The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Yoo Hae-jin calls ‘Honey Sweet’ an adult version of ‘The Cloudburst’

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Aug. 13, 2023 - 13:45

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“Honey Sweet” (Mind Mark) “Honey Sweet” (Mind Mark)

Actor Yoo Hae-jin, who took his first-ever romantic comedy lead in “Honey Sweet,” a delightful rom-com that tells the love story of a couple in midlife, called his film an adult version of Korea’s timeless classic short story “The Cloudburst” (“Sonagi”).

“Just like other actors, I prioritize the storyline of the film. I found the screenplay of ‘Honey Sweet’ very entertaining. I got the feeling that the story is like an adult version of ‘Sonagi,’ a pure and heartwarming love story,” Yoo told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Aug. 9.

In “The Cloudburst,” written by Hwang Sun-won in 1952, a sudden rain shower symbolizes the short but heartfelt love of a boy for a girl.

“Honey Sweet” shows Chi-ho (Yoo), a nerdy, workaholic researcher at a confectionery firm falling in love with Il-young (Kim Hee-sun), a single mother and a remarkably passionate and optimistic phone operator at a loan company.

“As you can see in the movie, Chi-ho is anti-social, distant and not on the same wavelength as other people generally. That kind of person feeling butterflies in his stomach and getting his heart broken while in love reminds me of my past when I was in love like that,” Yoo said.

Yoo Hae-jin (Mind Mark) Yoo Hae-jin (Mind Mark)

Because the film is a love story, he thought it was important to act opposite the “right” partner. Kim Hee-sun, also known as the queen of rom-coms, has taken on her first silver screen role in 20 years with “Honey Sweet.”

“Kim is already well-known in our industry for her well-rounded personality, not to mention her acting. But she was nicer than I'd imagined. Her reactions were brilliant, making me feel comfortable playing my role as her partner in romance,” Yoo said, appreciating Kim’s energy, which brightened the mood throughout the whole shoot.

The 53-year-old actor said he hopes the audience doesn’t perceive “Honey Sweet” solely as the tale of a middle-aged couple.

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a ‘middle-aged’ love story. If it’s a love story, then it’s a love story, period. I also want younger audience members to find our movie fun to watch. The movie has some very precious comedic scenes,” he hinted.

From playing dog Choraengyi in “Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard” (2009) to a robot in “Space Sweepers” (2021) and King Injo in “The Night Owl” (2022), Yoo’s spectrum of roles has never been so versatile. For Yoo, his goal is to be remembered as “an actor.”

“I don’t need any other word to describe myself. I want the audience to call me simply ‘actor Yoo Hae-jin.’ I don’t have any specific goal, I just choose a role when it’s fun to do. But if I have the chance, I’d like to try doing a truly heartfelt love story,” Yoo said.

“Honey Sweet” opens in local theaters Tuesday.