The best romance comedy is finally here! iQiyi’s first K-drama series My Roommate Is a Gumiho (premiered May 26th) offers the optimal binge experience. At the recent press event in Seoul, Lee Hye-ri said she encountered some challenges to play a character five years younger. Feeling almost like a generational gap, she didn’t exactly understand how young people thought. The connection between Lee Hye-ri and Jang Ki-yong in the poster was very enticing, and she was very satisfied with “the romantic result”. Jang said that Lee “was the most reliable person during the difficult time”. Kang Han-na and Kim Do-wan and their characters developed from adversaries to friendship in the story. Why did the director think Bae In-hyuk was too nice for the role?
In the long-awaited iQiyi’s first K-drama series My Roommate Is a Gumiho, a “Gumiho” (Nine-tailed Fox) Shin Woo-yeo (played by Jang Ki-yong) has been discreetly living in the human world for centuries. Waiting for the time to become human permanently, his fox beads are swallowed by Lee Dam (played by Lee Hye-ri). Forced to live together for a solution, they set many rules for cohabitation to live their lives. It becomes a new romance between human and non-human. On the other hand, another Gumiho Yang Hye-sun (played by Kang Han-na) has become human for the fifth year. She is about to embrace a new romantic and unconventional relationship with Do Jae-jin (played by Kim Do-wan). Gye Sun-woo (played by Bae In-hyuk), a handsome and wealthy man, has a crush on Lee Dam after pretending to like her in the first place, and Shin Woo-yeo feels anxious for the first time after more than 900 years!
Director Nam Sung-Woo with the five leading actors participated in the press event. Asked if there was any pressure to adapt a popular webtoon, Nam responded that appearance and personality were major considerations during the casting process. For example, for the 999-year-old Shin Woo-yeo, the character needed to look restrained but extremely handsome, and Nam believed Jang fit really well. He also heard the original webtoon creator envisioned the leading female character with Lee Hye-ri in mind. Therefore, after reading the script, he was further convinced that Lee was the ideal choice. Kang Han-na was aggressive but silly sometimes, and Kim Do-wan was pure and adorable. Both were similar to those characters. However, Nam said, Bae In-hyuk initially looked too nice to him, compared to the character. Since his character Gye Sun-Woo repented later in the story, though, Nam was satisfied with the cast in the end.
There have been quite a few K-drama series about “Gumiho” (Nine-tailed Fox). When asked about how this series was different, Lee answered that the story was a romance between a Gumiho male and human female, starting from a cohabitation. Her role, Lee Dam, had never been in love before, but she expressed emotions directly, and pretended to feel comfortable about the relationship. After she encountered Shin Woo-yeo (played by Jang Ki-yong), she felt intimidated at first. Later, she found out he was considerate, polite, and gentle. Therefore, their interactions gained traction. To play this role well, Lee gave up several opportunities in variety shows to stay committed to the series. Her poster with Jang also received positive reviews from the public. “I am pleasantly surprised and grateful to the positive feedback just with the poster,” Lee said. As this series finished production before promotional materials, unlike typical production processes, they were already familiar to each other during photo shoots. As the role was five years younger than she was, Lee pointed out, she studied a lot about younger people, and asked them about their reactions. Even though there was no generation gap, she needed to learn more. During the process, she also realized similarities and differences between Lee Dam and herself. It also motivated her to play this role well.
Jang said the chemistry between the two characters went well from the very beginning. Lee was very positive all the time, and also very helpt on site. He once felt lost during the production, and felt challenged sometimes. He was grateful to Lee to finish this series. In the first romance fantasy/comedy of his, Jang encountered some obstacles at the beginning. As things got better later on, he was happy to deliver what he attempted to do.
Kang Han-na and Kim Do-wan and their characters had a lot of tension. While there were prior collaborations, Kang said she had limited interactions with Kim in the past. She was happy to know about this collaboration this time, and messaged Kim to discuss it. Kang considered herself lucky to develop this relationship with Kim in the story, and it showed in their performances. The emerging actor Bae In-hyuk was tasked to play a popular role in the webtoon, and he felt pressured to interpret it well. Bae and his appearance were popular among fans, said Lee, and he had the resemblance with the character. Lee also looked forward to Bae and his performance.
Now streaming at iQiyi mobile app and iQ.com, catch My Roommate Is a Gumiho every Wednesday and Thursday at 9:40pm.