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Park Seo-jun to show perfect sync with original webcomic in 'Itaewon Class'

Park Seo-jun (center), Kim Da-mi (left) and Kwon Nara pose for pictures at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Park Seo-jun (center), Kim Da-mi (left) and Kwon Nara pose for pictures at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

JTBC’s new drama series based on the webcomic of the same name, “Itaewon Class” is set to air its first episode Friday night.

Original webtoon artist Cho Kwang-jin also took charge of the script.

“When I was writing the comic it wasn’t easy for me to delve into the details of every character because of the weekly deadlines. So it was a grateful opportunity that I could get the chance to develop even the small characters through working on the script,” Cho said during a press conference on the TV drama in Seoul on Thursday.

Not diverging much from the original story, the series revolves around a young man named Park Sae-roy who loses his dad through a tragic accident and becomes determined to take revenge on the Jang Ga Group, a restaurant franchise giant whose owner and son are connected to the death of Sae-ro-yi’s father. Fascinated by the unique and vibrant energy of Itaewon, there Sae-roy opens up his own restaurant, Danbam.

Park Seo-jun, who scored the lead role of Sae-ro-yi, commented that he was a fervent fan of the original comic.

“I read the comic before I was cast and I was so captivated by the character that I imagined how I would act out certain aspects of Sae-ro-yi. But I didn’t know I would actually be able to,” Park said.

Although some fans have worried that Park, who mostly played cheery characters in the past, may not be well suited for Sae-ro-yi’s role, the writer and actor were confident about the casting.

“All the cast members, especially Park, showed 120 percent sync with the characters,” Cho said at the press conference. “Although, I was the one who knew about the characters the best in the beginning, as we went into shooting, the actors were thinking about and studying the characters even harder than I was.”

Kim Da-mi, who made herself known to moviegoers through action-thriller “Witch” in 2018, is making her small-screen debut in “Itaewon Class,” where she plays Jo Yi-seo, a social media star with a genius mind who comes to manage Sae-roy’s restaurant.

Singer-actress Kwon Nara plays the part of the other female lead, Oh Soo-ah. Sae-ro-yi’s down-to-earth high school friend and the subject of his unrequited love now works for Jang Ga Group to make her living.

Veteran actor Yoo Jae-myung plays Jang Dae-hee, the self-made owner of Jang Ga Group who stands in conflict with Sae-ro-yi after he covers up his eldest son’s misdeed that results in the death of Sae-ro-yi’s father.

“I think this series also portrays the issue of the generation gap,” Yoo said. “The relationship between a successful man who faces a youth just starting from scratch. He feels complex emotions inside that are difficult to explain in words.”

With the original webtoon boasting a huge fandom both in and out of the country and 220 million views since its inception in 2017, the dramatization has also been long awaited by readers.

The 16-episode series airs at 10:50 p.m. every Friday and Saturday beginning this week.

By Choi Ji-won (
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Korea Herald daum