Meet the cast of ‘Heartbeat’, the K-drama blending vampires with rom-com

The cast of recently-released Korean vampire rom-com series, HeartBeat, on essaying varied roles, and the show’s comedy track

Updated - July 01, 2023 01:27 pm IST

Published - July 01, 2023 12:39 pm IST

A still from the show

A still from the show | Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video

In the first episode of HeartBeat, Ok Taec-yeon — who plays vampire Seon Woo-hyul — turns wistful when asked why he is determined to become a human being. “I want to experience love that makes my heart beat,” he declares.

Woo-hyul’s quest for love, and a beating heart is the focus of this new Korean romantic comedy series, which stars actor and South-Korean boy band 2PM member Taec-yeon with Won Ji-an, Park Kang-hyun, and Yoon So-hee.

Through the years, vampires have taken the centrestage through wildly successful TV shows, movies, and books. There is a lot to look forward to in Heartbeat as well, which has vampires who are centuries old, trying to blend in and navigate modern-day Seoul. Woo-Hyul too, goes from being a vampire to a half-human half-vampire when he is awakened a day earlier than scheduled from a planned 100-year stupor he undertakes to transform into a human.

In an interview with The Hindu, the four lead actors from the quirky, fantasy rom-com say that there is a lot that appealed to them about the show, and their characters.

The cast of ‘Heartbeat’

The cast of ‘Heartbeat’ | Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video

All about love

“Woo-hyul is someone who dedicates his entire life to love. I think that’s his biggest appeal. I hope I’m as charming as him!” says Taec-yeon. “As for similarities — if I were to ask myself, am I willing to give it all just for love? I’d have to say no. I won’t be able to do that. But he’s so set on his goal and purpose and I would like to mirror that,” he adds.

There is plenty of charm, and a lot of comedy in the first two episodes thanks to him. In his quest to become a human, we see Woo-hyul exposing himself to bright sunlight, attempting to stuff his face with garlic, and repeatedly praying to the gods through the years to grant his one wish.

For his potential romantic interest, Joo In-hae played by actor Won Ji-an, trudging through a mostly thankless job, and getting conned by her shady landlord only adds to her struggles. There is however another facet to this hardened, wary character that Ji-an says she enjoyed playing. “What appealed to me the most is the twist she has in her personality. While she has tenacity and fierce will in life, she has another side of wanting to take down her guard. I thought that was endearing,” says Ji-an, who will be next seen in the hotly anticipated sequel for Squid Game’.

A still from the show

A still from the show | Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Characters in play

Also joining her in HeartBeat is stage actor Park Kang-hyun in his K-Drama debut. Playing Shin Do-sik, a real estate tycoon redevelopment specialist who falls for In-Hae, he says that he had to tread the fine line between doing a lot for the woman he loves, but in a not-too-burdensome way. “He’s very detailed,” Kang-Hyun says, about his character, which promises a whole lot of second-lead syndrome (the desire to see the female character end up with the show’s second male lead).

Among the more challenging roles in this upbeat show, Yoon So-hee essays two characters — an aristocratic woman from Woo-hyul’s past and a present-day real estate investor. Her present-day character Hae-won, she says, is someone who is straightforward, honest, and bold, which she really liked.

Fantasy finds favour

Fantasy dramas have been the flavour of the season, and have remained a much favoured genre among K-Drama writers and viewers alike. After playing the antagonist in the 2021 smash-hit Vincenzo, and starring in the mystery-thriller Blind, Taec-yeon says that one of the reasons why he wanted to star in HeartBeat was the fantasy genre’s sense of levity which he was looking forward to after darker and heavier shows.

“The nature of the genre is such that it requires a lot of imagination on our end. For example, I can’t really shoot lasers from my eyes so I’d rely on my imagination, and when I do those things, I have to try not to laugh, because sometimes you just want to crack up,” he says, indicating that the cast had fun filming the show.

In a press meet held earlier this week before the first episode of Heartbeat aired, director Lee Hyun-suk said that the unique rom-com will be bright and cheerful for audiences. This blend of fantasy and romance, coupled with the cast’s enthusiasm about their characters promises a breezy, fun vampire rom-com.

HeartBeat is currently streaming on Prime Video.

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