Forbidden love – it is when you fall in love with someone you’re not supposed yet you’ve fallen too deep to pull yourself out of it. Forbidden love storylines are a classic in romance drama, and your heart is bound to beat in “Heartbeat” (가슴이 뛴다). This drama tells a story between a vampire who desires to experience heart-throbbing love and a cold-blooded woman who doesn’t have time for romance. Will they be able to conquer all odds and spend the rest of their lives together?
We recently got the chance to spoke to the casts of HeartBeat: Ok Taec-yeon (택연), Won Ji-an (원지안), Park Kang-hyun (박강현) and Yoon So-hui (윤소희). In this exclusive interview, the casts shared about their characters, their favourite moments on set during filming, and what makes this drama relatable to the global audience. Check them out:
1. Do you feel like this role was custom-made and fated for you to play since its title is such a perfect callback to 2PM’s most famous hit “Heartbeat”?
Ok Taec-yeon: Yes it definitely did feel like destiny had called! Just as “Heartbeat” the song was loved so much, I hope the drama series “Heartbeat” will also get a lot of love. To tell you the truth, before the English title was fixed, I didn’t think much of it. But once the title was fixed, I felt like yes… this is destiny.
2. The trailer shows you performing difficult stunts. Was it hard for you?
Ok Taec-yeon: I have experiences with quite some action in different dramas, and also because for this drama series I had to rely a lot on supernatural powers, a lot of it is relying on your imagination. Aside from that aspect, I didn’t find the action scenes to be particularly challenging. However, I have to say I have a fear of heights, and because there are many scenes where I’m flying around, I had to be hung quite high and that was really scary.
3. How did you feel sleeping in a coffin? And what’s the challenge of playing a half-human-half-vampire?
Ok Taec-yeon: Well, because I didn’t have to actually sleep in the coffin for a hundred years so it was okay! And in the short period of time, I found myself waiting for In-Hae to come and open the coffin. But she managed to get there in time, so no worries, it was just fine. And as for the playing half-human-half-vampire part, I thought about what the drama wanted to talk about and it’s a refreshing POV – what would it be like if vampires were living in contemporary days? It’s a challenge because you can’t reveal your supernatural powers or your identity. So that aspect of having to rely on my imagination was the bigger focus rather than other challenges. I had to imagine how vampires would act or respond, so based on those, I think we’re smooth sailing.
4. What made you want to take on this role?
Ok Taec-yeon: I wanted to play a sexy vampire! That said, the story really did make my heart beat. Rather than it being all about the vampire, I was drawn to and wanted to portray a character who was loyal to his heart. Another reason is because my previous work was quite dark and the subject matter was heavy, too. When I was reading the script for this series I enjoyed how lighthearted and fun it was. So I couldn’t wait to portray the character Sun Woo-Hyeol as soon as possible.
5. Why were you drawn to this character and how is it different from your previous roles?
Won Ji-an: Firstly, she’s someone who’s very grounded – someone who lives in reality. But I realized soon that she’s very different from me. First being how tenacious she is in knowing how to make ends meet – she’s so much better at that than I am. But as I tried to find similarities, I also have experienced living on my own for 2 years, and I thought about how In-Hae must have done this for such a long time and I tried to draw from my own experience of living on my own because that’s when I realised, there’s just so much to do when you’re living on your own. And also because it’s a love story between a human and vampire, the fantasy element of it required having to rely on my imagination, which is quite different from characters I have portrayed in the past.
6. Can you share any memorable or funny moments from the set of “Heartbeat”?
Yoon So-hui: There’s a party scene. That’s the most memorable for me because there aren’t many group scenes in the show, and I think it was actually the first time we shot a scene with all of us together since the script reading. So we had a lot of fun. And the events that take place in the party scene are also quite fun too – I can’t talk too much in detail because of spoilers, but what I can say is we all had a great time and it was a fun scene.
Park Kang-hyun: The party scene for me as well. Because we shot the scene in a built set and if I’m remembering correctly, including the main cast and background actors, there were about 80 to 100 people on set, so it almost felt like a sauna. We were all sweating, and it was so hot. You know how when things are tough, those moments turn out to be the most memorable.
Won Ji-an: For me, it was the group dinner scene with the four of us sitting here. That was actually the first scene where all four of us got together, and because it was quite a long scene where there was a lot of conversations between the four of us, I remember going through a detailed rehearsal prior to shooting. I think it’s most memorable because we exchanged a lot of thoughts and ideas together.
Ok Taec-yeon: For me, this is a scene which you’ll see in episode one when the show airs on the 26th. It’s a scene where my character – the vampire – wakes up from his coffin and realises he was woken up just 1 day short of when he wanted to, so he gets really mad at the person who woke him up – In-Hae – and tries to bite her and drink her blood. But in turn, he’s the one that gets bitten and faints. That’s a memorable scene for me because I didn’t think Ji-An would actually bite me, but she did, and it hurt a lot.
7. Heartbeat has gained a significant following locally and internationally. What do you think makes the series resonate with such a wide audience? What elements of the story will appeal to the mass?
Yoon So-hui: First, I think the English title “Heartbeat” is one of the reasons why so many global fans have shown us interest, and while we’ve seen many vampires in different content types before, the genre is quite refreshing as well. If I remember correctly, a half-human-half-vampire character (in a drama) is a first, right? So, the new subject matter and element of comedy, and how the drama shows different sides of the characters all come together to gain traction from both global and at home audiences.
Park Kang-hyun: There are many different characters in our series, and each of them has a different goal. So, I think it’d be more entertaining to focus on what kind of choices each makes in order to achieve that goal.
Won Ji-an: While our drama series is a love story between a human being and a half-human-half-vampire, when it comes to love, I think we all go through it, whether it’s something you strive to find yourself or something that just comes to you without warning. That aspect of love as a part of life resonates with many. Although it’s a love story between a human being and a half-human-half-vampire, I don’t think it’s that different from human love. I think that’s something many can relate to.
Ok Taec-yeon: I agree with a lot of what’s been said. At the end of the day, the theme that our drama series is speaking to is love that makes your heart beat. And that’s something that transcends culture or national borders. Anyone can feel it, it’s universal, and some even live for that very reason. So I think that’s what the audience members will be most intrigued by when they see it.
And the storyline is very classic – it talks about forbidden love, love between two people who shouldn’t be in love with one another however despite all odds stacked against them they overcome the challenges. While it is a very classic storyline, it’s also one that makes many hearts beat. I think that’s why many audiences globally will be able to relate to our drama when they see the show.
8. Imagine if you became a vampire in real life. With all your power and strength, what would be the first thing you would do and why? Be honest!
Yoon So-hui: If I could be a vampire, I’d like to transform into a cat and have a chat with my cat.
Park Kang-hyun: If I can breathe without oxygen, I’d love to explore the deep sea or outer space.
Won Ji-an: I want to fly really high. That’s really it.
Ok Taec-yeon: I want to transform into a bat and fly around! I want to explore inside the cave. I think that was a very honest answer.
In case you missed it, “Heartbeat” is currently available for streaming exclusively on Prime Video. Watch the full trailer here: