Yoo Seon-ho learns the power of love in MBC drama 'The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract'

Actor Yoo Seon-ho plays Tae-min in ″The Story of Park's Marriage Contract,″ a MBC time-slip drama about a woman from the Joseon Dynasty who finds herself in present-day Korea [MBC]

It turns out that not all actors have to empathize with their character to make their acting believable.

Such was the case for actor Yoo Seon-ho, a young rising star who has been showered with love throughout his entire life, as he managed to bring his unloved and unappreciated character to life in the MBC time-slip drama "The Story of Park's Marriage Contract."

"The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract" tells the story of Yeon-woo, a woman who time-travels to the 21st century from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), where she finds her deceased husband and his relatives reincarnated as present-day individuals. Actor Lee Se-young plays Yeon-woo, with Bae In-hyuk playing the reincarnated husband Tae-ha. Yoo plays Tae-min, Tae-ha's half-brother, a man-child who was never loved by his parents, never mind learning how to function like a proper adult.

Based on the popular webtoon of the same name, “The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract” ended its 12-episode run over the weekend with a 9 percent viewership rating for its final episode — a rare feat for a broadcasting network drama nowadays as many struggle to keep up with streaming service originals.


“Tae-min is a person who has been neglected all his life, but that changes when he meets the main character Yeon-woo,” Yoo said during an interview with reporters at Cube Entertainment’s headquarters in Seongdong District, eastern Seoul, on Tuesday. “After meeting her and receiving that kind of attention and love for the first time in his life, he learns to grow as a person. Playing him has made me grateful for the love that I received from my parents and those around me all my life."

Initially competing with his half-brother for a romantic relationship with Yeon-woo, Tae-min eventually comes to support the couple and help them on their journey as they try to set things right from the past. Tae-ha's former incarnation — Yeon-woo's husband from the Joseon era — died mysteriously and suddenly from an unknown disease, and Tae-ha himself is threatened by a hostile stepmother and a heart problem. While Yeon-woo and Tae-ha's romance and their story arc is the central plot of "The Story of Park's Marriage Contract," Yoo's character Tae-min's growth and eventual role as a supporter for the two main characters is arguably just as important.

“Tae-min’s journey from an aimless and lonely person with many shortfalls to an adult who can stand on his own was a story I felt was meaningful,” Yoo said. “From the very first scene, I tried to embody the hollowness Tae-min felt and discussed the character’s development with the director many times. His relationship with Yeon-woo is one of the central stories in the entire drama.”

A scene from ″The Story of Park's Marriage Contract″ [MBC]

In preparation for the role of Tae-min, Yoo watched a lot of works both in drama and film that depict people who never received enough love or attention from those around them. The most influential of the works that Yoo referenced was the 2011 Hollywood film “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”

“The case in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ is very extreme, but I thought that it was parallel to Tae-min’s story because he, too, has never been loved by his parents and has a deep-seated resentment and deficiencies because of that,” Yoo said. “He is unlike the character Kevin, in that film Tae-min overcomes his childhood and grows through the help of Yeon-woo and his brother. I also referenced the original character from the webtoon by reading the whole series in one sitting.”

The success of “The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract” could be attributed to its well-plotted storyline and the chemistry between the cast who played the main characters, according to Yoo. The contrast between the traditional society of the Joseon era wrung by conservative Confucian values and the more liberal and modern norms of present-day Korea, shown in juxtaposition as the drama shifts back and forth from past to present, is also an important factor.

“The two lead actors Lee and Bae had amazing chemistry, and I would like to say that the supporting role I played was a big part of the overall tone of the drama too,” Yoo said. “I also learned so much from Lee and Bae, who would actively give me acting pointers and with whom I would discuss my lines and scenes. Time-slip genres are common these days, but works with a tightly plotted storyline are rare, I think.”

Yoo’s wardrobe in “The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract,” which was prepared to fit the character of Tae-min as a flamboyant and heavy-spending chaebol scion on the surface, was a big topic to viewers of the drama when it was airing. Comments on drama review websites often mentioned Tae-min’s clothes — from florescent purple jackets to animal-print scarves. The actor had a large input in his own wardrobe, Yoo revealed.

“Tae-min’s flashy appearance is a part of his facade to disguise his inner insecurities, so it was important to get it right and make his wardrobe as extravagant as possible,” Yoo said. “I personally dress the very opposite of the way my character dresses, so it was fun and at the same time daunting to dress that way. But I actively made suggestions to the production team and the director about the clothes Tae-min wears.”

Yoo, who made his name known by appearing on the second season of the K-pop audition survival program “Produce 101” (2017), has been widening his scope recently by appearing in the Netflix original historical drama “Under the Queen’s Umbrella” (2022) and the film “Usury Academy” (2023).

Reflecting on his career so far, Yoo talked of his “Produce 101” days and the types of genres he would like to attempt in the future.

“'Produce 101’ feels like another lifetime for me, or someone else’s experience entirely,” Yoo laughed. “It was seven years ago now, and back then I never thought that I would become so active as an actor as I am now. In the future, I would really like to act in a war film — ‘Taegukgi’ [2004] is one of my all-time favorite films.”

To find out more about Yoo Seon-ho, visit Celeb Confirmed!