In my years of interviewing celebrities, I must say Kang Haneul is one of the most unassuming actors I’ve met. His politeness shone through whether he was on stage promoting his latest drama Scarlet Heart, or fielding questions from the media in a small group setting.
And one thing I discovered about the 26-year-old who’s acting as the 8th Prince during our interview is that he is pretty darn funny. One media in the group asked him to describe his drama in a few words. His answer? “Bo-bo-gyeong-shim-ryeo” – which literally translates into “Scarlet Heart Ryeo”, as the drama is known in Korea.
In the drama, Haneul plays the character of the Eighth Prince, or Prince Wang Wook. Scarlet Heart sees a star-studded ensemble, including Lee Junki, who is playing the lead role, IU or Lee Jieun, the female protagonist, EXO’s Baekhyun, Hong Jonghyun, Nam Joohyuk, Jisoo, Yoon Sunwoo and of course, Haneul himself.
With a male-majority cast, you’d expect IU to feel like an uninvited woman at a stag party, but Haneul revealed that she fitted right in. He said, “The chemistry among the male cast members was amazing. There was so much laughter, and we were friends both on and off-set. I really had a great time working together with them.”
He added, “I think there might have been some pressure on IU because she’s the only female lead, but her personality is such that she makes the people around her very comfortable. So even when she was surrounded by a bunch of boys, she was very comfortable with it. The interaction between the male cast members and IU was great too.”
With a decade-worth of acting experience under his belt, the actor has taken up various roles in both on the small and silver screens. He said that none of the roles were easy, but reckoned his character in his latest film was the hardest to date. He said, “… There was a lot of pressure because it’s a real-life character, and a very famous one at that. I had to battle through the production process to really express the character well.”
However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy the process of getting into a role. He attributed it as one of the perks of being an actor. He said, “For me, to be able to immerse myself fully and focus on getting into the character’s thoughts and emotions… I think that’s the biggest merit of being an actor.”
But it’s not all peaches and cream. Watch the video to find out what he thinks is the downside of being a public figure.
Haneul proved himself to be quite the charmer during the fan meeting at Waterway Point. Aptly called A Date with Kang Haneul, the event sees him partaking in a short Q&A and playing games with five lucky fans. And that was how we found out how he made girls fall for him. Scroll through the gallery for more.
See photos of Haneul below.
Scarlet Heart airs on ONE, every Monday and Tuesday, at the same time as Korea. ONE is available on Singtel TV Ch 513 & 604 and StarHub TV Ch 124, 820 & 823.
Text and images: Hidayah Idris
Videos: Chow Rong Qian