Kang Ha Neul: Every moment with Baek Hyun and Ji Soo was fun

The actor says the cast’s chemistry on the set of ‘Scarlet Heart’ made for a smooth-sailing shoot

Kang Ha Neul

Unlike his brooding, bursting-with-serious-manly-charisma character, 8th Prince Wang Uk, in highly anticipated Korean drama Scarlet Heart, Kang Ha Neul is pretty much a ray of warm sunshine in real life. During our group interview yesterday (August 27), the 26-year-old actor laughed – with a distinct, loud guffaw – almost as often as he spoke, showing off his famous smile.

Our question, on which male cast member playing royalty was most prince-like in real life, seemed to amuse Ha Neul, who offered a hearty chuckle before naming lead actor Lee Joon Ki, who plays 4th Prince Wang So. “He was already a big star before Scarlet Heart, and I used to watch his shows and admire him,” he said. “Thanks to Joon Ki’s fans, the rest of the cast got to enjoy a lot of sumptuous meals and other gifts, so yeah, I call him Prince Lee Joon Ki! (laughs)”

Another male cast member who was dubbed “prince-like” by Ha Neul was Nam Joo Hyuk, who plays Baek-ah, the 13th Prince. “He’s handsome and looks sophisticated, almost like royalty. For his role in the drama, he put in a lot of effort into learning how to play the gayageum (a traditional Korean stringed instrument), so I envied that and I would want to be given the chance to play it myself – I would give a great performance and I think my popularity would shoot up! (laughs)”

Ha Neul also had nothing but praises for Baek Hyun (of idol group EXO) and Ji Soo, 10th Prince Wang Eun and 14th Prince Wang Jung respectively, the brothers his character is closest with in the series. “Two of them are great actors in their own right and there was so much chemistry between us on set,” he gushed. “I can’t name any one particularly memorable moment between us, because every moment was a lot of fun; it was very enjoyable and there weren’t any major issues when it came to performing, and even off-set, there was a lot of laughter and fun going on.”

Since all the princes got on royally well with one another, did lead actress Lee Ji Eun (IU), whose character Go Ha Jin becomes known as Hae Soo when she’s transported from the present day to the ancient Goryeo dynasty, ever feel left out of the “boys’ club”? “I think there might have been some pressure on IU as the only female lead, but her personality is that she puts everyone around her at ease – even when she was surrounded by a bunch of guys, she was very comfortable with it.”

Kang Ha Neul
Kang Ha Neul and his 'Scarlet Heart' co-stars. Clockwise from top left: Lee Joon Ki, Lee Ji Eun (IU), Kang Ha Neul, Lee Joon Ki, Kang Ha Neul, EXO's Baek Hyun, Ji Soo, Hong Jong Hyun. (Photo: TPG)

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