Lee Dong-wook is your average city bachelor in 'Single in Seoul'
Statistics and news reports have been saying that Korea’s younger generation is neither getting married nor having children. Though there are numerous reasons for this, actor Lee Dong-wook, who recently filmed the romantic comedy “Single in Seoul,” says one of them, in his opinion, is because society today is so competitive that young people “have no time or energy to get romantically involved with someone and fall in love.”
“It is such a cutthroat and competitive world today,” Lee said during an interview with reporters in Jung District, central Seoul, on Tuesday. “You have to have margins in your life to date someone and get married, and young people these days don’t have that.”
Lee says he came to understand the mindset of younger Koreans better as he played his character Yeong-ho in “Single in Seoul,” which opens in local theaters on Nov. 28. Lee tried to portray the character as someone who just can’t be bothered to even enjoy a spark of a romance while living in the rat-race society.
“I wanted to act out Yeong-ho in a realistic way,” Lee said. “He is someone who has been hurt from his previous relationships, like all of us, and he is also someone who intentionally decides to be single.”
The 42-year-old actor, who is also “single in Seoul,” says he’s not intentionally staying single, but rather he has gotten “too used to living alone,” adding that being able to do what you want, when you want is an undeniable charm of being single.
In “Single in Seoul,” Yeong-ho is a star lecturer and influencer who declares that “the single life is the answer” and prides himself in his bachelor status. He signs a contract with a publishing company to write an essay on the single life, and meets Hyeon-jin, played by Lim Soo-jung, an employee of the publishing company. The two form an unlikely bond and find themselves unwittingly and slowly falling for each other.
Lee said he decided to participate in “Single in Seoul” because he was tired of playing big-budget action thrillers and fantasy genre dramas and wanted to play a role that was “normal,” according to the actor.
“Before ‘Single in Seoul,’ I played a lot of characters where it took a lot of effort to convince the audience of the story and what was happening on screen,” Lee said. “When it comes to action thrillers and fantasies, you have to explain a lot of the background setting and consistently persuade the viewers to believe what is going on. I felt tired from that at one point and wanted to play a realistic and normal character.”
Playing opposite Lim, with whom he had briefly worked when he made a cameo appearance in the drama “Search WWW” (2019), was as natural as it could get in terms of chemistry between the leads.
“I knew that we would have good chemistry and that Lim was a fantastic actor when I appeared in the cameo years ago,” Lee said. “Actually, cameos can often be a hit or miss because the actor just plays a very short scene and exits the set quickly, and it is hard to make those appearances look good. But Lim treated me with such kindness and the cameo in ‘Search WWW’ was a success, so I was glad to work with her again.”
As the film is titled “Single in Seoul,” Lee wants the audience to focus not only on the “single” bit but also the “Seoul” part — the film is set in Seoul and shows a lot of the landmarks of the city, such as Gyeongbok Palace and the Jamsu Bridge.
“We filmed during the autumn season at Gyeongbok Palace and I never realized how beautiful the palace grounds could be when the leaves are turning red,” Lee said. “I was born and raised here, but I learned through filming ‘Single in Seoul’ just how pretty and attractive of a place this city is. I hope the audience will enjoy the scenery in the film just as much as the romance story itself.”
To find out more about Lee Dong-wook, visit Celeb Confirmed!
BY LIM JEONG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]