We've all been there: You like someone, but you don't know how to act around him or her. Do you spill the beans or just let things be? What if people were more transparent about their feelings? What does it really mean to like someone? Anyone who has ever entertained these thoughts would be able to relate to Love Alarm, a new Korean romance drama that started streaming on August 22 on Netflix.
The show revolves around high-schoolers Kim Jojo (played by Kim So-hyun), Lee Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram), and HwangSun-oh (Song Kang), set in a society where an app called Love Alarm exists. App users' hearts are then "synced" to Love Alarm, which will subsequently ring when someone who likes the user is within a 10-meter radius. It sounds very futuristic, but it's actually based on a 2014 webcomic by Chon Kye-young, which was first published on Daum Webtoon.
Watch the trailer below:
During the show's press conference in Seoul, Kim So-hyun, Jung Ga-ram, and Song Kang, as well as director Lee Na-jeong got to experience what it's like to be synced to something that reveals their innermost thoughts-almost like a real-life version of Love Alarm-as they each had to place a palm on a lie-detector machine while the host threw questions their way.
When asked whether they resemble the characters they portray, everyone answered no except for Song Kang-and that's when Kim So-hyun's alarm went off. It's forgivable-she's a popular pick for the character of Kim Jojo, a high-school student with a painful family history she's been keeping a secret. "On the surface, Kim Jojo may appear very fragile," Kim So-hyun describes, yet is quick to say that she doesn't want people to think of Jojo as a "poor, sad, little girl." She says of her character, "Jojo has been through and is in a very tough and difficult situation, but never loses her positivity and confidence inside." Kim So-hyun adds that viewers might end up being more curious of Jojo the more you "get to know" her.
Director Lee Na-jeong shares that hundreds of actors auditioned for both the roles of Lee Hye-young and Hwang Sun-oh, characters who are best friends in the webcomic and the show. In Jung Ga-ram's case, it was his "emotional sensitivity" that bagged him the part, which is a great fit for the reserved Hye-young, whose "love [for Jojo] stands unswayed," in So-hyun's words. "He grew up to be someone who can place other people's needs before his and is very considerate," Jung Ga-ram says about his character.
The same goes for Song Kang, who was up against a whopping 900 actors for the part. Director Lee shares that there were K-Pop members and models who went to audition, but Song Kang stood out for offering something different each time-playful, mysterious, charming, and more. It was exactly what's needed for the role of Sun-oh, a guy who comes from a rich family and has worked as a model prior to entering the same high school as Jojo and Hye-young, and yet, "feels a void inside because of all the hurt that he's suffered from his family," Song Kang shares. In the show, there's no question how much everyone likes him-he walks around the campus and his Love Alarm rings nonstop. During the press conference, Song Kang admits to being worried and wonders how the audience will respond to the series, especially since it will be shown to 190 countries. After seeing initial viewer reactions, however, it seems he has nothing to worry about!
Love Alarm is now streaming on Netflix.