The Korea Herald


Nana throws hat ‘Into the Ring’

Producer says controversial political drama “a workplace rom-com”

By Choi Ji-won

Published : July 2, 2020 - 17:28

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Nana (left) and Park Sung-hoon speak during Nana (left) and Park Sung-hoon speak during "Into the Ring" press conference held on Wednesday. (KBS)
Singer-turned-actor takes on her first lead role in a romantic comedy with new KBS drama “Into the Ring.”

Im Jin-ah, who goes by the stage name Nana, plays the role of Sera, who decides to give up on looking for a job and finds herself a spot on the local assembly.

Park Sung-hoon plays Nana’s counterpart, Seo Gong-myung, an elite public servant at a local district office who goes on to team up with Sera and punish the corrupt politicians around them.

The two actors and the TV series’ producer Hwang Seung-gi attended a livestreamed promotional event Wednesday afternoon.

“The drama is about regional politics, revolving around the local assembly and the district office,” producer Hwang said.

“People these days are mostly distrustful of politics and politicians, but they’re actually a very close part of our lives. I hope that the drama becomes a chance for us to realize how important the local lawmakers are to our daily lives.”

Having launched her show career as part of the K-pop girl group After School, Nana is currently part of the group’s unit act Orange Caramel. She started acting in 2014, taking up small roles in TV dramas and films, and made herself known as an actor in tvN’s 2016 drama “Good Wife.” Since then she has starred in leading roles on OCN action-drama series “Kill it” and KBS2 crime-thriller “Justice,” both of which aired in 2019.

“I’ve mostly taken up cold and somewhat heavy characters until now, and, with this ordinary and perky character, I expect I’ll be able to show a brighter aspect of myself,” Nana said during the event.

Park, 35, previously appeared in KBS2’s “My Only One” (2018) and tvN’s “Psychopath Diary” (2019-2020). He and Nana are teaming up for the second time on TV with “Into the Ring,” following their first partnership in “Justice,” in which Hwang also took part as a co-producer.

“I’ve played an anti-social character in both of my recent shows, so I really enjoyed doing a rom-com this time. I hope the viewers can also have fun with us,” Park said.

Producer Hwang Seung-gu (very left) of Producer Hwang Seung-gu (very left) of "Into the Ring" and lead cast Nana and Park Sung-hoon attend the show's press conference held on Wednesday. (KBS)

Ahead of the TV drama’s launch Wednesday, “Into the Ring” was embroiled in controversy over alleged political bias portrayed through the characters. According to the character descriptions revealed on the KBS website, the characters of the conservative party are mostly depicted negatively.

During the press conference, Hwang explained there was a misunderstanding resulting from the two contrasting names of the parties.

“We usually divide politics into liberals and conservatives in real life, and we used those terms to make a clear distinction between the characters,” Hwang said, adding, “We had no political intention in writing the script, and anyone who has a sensible political mind will be able to sympathize with the story.”

Hwang added, “The romantic-comedy will the take the limelight, with the politics merely assisting.”

The 16-episode set kicked off Wednesday night and will air every Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on KBS2.

By Choi Ji-won(

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