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[Herald Interview] Kang Ha-neul says he enjoyed filling in blanks in ‘Rain and Your Story’ script

Kang Ha-neul (Kidari ENT and Sony Pictures Entertainment Korea)
Kang Ha-neul (Kidari ENT and Sony Pictures Entertainment Korea)

Actor Kang Ha-neul said he liked the script of “Rain and Your Story” because it had blanks that he could fill in.

“I like that the script did not have precise directions about the character‘s emotions and reactions,” Kang told local reporters during a joint media interview Thursday via Zoom. “It only had a minimum amount of words that are required to proceed with the story.”

Set mostly in 2003, “Rain and Your Story” introduces Young-ho, who is studying for his third Suneung, the once-a-year national college entrance exam, in Seoul. One day, he suddenly decides to write a letter to his elementary schoolmate So-yeon who lives in Busan. However, So-yeon is sick and cannot read the letter. So-yeon’s younger sister So-hee (Chun Woo-hee) reads the letter and starts writing back. Meanwhile, Young-ho also meets Soo-jin (Kang So-ra), who does not hide her interest in him.

Kang Ha-neul said he enjoyed creating elements of his character with director Jo Jin-mo.

For instance, details like Young-ho changing his dull daily facial expression after receiving So-hee’s letters were not originally set in the script and were created through this process.

“I wanted to portray how Young-ho’s mundane life changes gradually, like how watercolor paint spreads, through So-hee’s letter,“ Kang said. “The director really encouraged me to fill in the blanks with my own feelings.”

For the scenes in which Young-ho reads So-hee’s letter alone, Kang said he performed while listening to the narration that was prerecorded by co-star Chun Woo-hee.

“I did not have personal contact with Chun in those scenes but I felt connected. While listening to her voice, I could freely imagine her facial expression which was very touching for me,” Kang said.

The 31-year-old actor also added that he realized the power of Chun’s immersive voice through filming these scenes.

Kang Ha-neul also talked about Kang So-ra, who portrayed Soo-jin as another important female influence to Young-ho in “Rain and Your Story.”

“We became friends through ‘Misaeng (Incomplete Life).’ It has been a while since we last met but we immediately connected and knew what to do,” he said.

Hit tvN drama “Misaeng (Incomplete Life)” aired in 2014.

In the movie, Young-ho uses a metaphor to describe two female characters -- Soo-jin as a star and So-hee as rain—but does not expose the reason behind them.

During the interview, Kang talked about how he understood this comparison.

“To me, a star seems beautiful on its own. Soo-jin seemed like a star because she is confident and lively by herself. On the other hand, rain can slowly soak you. Rain does not make you get wet all at once, it happens gradually from top to bottom. I think Young-ho felt that through So-hee’s letters,” he said.

Concerning questions on whether Kang thinks that Young-ho is simply trying to keep Soo-jin on the hook and is intentionally misleading her in the movie, the actor said “No.”

“It may be considered as giving false hope to some. But that is not how I see Young-ho. He is a man who is serious about love and puts a lot of thought into it,” Kang said.

Although Kang understands much of Young-ho’s emotion, he added that he would not make the same decision as Young-ho and wait to meet So-hee for several years. So-hee and Young-ho promised to meet near their elementary school on a rainy Dec. 31.

“I don’t think I will wait even a year. It would be better to promise to meet in a snowy August,” he joked.

“Rain and Your Story” will hit local theaters Wednesday.

By By Song Seung-hyun  (