In 2020, South Korean actress Han So-hee was propelled to further popularity for her role as “the other woman” in the hit drama “The World of the Married.” Earlier this year, she returned with “Nevertheless,” playing a heartbroken art student who enters into a casual relationship with a schoolmate.
Now, Han, 26, is taking a break from romance as she ventures into action through the upcoming series “My Name,” which follows the story of a woman who seeks to avenge her father’s death by joining a drug ring and infiltrating the police.
“The sole mission of my character is revenge. Her desperation and determination was something I could really feel off the pages of the script,” Han said of her role, Ji-woo, in a recent online press conference.
“I feel for [Ji-woo]. My heart aches for her but at the same time, the level of determination that she carries, I admire that,” she added.
Han did not think twice about joining “My Name,” said director Kim Jin-min, adding that he also believed the project helped the actress grow in her craft.
“She said yes right away, without hesitation. It’s not an easy yes to say and she didn’t even go through a manager to give me an answer,” recalled Kim, who also directed the 2020 teen drama “Extracurricular.”
“Many people think that you are a beautiful actress so you will have a lot of opportunities to play a beautiful role. But then, this may be your really rare chance to jump into a really physical and harsh kind of role,” Kim told Han at the press conference.
Kim said among the cast, he was most grateful to Han for all the effort she exerted. The actress’ costars did not protest, with actor Park Hee-soon even describing “My Name” as “a series for So-hee and by So-hee.”
Among the cast members, Han also had the longest training period in action school, said Park, who plays crime boss Choi Moo-jin.
“All the other members had to get involved in the heavy physical training two months prior [to filming] and So-hee actually started a month earlier than the rest of us,” he said.
Park bared that Han even gained 10 kilograms of muscle weight for the series.
“What is quite amazing is So-hee has never even tried pilates before this series so she’s really not used to working out but now she's a completely different person,” Park said.
For her part, Han initially believed she would easily learn and pull off the action sequences.
“So I went to action school and then I thought, ‘Once you try to fake it, then you will just end up not succeeding’ so it requires a lot of time,’” she said.
The months-long training in action school allowed the cast to bond and have good chemistry, according to Ahn Bo-hyun, who plays an ace crime investigator in the series.
“Thanks to the two months that we spent together, we were able to smile a lot on set when we were actually doing the shooting and we actually had great synergy,” said Ahn, known for starring in the award-winning drama “Itaewon Class.”
Ahn shared that he was impressed with Han when he first met her in action school because he saw how passionate the actress was with her training.
For Han, the biggest challenge in “My Name” was to not hurt any of her costars.
“I have to make one good choreography with my partner in every single scene so it was a lot of pressure. I was also worried about hurting anyone so I had to be really careful all the time,” she said.
Director Kim said “99 percent of the action was all done by the cast themselves,” with little help from martial arts directors and stunt doubles who “did such an amazing job in making all of the [action] sequences doable and safe.”
“It’s a very fast-paced action because with the blink of an eye, you can miss one of the sequences. With the blink of an eye, you will immediately see the other person fallen on the ground,” Ahn said.
But the series is not all physical combat. “My Name” also examines the concept of revenge and follows the main character’s journey of self-discovery.
“Revenge is very close to righteousness and justice, and I try to bring that aspect to the series,” the director explained. “This is such an important theme that penetrates the entire story.”
“The question is constantly and consistently asked throughout all of the episodes, the question about this revenge being just and righteous,” he added.
“My Name” will be available for streaming on Netflix starting October 15.