jeon Yeo Bin and Ok Taecyeon, premieres globally on Netflix this February 20!
Just before the film premieres this week, we got to join the leads of the drama, along with the rest of the APAC press in a roundtable interview where they talked more about this new project.
Here’s what you need to know about Vincenzo, according to the cast themselves:
On the story
Vincenzo follows Vincenzo Cassano, a lawyer to an Italian mafia who believes that “only evil can punish evil.” Because of the war between mafia groups, he goes back to South Korea, and it’s there that he utilizes villainous tactics to take down villains.
He then joins forces with the lawyer Hong Cha Young in fighting the nefarious Babel Group. What they both don’t know is that what lies ahead of them are trouble and plenty other villains who stand in their way.
On the characters
Song Joong Ki plays Vincenzo Cassano — who moved to Italy after his adoption when he was 8 years old. Now working as a lawyer and consigliere to an Italian mafia, he moves back to South Korea after a feud between mafias arises.
To make understanding his job as a consigliere easier for the audience, Joong Ki compares his character to The Godfather’s Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). “Tom, who works for Al Pacino in the movie, is the legal adviser to his mob. [He] looks over the overall operation,” he explained.
When it comes to the similarities and differences between him and his character, he said that just like Vincenzo, he’s someone who quickly acknowledges when something isn’t right. He added: “If I feel like [something is] not in line with my common sense, I tend to not be very tolerant about that.”
Hong Cha Young
Jeon Yeo Bin, who starred in dramas like Be Melodramatic and Save Me, plays Hong Cha Young, a lawyer working for one of the most prestigious firms in Korea. The actress describes her character to be someone who’s “not driven by what is good or bad, but what is to her advantage.”
According to Yeo Bin, something that she shares with Hong Cha Young is the passion and love they both have for their jobs. What sets the character apart from her, however, is Cha Young’s approach to expressing herself and letting her feelings out. Still, she felt that she was able to “live vicariously through her,” since she’s able to experience things she wouldn’t normally be able to.
Jang Jun Woo
Lastly, there’s Ok Taecyeon (Save Me, Dream High), who plays Jang Jun Woo. Taecyeon described him as a charming law intern who “makes a lot of mistakes and always has his eyes set on Cha Young.” Because he appears to be “very naive,” most people would wonder how he was able to pass the bar when looking at him.
Ok Taecyeon finds himself relating to Jun Woo as he’s also one to express his joy and spread it to other people easily. However, unlike Jun Woo, he’s not the kind to express his anger explosively, as he prefers to hold his burden in.
On working with each other for Vincenzo
Although it was the first time for Song Joong Ki to work with both Jeon Yeo Bin and Ok Taecyeon for a drama, he said that he felt assured from that moment that he met them. Aside from having a great synergy between them on set, he also thought that “they were the perfect fits for the characters in the script” and that they had a great time during production despite the challenges.
Jeon Yeo Bin shared that she was very excited and happy to learn that she’ll be working with both Ok Taecyeon and Song Joong Ki. She also described her two co-stars as the “ambiance-makers” on set. “Taecyeon is more like a vitamin, [because] he’s the jokester and he’s very funny on set. Joong Ki is like oxygen. He’s someone who is crucial and necessary to all of us being there,” she explained.
Ok Taecyeon added that his two co-stars fit the role perfectly. He describes Song Joong Ki as perfect and is someone you could not help but be jealous of. “Alongside the perfection that his character has, there’s also the comedic aspect to [the drama]. I was so amazed to see when we were reading the script that just a single performance from him would make everybody break into laughter in the room.”
He also praised Yeo Bin, who he first worked with for the drama Save Me, for her passion during filming and that he continues to be in awe of her talent. “I feel like she’s like a sponge, where she takes it all in and is able to express and put it all out on screen,” he added.
On preparing for the roles
When preparing for the drama, Song Joong Ki said that he focused more on Vincenzo as a person, as well as the “loneliness and solace” within him. “This concept of otherness that exists in his character as he looks at himself against all the other people he meets upon his arrival to Korea was what I tried to focus more on.”
And because Vincenzo is someone who comes from Italy, fans can also expect to hear the actor speak Italian in the drama. Joong Ki said that he had to learn Italian as his and the director’s way to “express that otherness” Vincenzo experiences upon meeting the typical Korean people.
As for Jeon Yeo Bin, the challenges that she had when playing Hong Cha Young came from the fact that she is very different from her personal characteristics. Because Cha Young has “a different type of breath” and “unique gestures,” she had to focus not only on these traits, but also the reason behind these mannerisms.
Ok Taecyeon, on the other hand, said that he didn’t really do much preparation for Jun Woo’s character. He said that while his character is a lawyer, “there’s practically nothing he knows.” He also joked that he — as Taecyeon — would “probably know more than Jun Woo does when it comes to the legal stuff.”
On what fans should expect from Vincenzo
Something that fans should definitely expect from Vincenzo is that it will be one refreshing drama. Not only does it feature an Italian mafia, but it also gives a fresh and satisfying take on punishing villains.
Song Joong Ki also said that Vincenzo will be an entertaining ride, thanks to the collaboration between director Kim Hee Won and writer Park Jae Beom. According to him, the two had created a balance between what’s happening in the mafia and in Korean society. “The balance that springs from the heavy-handed critical vision on today’s society, which is put in by the writer, coupled with the very satisfying approach of the director is creating something very unique and entertaining,” he said.
He also pointed out that even though the drama deals with Korean society, people from other countries can still relate to the story and themes of Vincenzo. “There’s evil people everywhere,” he explained. “There are a lot of villains in our story, and unfortunately, there are also a lot of these villains in real life.”
Jeon Yeo Bin, on the other hand, said that each episode will feel like a “fireworks show” for viewers. Ok Taecyeon also added that fans will not be disappointed with Vincenzo. “Our drama boasts cliffhangers, and you will be able to see that at the end of each episode, you will want t really know more,” he said.
Hinting that Vincenzo will also have bits of comedy in it, Song Joong Ki finished the interview by saying that he hopes people “will get together during the weekend, watch it with [their] family, and have a great laugh.”
Vincenzo premieres on Netflix this Saturday, February 20. New episodes drop every Saturday and Sunday at 10PM.