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Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk reminisce about summer in Twenty Five Twenty One

With the premiere only a few weeks away, tvN has been ramping up promos for their upcoming romance Twenty Five Twenty One which stars Kim Tae-ri (Mr. Sunshine) and Nam Joo-hyuk (Start-Up).

The story re-visits the South Korean IMF crisis in the late 1990s and we experience the impact this has on our characters while they’re still young and just venturing into adulthood. Eighteen-year-old Kim Tae-ri is an aspiring fencing athlete, but is forced to detour on the path towards her dreams when the sport is cancelled at her high school.

Meanwhile, Nam Joo-hyuk, four years her senior, needs to figure out how to support himself and his family when they go from wealthy to poor overnight. It is at this point where the two first meet, and the drama follows their growth as they pursue their goals, and their relationship develops.


The newly released video teaser starts with blue skies and white flowers, a shot that’s captured with the hashtags: #TwentyFiveTwentyOne #NaHeedo (Kim Tae-ri’s character) and #fencingathlete. Kim Tae-ri jumps and runs around, enjoying the falling flower petals and beautiful weather. She narrates the appearing captions: “Maybe because I was running or maybe because I was excited, I felt kind of breathless. The wind blew around me and brushed green leaves against my body. It was the middle of summer.”

We then cut to a sandy beach, and this scene is captured by hashtags as well: #TwentyFiveTwentyOne #BaekYijin (Nam Joo-hyuk’s character) and #reporter. Nam Joo-hyuk sets up his camera equipment and puts his earbuds in before basking in the sun and taking everything in. Similar to Kim Tae-ri, in voice-over, he reads out the accompanying captions: “The summer that felt like it would go on forever… we met in our youth when we were the most passionate. That summer belonged to us.” As we see a family playing at the beach, Nam closes the teaser with the drama’s title, “Twenty Five Twenty One.”

Written by Kwon Do-eun (Search Query: WWW) and directed by PD Jung Ji-hyun (You Are My Spring, Search Query: WWW), tvN’s newest drama premieres February 12.

Via KBS, MBC, MBN, MK Sports
 
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Sigh. How many middle-of-summer trailers of a girl/boy sticking their faces into the wind and gazing at sun, happy for...some...reason. Aesthetics/style sometimes does not pique audience interest, you know.

On the other hand, if they showed Kim Tae-ri fencing, dripping from sweat, and walking out to enjoy the breeze in the middle-of-summer, that would pique my interest.

Verdict: we shall see.

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Also, is Our-Beloved-Summer-esque trend now in vogue in dramaland? Please, no.

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I think the different between Our Beloved Summer and this one will be: The IMF Crisis. The reality is hasher in this one, and if you watched the movie Default, you know the event for South Korean is the level of national shame ... So I guess I will still watch it ...

Default trailer

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Hopefully, that's true. What made me cringe though is this: "The summer that felt like it would go on forever… we met in our youth when we were the most passionate. That summer belonged to us.

It all seems like a trend now in the dramaland.

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"The summer that felt like it would go on forever…"

When South Korea became one of the members of OECD in 1997, thus getting the membership of developed country, the whole country felt the same way ... until they found out they are just days from bankruptcy. The fund from IMF in fact solidified the country's economic structure, in which the chaebols reign supreme, and the most memorable for common folk in South Korea is to sell all their variables just to fix the mess those Chaebols made up, a.k.a. debt. Small businesses would be even harder to get a foothold in the country's economy (and those who spend their saving to start a business mostly being portrayed as bad guys, like the one in Hospital Playlist Season 2), as well the new cast system has become something harder to break, as those who win a seat in big chaebol companies get to the upper echelon.

This is the time when South Koreans lost their dream, and money becomes their only purpose in life. Therefore, Twenty Five Twenty One is not Our Beloved Summer. The latter is about forgiveness, understand, and the importance of letting go (as of Episode 14); the former, however, is really about the loss of dreams, and how they (represented by the two main leads) become who they are today.

Therefore I have hope for this project, and looking forward to it. (1 of 2)

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As one of the "3 Kims" in Chungmuro (also include Kim Dami, who is currently in the aforementioned Our Beloved Summer, and Kim Go-eun of Goblin), Kim Taeri is the one I appreciated the most on choosing project for herself. From The Handmaiden, 1987 to Mr. Sunshine, all her project has some social conscience, from materialization of sex and discrimination between genders, democratization and social justice, to sovereignty and social inequality, respectively. Yet at the same time broadening her role she can play. As a result I have faith on her on this one. (2 of 2)

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Yes, that crisis had a devastating impact on Korea.

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I really hope we will get to see a lot about it in this show 🤞🏼

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This made me laugh.

Though have to admit something poignant to me about thinking of standing on a busy sidewalk and taking deep breaths of unfiltered summer air.

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so boring. so unbearably boring. lmao but seconded on the last part hmm i would like to see that indeed ;)

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Definitely a far cry from MR. SUNSHINE and START-UP as well.

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I do like a coming of age story but Nam Joo-hyuk has never quite convinced me that he can act. I'll definitely try it though.

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Does anyone not smile when they see Kim Tae-ri smile? She's so radiant here! I'm excited! Love the cast and loved the director's last drama.

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Don’t look at me!!

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I find Kim Taeri to be one of the most interesting Korean actresses, and from all that I've seen of this drama's promotional materials, I don't feel like this role (or pairing) is meaty enough for someone with her caliber of acting. Of course I'm speaking early so I may end up being completely wrong.

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agreed. unfortunately it doesnt even close to pique and interest.

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Agree, plus: she is a 31 year old woman playing an 18 year old girl. I simply do not buy it.

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I haven't watch any Kim Taeri's project so i don't know anything about her.
But for me Nam Joohyuk seems comfortable (and also quite fitting given his youthful looks) with coming of age dramas. I think he did great job in Start Up. He was so convincing to make me dislike Dosan at some moments🤣

But the teaser... come on, you can do better than that

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I've only seen Kim Tae Ri in Space Sweepers, she was fine, nothing spectacular, so she isn't the draw for me.. Nam Joo Hyuk was in School Nurse Files and I LOVED that drama so he has a lot of good will for me from that, so will try this for him.

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I highly recommend the movie The Handmaiden for a better look at Kim Tae-ri’s talent. She is phenomenal in it (even more-so when you realize it’s her first role ever) and the movie itself is gorgeous. I consider it among the best of recent Korean cinema.

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IIRC she has been acting in short films 6 years before Handmaiden. Baby steps for Chungmuro’s indie darlings.
I’m happy to see her career thriving on big and small screen.

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Is that so? I was aware that she might’ve had some credits somewhere prior to The Handmaiden, but 6 years of short films? Wow. Do you have any recommendations?

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No English subs that I know of otherwise, I'd watch "Moon-young" (2015).

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I loved The Handmaiden and that was my intro to KTR. Off tangent - the standout of Handmaiden was Kim Minhee for me. It's a pity her personal relationship derailed her career right after she hit it big in Handmaiden and she's now persona non grata. She's such a talented actress.

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Same.
Kim Min-hee didn't start well like Kim Taeri but became better with training and experience.
She shines more in films and I hope she is not giving up on acting. I'd love to see more of her in indie films.

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It's weird how the teasers don't show any glimpse of the IMF Crisis. It looks like a innocent romance but the set-up of the story is the most interesting part.

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This. So far, it looks like your dime-a-dozen easy, breezy, romantic kdrama. But I feel like for KTR to take this on there's got to be more to the drama...right?

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I definitely think they'll be more. KTR seldom does dramas. And idk why but I'm inclined to think it's a time travel lol. Maybe its because of the first SD1D esque picture. But yeah their ages don't make sense to me either if it is set in present day but they're already 18 in 98. Anyways I'm very optimistic for this one. Fingers crossed for a time travel!

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I'd like to pretend this is the SD1D remake, instead of that other 'official' one -_- Honestly, present day/ 1998 plus the sets too coincidental to not be. Maybe they blew all their budget with the casting, so 25/21 didn't have money to secure the IP, and is 'loosely' inspired? xD We'll see! :P

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One can hope 😜but yeah this casting is much better though NJH for Greg Hsu's role is still a stretch. Better than ABH maybe.

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I think they’re trying to trick audiences like me who likes summer breezy vibes (eventho reality is i live in a tropical country and prefers indoor AC 🤣)

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I love Kim Tae Ri in Mr. Sunshine, 1987 and Little Forest. I think Nam Joo Hyuk did a good job in The Light in Your Eyes and The Great Battle, so yes I would definitely watch this!

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It’s NJH so I have to give it a try. Plus Tae-to. I can hardly say no, even if the premise is bro not exactly what I want to watch.

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I really like Nam Joo Hyuk. plus I like Kim Tae Ri in Space Sweepers. This is a bit too close to my current fave, Our Beloved Summer, with the first love and summer thing. Maybe I will wait for reviews first before I dive into this.

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It's my kind of aesthetics.

I will be there on February 12 to check it out.

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This looks pretty but i just hope PD doesn’t give the WWW-like lighting effect again..

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Teasers have been very generic till now. So there is no way to imagine how the story will go. Maybe they are setting the mood for the first part of the story, before everything changes for them.
I love both of them so I'm looking forward to this... hoping the story will be interesting. I love this PD <3

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I like both leads and think they generally pick good projects, but I'm still not sure how I feel about this one. Hope it's fun.

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The promos seem quite generic, but it’s by the writer + director of Search: WWW so I have hopes it’s going to be deeper than it looks. The synopsis mentions the IMF Crisis and the teasers have shown nothing regarding that yet. I think the story could very well go like this - typical romcom vibes in the first few (or maybe first half of the show), only to take a hard left-turn in tone/genre once tragedy unfolds. Lmao I’m just making things up at this point because I want this to be good.

Might just be me coping and trying to justify the casting, but I don’t think an actress the caliber of Kim Tae-ri would star in a regular summery romcom. Nam Joo-hyuk is…fine I guess. If he’s more School Nurse Files and less a typical kdrama male lead, then he’ll win me over easily.

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No offense toward Nam Joo-hyuk but how is he already a leading man when actors like Kim Jae-wook are becoming leading men after years of acting and actors like Song Jae-rim still aren't leading men. That just seems unfair. And I'm sorry but Kim Tae-ri is out of his league. Not many actresses can act next to people like Lee Byung-hyun and shine and she can. Going from Lee Byung-hyun to Nam Joo-hyuk seem like a step backward.

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Isn't it about fan perception and enthusiasm? To sell more ads and raise revenue? Good actors will be offered good acting roles. Popular actors will be offered leads in rom-coms.

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Oh gosh Song Jaerim...
I watched him as a cameo in Work Later Drink Now few weeks ago and he was so swooooony and his acting felt so natural.
Someone, give the man his lead role!

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Love them both!!! After a little bit of a slump.... I need to watch this show and believe in dramaland again!!! 😅☺😍😁😀😂🙋

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Looking forward a lot to this! Both are solid actors who portray a lot of sincerity in their acting and I loved You Are My Spring, so knowing the director is the same makes me interested in this show!

On another note, responding to some statements across blogs and also here that I’ve read about the “superiority” of KTR compared to NJH, I wanted to share my 2 cents because I found that a very interesting observation of how people think:

So - I think it’s common to have preferences on pairings eg. If one feels the chemistry is not there after the show airs and everyone is entitled to that opinion, but to feel that someone is too good to be acting alongside another just based on casting, and that one is out of someone else’s league is, IMO, a bit much.

I think true actors will always respect the capabilities and craft of each other enough and will not think they are too superior nor too good to act alongside others. If NJH was unimpressive, Han Ji Min, an esteemed senior actress would not have worked with him twice. Jung Yu Mi would not have worked with him too if she was too big for him. Even if the script and the director is the primary reason for these great actors to take up a role, im sure actors won’t stick with the role blindly if they didn’t think they could work well with their co-stars and appreciated their talent (unless we say that the agencies forced them to do it). Objectively, he is nowhere near the status of a great actor but he has proven to be a solid actor who acts well in all the roles given to him 2018 and beyond.

We all live in a world where we grow and improve through opportunities to learn from those who are better than us; while those who are talented impart their knowledge and surely have much to learn still from their less experienced counterparts.

Im sure no one enjoys any society where the best only interact with the best because they are too good for others.

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Seeing as how you used some of the same wording that I did in my post, I'm going to assume that you felt my comment was a little harsh. I don't think only the best should interact with the best. My point is that the entertainment industry can be unfair. It's fine to let the greener actors/actresses have roles, but let them build up their skills before thrusting them into lead roles. Allow those who have built up their skills the chance to play the lead as well. (Now if someone gets a lead role after auditioning and beating out hundreds of others, that's a different story. Allowing a rookie to play a lead role is understandable then because they have proven themselves through the audition process.) The industry, however, may offer lead roles to people they think will give them higher ratings while other really good actors are overlooked. Opportunities should be spread around, and based on your ability to get the job done. And some actors can get the job done quite well, so why not give them a chance as well?

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Thank you for explaining. I didn’t mean to single you out, and I did not reply to your comment because I don’t think it’s an opinion that you only mentioned, I’ve read many others saying the same thing along the same lines. But appreciate understanding your thought process.

What you shared and further explained is understandable, I guess what is just unfathomable is how sometimes people are quick to feel that someone is not deserving of something.

If an actor constantly performs poorly and still gets high profile lead opportunities, then I fully understand the frustration. But if an actor has shown constant progressive improvements drama after drama and has gotten a role that is exactly what he does well and does best, then where’s the fault at that? Is the fault because a great actress chose to act in this drama with him? Will people feel this way still if a lesser known actress chose to act in this exact same drama with him?

That’s my line of thought when I shared the above comment. But at the end of the day, no right or wrong, and I hope we will just all enjoy the drama if it’s good and give it a pass if it’s not.

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*cough*Jisoo*cough*

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Thank you! I wanted to say something but there are so many of these comments that I didn’t know who to reply to.

It kind of blows my mind that people are still using The Bride of Habaek as Nam Joo-hyuk’s representative role when he has proven with The Light in Your Eyes, The School Nurse Files, and Start-Up that he is FINE. No, he’s not the most amazing actor out there, but have people looked at these trailers? It doesn’t exactly seem like a super challenging drama. It looks like it’s the type of character that is exactly up Nam Joo-hyuk’s alley, honestly.

People keep saying one minute that this doesn’t look meaty enough for Kim Tae-ri and then the next complain that Nam Joo-hyuk is her co-star, but why should he be blamed for picking a drama that probably suits him?

People have difference preferences and I respect that but I truly don’t understand the “NJH is a terrrrrrrrribble actor just terrrrrrrribble!” comments anymore. It probably doesn’t help that Start-Up’s absolutely idiotic fan wars gave a certain subset of fans ill will towards his character and, by extension, him as an actor. And before people get their panties in a twist, no, I’m not saying that all of the people critical of him are just being haters, but I’m sure there are some people out there who hate him now because they didn’t like the Do-san/Dal-mi ship lol.

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(Also, Kim Tae-ri is still young! She hasn’t had the chance to do roles like this because she’s been so focused on Chungmuro, so I say let her choose this role if it’s what she wants to do! I feel like sometimes people forget that actors have personal preferences too, different roles that they want to try for various reasons, and they don’t always have to do the thing that will win them the next Baeksang.)

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Yeah, I don’t get why people get so upset at him if he gets a role that suits him and he does it well.

And just because Kim Tae Ri decides to do a romcom or coming of age melodrama doesn’t make her choice a lesser quality one. Shows like these can be great too. Diff audience, different preferences. And I say this as someone who is a fan of thrillers and dramas more than rom coms.

It’s quite clear that some people will never forgive him for his performance in Habaek even if he redeemed himself in other roles (which were critically acclaimed, not fan-based driven like The Great Battle and The Light in Your Eyes).

I guess some people will always carry that bias and are unforgiving and will not be willing to be happy for someone’s growth.

I say these things because I think that these are not just Kdrama fandom antics, they just generally reflect how people think and their mindsets.

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Nam joohyuk was sooo terrible in the execrable Bride of whatever (Hebeck? - That is an hour I will always regret wasting on that drivel) that I am inclined to believe he is the archetypal model turned bad to mediocre actor (unlike my gloriously talented Woobie). I think Start up was aberration as he was ok in it but boy does he appear to be a poor actor. Woobie should hold acting clinics for these model turned ‘actors’.

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