The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] ‘Sweet Home’ actor Song Kang rises to Netflix stardom

By Lim Jang-won

Published : Dec. 23, 2020 - 14:24

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Song Kang (Netflix) Song Kang (Netflix)

As the first season of webtoon-based drama “Sweet Home” premiered Friday, lead actor Song Kang gained fans throughout the world.

Although Song earlier this year starred in another webtoon-based Netflix drama -- “Love Alarm,” as one of the lead actors -- the attention he is receiving with “Sweet Home” is unparalleled. The 10-episode Netflix original series with a budget over 30 billion won ($27 million) was the most popular drama series in over 10 countries around the world and entered the top 10 list in the US -- a first for a Korean TV drama.

The director of “Love Alarm” recommended “Sweet Home” director Lee Eung-bok bring in Song for an audition, paving the way for the actor to score the title role.

“In every audition, I try to show the raw person that I am. I think everyone has a unique attraction, so I thought I should have one too. I think director Lee Eung-bok felt that I was like Hyun-soo during the audition and decided to cast me,” said Song in an online press interview Tuesday.

“I only found out recently that ‘Sweet Home’ was a tremendous project with lots of investment,” said Song.

Song’s social media is now filled with fans cheering him on in multiple languages, which is unreal for the 26-year-old who debuted four years ago.

“Although I haven’t done many works yet, this was the first time my friends contacted me after the drama’s release. I even heard that the drama was at the top spot in over 10 countries, so I am very happy,” said Song.
Song Kang (Netflix) Song Kang (Netflix)

Even before realizing the scale of the drama series, Song felt immense pressure after being cast as Hyun-soo, a dark, introvert living in an apartment filled with monsters born from human desires, as he worked with actors with much longer careers.

“I was very pressured and felt lots of responsibility. Even while filming, I had doubts. ‘Is the character that I have built up until now right?’ I communicated with the directors the most when that happened. I also write a lot in my diary and read what I wrote before to overcome the pressure and doubts,” said Song.

It was that habit of writing a diary that helped him overcome the hardest time in his career.

“I waited for the results of many final auditions, but I ended up failing in all of them at one point. Writing in my diary helped me overcome those times,” said Song.
“Sweet Home” (Netflix) “Sweet Home” (Netflix)

In order to focus on his role in “Sweet Home,” Song tried to find the darkest, most introverted side of himself.

“I tried to imagine what kind of person Hyun-soo would be in real life. I contemplated how to show myself as a loner, how to show the introverted side of me. I imagined a facial expression of someone who has no will to live and is awaiting death,” said Song. “There were days when I would lie down with lights off the whole day and before going to the set, I would think about Hyun-soo crouching in the dark alone. I tried to think of myself as Hyun-soo who was alone and contemplating death.”

To visualize the monsters created using special effects, the actor thought of the monsters in “Constantine” (2005).

Through “Sweet Home,” Song hopes people will remember him as someone who is able to show raw emotions.

“I hope people feel Hyun-soo was Song Kang and Song Kang was Hyun-soo. That would make me elated,” said Song. “I heard that if the drama is well received, there would be a second season, but I have yet to hear anything. I hope it happens.”

By Lim Jang-won (