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Office grunts clock in at Misaeng’s press conference

The cast and crew of the upcoming tvN drama Misaeng (Incomplete Life) gathered for a press conference on Monday, October 6 — it seems fitting that a show about office grunts should punch in on a Monday, doesn’t it? The drama, an adaptation of a webtoon with a mania following, is about the ins and outs of salaryman life and the universal angst of being a worker bee in the corporate world.

PD Kim Won-seok (Monstar, Sungkyunkwan Scandal) said about casting the drama, “When I took this project I met with the original creator, Yoon Tae-ho, and we discussed characters. We had differing feelings about some of the things I felt, and his intentions as he wrote them.”

He continued, “For instance, if I thought that Jang Baek-gi [Kang Haneul’s character] was short and had a complex about his appearance, Yoon Tae-ho described him as meticulous and nice, a studious and careful character. Rather than go with what one or two people might feel about the characters, I tried not to stray from the original creator’s ideas of them.”

About casting Lee Sung-min, PD Kim said, “I spoke to him about his casting while doing a different drama last year. He’s not the same physical appearance as the original character, but I thought that Lee Sung-min’s acting spirit was the best card we had for expressing [his character].”

Lee Sung-min admitted, “I had the Misaeng manhwa volumes 1-3 at home and read the first one and got bored and closed the book.” But then he added, “Once I was cast I went back to the original webtoon, and I couldn’t take my hands off of it, and read it to the end in one sitting. I realized that it was a mistake to stop reading in the middle of the first volume. After graduating high school I became an actor and that’s all I’ve known. While reading Misaeng I came to discover the office worker’s life, and was genuinely surprised.”

PD Kim said that in casting the main character, he was looking for a strong actor with a high profile who could develop a good rapport with Lee Sung-min: “But Lee Sung-min said that if there was one thing he wanted, it was a kind actor… So the result is that we cast the high-profile, good AND kind actor Im Shi-wan.”

Im Shi-wan said he had no reservations about taking on the role because it was a good project. About preparations for his fish-out-of-water rookie intern character, he said, “I have a few friends who work in offices, and have asked a lot about their lives. [My character] starts with zero experience in the workplace so I thought it would be good to start not having experienced office life. I tried my best to act exactly how I felt in that situation.”

Kang Haneul said, “I knew about Misaeng and liked it as a fan. I had trust in Misaeng itself, but I chose the project because I had faith in Director Kim Won-seok. It would be a lie if I said I felt no burden towards the original material. I have a lot of concerns before each and every scene. I hope that the audience doesn’t feel that burden, and instead thinks that this is what Jang Baek-gi would feel like if he were alive.”

Kang So-ra was asked about the potential for lovelines in the show: “You can’t say that Misaeng totally has or doesn’t have any lovelines, but it’s not the typical lovelines we’re used to. There could be slight [lovelines] between coworkers, but I’m not anticipating more. I wanted to do a drama that put more weight on work than romance. Lots of American dramas don’t put a lot of emphasis on lovelines.”

When pressed to choose between Im Shi-wan and Kang Haneul, she described Im Shi-wan’s chararcter as flipping expectations, since you think he’s going to be naive and dopey but he isn’t always so hapless. And on the flipside, Kang Haneul’s character seems strong but shows signs of youth and sensitivity. She said teasingly, “If I had to choose, it’d be Jang Geu-rae [Im Shi-wan] in the day, and Jang Baek-gi [Kang Haneul] at night. And by night I mean staying late in the office (Laughs).”

Misaeng follows Plus Nine Boys and premieres October 17.

Via Joy News, TV Daily, News 1, Star Today, FN News

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I can't wait for this - probably the thing I look forward to the most, out of all the new wave of dramas this season!

I really like what I'm hearing about the project so far, both in terms of the people involved as well as what they have to say about it. The cast is solid, I love the writer and directors' previous work...

.....and unlike Plus Nine Boys, they actually collaborated with the original creator so I can be assured we'll have no plagiarism scandals here.

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Yeah that's too bad because I really like Plus9Boys, and I actually expect Misaeng to have a similar feel to it.
I am glad Misaengs makers weren't blinded by greed and are being professional.

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Yeah, and they try to retain the charms of original characters.

I don't know what happen with Plus Nine Boys? Is the lawsuit still ongoing?

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Rolling my eyes at the fact that they ask about the lone actress about lovelines and her coworkers instead of what drew her to the project or what she likes about her character (OF COURSE) but I like her response. I'm looking forward to minimal romance.

I also like that there seems to be a lot of effort put into retaining the spirit of the source material and the author's intent. I may not be familiar with the manhwa but I definitely respect when creators of various mediums collaborate to stay true to the source material. Good on them.

And shallowly, I would like to stay late in the office with Kang Haneul too. *___*

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i personally like love lines, though i agree that it does not need to be at the forefront of the drama...it's too bad if there isn't much of any...i mean don't most of already know the drudgery of office work?

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lol, I definitely know the drudgery of office work firsthand but I tire of how prominent romance and love are in K-dramas. I want this to be an awesome slice of life type show. Romance is great but sometimes it gets to the point of being overwhelming or feeling inorganic. If there are some hints at feelings here or even a very low-key romance, I'd be okay with it but I don't want it to be a major part of the show. I'm totally okay with this just being a long form character study of these individuals.

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yeah, I noticed that too re: the question asked to Kang Sora. It's a common thing to treat actresses like they are accessories or love interests only, I've seen Scarlett Johansson getting that treatment too, and Shin Mina after Arang,

But personally, I wouldn't mind romance or hints at romance if it fit organically within the storyline and didn't detract from the main point which is about life as an office worker.

I wouldn't mind it at all if Misaeng handled possible love lines the way a jdrama might, by acknowledging it but not giving it primary importance in the storyline (and by finding the actress something to do other than be a love interest - after her last project, Kang Sora deserves better!)

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So excited for this! I love how seriously they're taking the source material, and that they all showed up to the PC in office wear and not the usual fashion disasters. Thanks for translating the interviews!

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While I usually don't enjoy office-based dramas, this one sounds right up my alley. It looks different which is already an achievement in my books, so I hope it lives up to everyone's expectations.

Also, I feel like there's a lack of Kang Haneul. I hardly see him in the promos so I hope he's given lots of material to work with. Im Shi-wan and Kang So-ra looks great and I'm really looking forward to this.

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I haven't watched any drama this year, non has caught my attention. But this one, I'm really anticipating.

I have a feeling that it'll be good/enjoyable/an easy watch.

My only qualm is that I hope it won't be too silly.

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After the brilliant prequel short, I would be deeply disappointed if the actual drama turned out silly :(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc4J6qFYmiY

I wonder how the drama will be, since the tone seems so different from the prequels, but I can't wait!

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I was expecting it be be darker and introspective like Siwan's short prequel. So I was a bit surprised at the difference in tone.

I agree, I can't wait.

Plus I just saw the opening credits in the soompi thread...I think we're safe.

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A bit of a tangent but I'm surprised no one asked Siwan about Zea and Lee Hoo's public meltdown.

Other than that, they all look fantastic. I'm super excited to see a drama about mundane life with no second generation chaebols or geniuses to ruin the mix. :) Hope it's a success!

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Everything I've seen and heard so far has been promising. Looking forward to it. I think it'll come out the gate fine but I hope its well received so it'll finish that way. Who's picked up the subs?

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I probably has the same answer as Kang Sora, Siwan in the day, Kang Ha Neul at night... hahaha

But same with comments above, why they only ask KSR about potential lovelines? It's a drama first and foremost about office workers. Not every drama should have love triangle, though I agree with bits of romance, but not necessarily become the main plot and drive to the characters.

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..can't take my eyes off Kang Ha Neul..
he's just looking great, i understand Kang Sora well. I grunt on staying late in the office, but I guess I should be just fine if staying late together with coworker who is hot, but meticulous, studious, and KIND (helping me with my works, of course). haha..

looking forward to this drama, and echoing others in the prev comment, i won't mind a slight romance, and some silliness (hey, that what happens in real office life too!) but the overall tone should not be romance-centric, or silly-drama-in overall.

all in all, I have faith in the production team, just like Kang Ha Neul said..:D good luck, Misaeng!

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And there's really no reason to take your eyes off him....

I'm actually looking forward to this show for multiple reasons, but Kang Ha Neul can get me to watch anything. ANYTHING. He's one of the first actors I ever really just fell for in a kdrama. It doesn't matter how small his part, it always feel natural and fully realized.

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excited!! watching this for kang ha neul :)

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Why does Kang Ha Neul look so different? Is it just the hair (which looks great, BTW), or had he had a little nip-tuck? In any case, I'm looking forward to this one. Hope at least one of the three drama streaming services I subscribe to carries it...

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This drama is reaally good. The acting all around is jjang. Layered performances from everyone.

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just watched the 1st 2 episode...and it was worth it. I just watched without knowing anything about the webtoon or the characters, surprisingly i love it.it has this dorama feel that i loved..(unfortunately this is the feel i missed from recent doramas i've watched )..acting-wise, thank GOD they choose actors that can ACT. Siwan is do believable of his naivety. I'll definitely recommend this kdrama to anyone..it really tugs ur heart...

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Will there ever be recaps for Misaeng here? *pretty please* No matter how slow it will come out. Cos i really wanna see what dramabeans has to say about the show so far.

Cuz so far the show is so good in this season of fantsasy dramas. It is so realistic and on point. So much character depth and growth. Im Si Wan couldn't really prove himself much in Triangle (I blame the writers), but here, HE WAS SO GOOD. Heck. All the characters are written so well the actors are playing them well too. You've really have all kinds of characters in the office and it is portrayed very well in this drama. Ratings are good so far. 1st ep: 1.2 , 2nd ep: 2.35 (huge jump, whoa) I almost cried in the first ep. the show isn't even melo, but it brings out so much feels.

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