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‘Twenty Five Twenty One’ aims to warm up cold winter nights with romance

Actors Kim Tae-ri (left) and Nam Joo-hyuk pose for a photo before the online press conference Wednesday. (tvN)
Actors Kim Tae-ri (left) and Nam Joo-hyuk pose for a photo before the online press conference Wednesday. (tvN)
Actor Kim Tae-ri returns to the small screen with tvN’s new romance series “Twenty Five Twenty One” following her performance in 2018 period drama “Mr. Sunshine.”

“Many mystery, horror, sci-fi and thriller series seem to have become the cultural mainstream, but I felt really happy when I read the script of ‘Twenty Five Twenty One.’ I was drawn to the bright, energetic nature of my character Na Hee-do as well,” Kim said during an online press conference Wednesday.

The heartwarming storyline and character aside, Kim felt that an opportunity to work with director Jung Ji-hyun -- the two worked together in “Mr. Sunshine” -- was another reason to join the project.

“Twenty Five Twenty One,” helmed by Jung who is responsible for several hit romance series in the last three years -- “Search WWW,” “The King: Eternal Monarch” and “You Are My Spring” -- revolves around teenagers pursuing their dreams and ambitions during the economic crisis of 1998.

Kim stars as teen fencer Hee-do, while co-star Nam Joo-hyuk plays a hardworking young man Back Yi-jin, who wishes to rebuild his life and family broken up by the country’s economic crisis. 
Kim Tae-ri plays a teen fencer Na Hee-do in “Twenty Five Twenty One” (tvN)
Kim Tae-ri plays a teen fencer Na Hee-do in “Twenty Five Twenty One” (tvN)
“The story presented on the small screen may be a drama, but I think various events in our series seem to meet with our everyday life in the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the viewers to easily empathize with the experience that the lead characters are going through,” Jung said.

“With the setting in 1998, some viewers might become nostalgic with the fashions and buildings featured in ‘Twenty Five Twenty One,’ while the young people can find the charm of the late 1990s Korea,” the director added.

Nam and Kim felt that understanding the historical and personal backgrounds to be essential to thoroughly carrying out their given roles.

The 27-year-old Nam looked up many references and videos, which greatly helped him to perform Yi-jin and recreate the feeling of the time.
Nam Joo-hyuk acts as a job-seeking young man Back Yi-jin in “Twenty Five Twenty One” (tvN)
Nam Joo-hyuk acts as a job-seeking young man Back Yi-jin in “Twenty Five Twenty One” (tvN)
Kim shared her experience fencing for the first time.

“I learned fencing for 5-6 months prior to shooting the series, because Hee-do is a national athlete-level fencer. I even wrote a journal to record my experience and this was used later as a prop in the series. The growth of the teenagers and their passion to chase a bright future is another aspect to watch,” Kim said, suggesting her upcoming series features more than romance.

The 16-part series is scheduled to kick off Saturday at 9:10 p.m. on tvN, after the current Saturday-Sunday drama “Bulgasal: Immortal Souls” comes to an end.

“Twenty Five Twenty One” will also be available on local streaming platform Tving and global streaming service Netflix.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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