Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

WTK Interview: OMEGA X’s Hangyeom Talks “Jazz For Two” Acting Debut, Chemistry With Co-Stars And More!

In March, Hangyeom of K-pop boy group OMEGA X made his acting debut in the BL drama “Jazz For Two.”

The eight-episode series is an adaptation of a popular webtoon that tells the stories of four arts high school students. It follows the struggles and pressures experienced on the journey of discovering their true selves while growing up through love and music.

Hangyeom plays the role of Suh Do Yoon, a playful drummer with an optimistic personality hiding a longtime secret crush. As a light-hearted character, he often serves as the lively and comedic balance to the show’s more serious moments.

Hangyeom as “Suh Do Yoon”

However, there is still plenty of drama in Do Yoon’s story which touches on confronting subject matters such as rejection, bullying, and homophobia. Hangyeom delivers a great performance as he portrays the various emotions experienced by Do Yoon throughout the series, especially when you consider this is his first acting role.

Jinkwon as “Yoon Se Heon”

Also starring in “Jazz For Two” is Jinkwon of NEWKIDD, a person who is no stranger to the boys’ love genre following his supporting roles in the popular BL series “To My Star” and its sequel, “To my Star 2.” Meanwhile, newcomer Ji Ho Geun and rising actor Kim Jung Ha complete the main cast.

Ji Ho-geun as “Han Tae Yi”

The show’s director Song Su Lim was also behind “A Shoulder to Cry On,” another BL webtoon adaptation led by Hangyeom’s fellow OMEGA X members Jaehan and Yechan. Jaehan and Yechan’s characters make a brief cameo appearance in the first episode of “Jazz For Two.”

Kim Jung-ha as “Song Joo Ha”

Apart from his acting debut, Hangyeom joined Jaehan to participate in the drama OSTs “New Light” and “Improvisation,” respectively. Additionally, the pair took part in writing and composing the songs in the OST, including OMEGA X’s full group song “Stay With Me.”

It marks the second time the pair have put their musical skills together to work on a BL drama OST— they previously took part in the theme for “A Shoulder To Cry On.”

What The Kpop was able to chat with Hangyeom about “Jazz For Two” in an exclusive interview. We talked to him about how he hopes the role can comfort others and which OMEGA X members helped him run lines! Check out our interview below!

WTK: Congratulations on your acting debut! Were there any challenges you faced while preparing for this role? 

Hangyeom: Thank you for congratulating me! The character of Do Yoon, as I see it, brings funny moments to the story when the tension starts to build along the drama’s storyline. I put a lot of thought into acting out humorous scenes well, and I feel good about how it turned out, especially with the director’s humor-filled edits.

WTK: Your character Do Yoon is a drummer. Do you play the drums in real life? Did you have to learn for the role? 

Hangyeom: I actually have no experience in playing the drums before getting into the drama. I took a drum lesson for the first time after accepting the role of Suh Do Yoon, and it was more fun and interesting than expected. If I have some free time, I would love to challenge myself to learn more.

WTK: The chemistry between all the characters is really great, especially your character Do Yoon and his crush Joo Ha. Did you work together to develop that chemistry or did it happen naturally?

Hangyeom: Kim Jung Ha, who played the role of Joo Ha, and I are of the same age. So, we became close from our first meeting. We had a lot in common, and even during times when we weren’t filming, we often contacted each other personally, which naturally made us close.

WTK: The BL genre is getting more and more popular in Korea, but did you have any worries or concerns about starring in a BL drama and playing a gay character?

Hangyeom: Rather than worrying about the genre, I had concerns about my acting since this was my first try in the field. I hoped that my acting skills wouldn’t negatively impact “Jazz for Two.” Therefore, I worked hard to learn and practice so that viewers could feel moved and entertained without feeling awkward when watching my acting.

WTK: There are some pretty intense scenes in the drama that depict bullying and homophobia. What was it like filming those scenes and being on the receiving end of that specific form of discrimination? 

Hangyeom: While I’m cautious about possibly causing discomfort to some people with my response, I hoped to portray “love” and people’s “relationships” through “Jazz for Two.” Although I might not be able to completely understand or express the feelings of people who have the memory of such hurtful experience, I aimed to express the sadness from rejection when confessing to your crush and the joy of eventually receiving the crush’s reciprocal feelings, showcasing emotions between people. I sincerely wanted to convey even a small sense of comfort and strength to those watching the four main characters’ fluctuation of emotions and shifts in relationships in the drama.

WTK: Unfortunately, the things your character Do Yoon experiences do happen in real life, especially to LGBTQ+ students growing up. Did you consider the importance of representing those struggles with this role? Do you have any words of comfort for people who can relate to Do Yoon? Have you received any feedback from viewers who received strength from your portrayal, and did you ever imagine that your first-ever acting role could be so impactful? 

Hangyeom: Continuing from my previous response, I’d like to mention that it would be an honor if even just one person found comfort and strength through the character of Do Yoon, who is ordinary and no different from anyone else in “Jazz for Two.” I’ve always believed that the emotion of one person liking another is a natural aspect of human interaction, both before portraying Do Yoon and even now. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet received messages from viewers who found strength through watching my acting. However, I’m continuously striving to showcase myself through more works, and it would bring me great joy if even one viewer could resonate and empathize when they see my efforts in the field.

WTK: Since “Jazz For Two” centers around jazz music we have to ask: do you like jazz music?

Hangyeom: While filming “Jazz for Two,” I feel like I’ve been exposed to more jazz music than ever before. I particularly enjoy music that blends jazz instrumentation with hip-hop beats. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of pH-1‘s rap.

WTK: As a musician yourself, did starring in this drama help you learn more about jazz or classical music? Or were you already familiar with those genres? 

Hangyeom: For me, “Jazz for Two” was an opportunity to be fascinated with the freedom and spontaneity inherent in the jazz genre. I was drawn to the charm of the reed instrument where it’s played freely without being confined to any particular framework.

WTK: The characters in the drama love jazz music, but what OMEGA X song would you recommend to them and why?

Hangyeom: While it might not seem directly related to jazz, I’d recommend OMEGA X’s song “VENUS!” We recently had a concert here in Korea, and actor Kim Jung Ha, who readily attended, mentioned how much he enjoyed the “VENUS” stage. Now, I can’t say for sure if he said so because I participated in the lyrics and composition for that song. (laughs) But it’s an amazing track known for its energetic performance on stage. I recommend it as I think the four protagonists in the drama would have found strength witnessing such a dynamic performance after going through various conflicts!

WTK: Have your OMEGA X members seen the drama yet? If so, what was their reaction? 

Hangyeom: I’m not sure if all the members watched it. They’re like my family, so it’s a bit embarrassing to show them my first acting attempt, and I haven’t asked them about it yet! (laughs) Actually, before and during the drama shoot, they helped me a lot with my lines. It was surprising to see Jaehan and Hyuk still remember my lines. It felt great when they complimented my natural acting!

WTK: One of your close friends in the K-pop industry is Jaejun of TAN— who has also been starring in a BL role recently— so I’m curious if the two of you have talked about this or if you gave each other advice or encouragement in taking on these roles? 

Hangyeom: Yes! I often chat with Jaejun, and these days, although we’re both busy, we manage to have occasional phone calls. When it comes to the story of my involvement in the BL genre, Jaejun was actually the first friend I told about it, besides the OMEGA X members. Since Jaejun and I have known each other for such a long time, we talk a lot and support each other.

WTK: Given the chance, what type of acting roles would you like to do in the future? 

Hangyeom: I’m eager to take on diverse characters, but I’m also keen on challenging myself with more roles similar to Do Yoon, filled with many fun and cheerful scenes!

WTK: Lastly, what was the most memorable thing about starring in “Jazz For Two”? 

Hangyeom: The most memorable thing was definitely the actors’ chemistry! Even when our filming days were different and we couldn’t meet, we cheered for each other through our group chat. When we met, it felt like meeting old school friends. Also, seeing Director Song Su Lim and many staff members diligently work motivated me to work even harder.

“Jazz For Two” is now available to watch on streaming platforms iQIYI, GagaOOLala, TVING, and Wavve.

We want to thank Hangyeom for taking the time to speak with us and for sharing his thoughts so candidly! In addition, we also thank IPQ and Helix Publicity for arranging this interview! We wish Hangyeom much success going forward in his acting career and in OMEGA X’s future activities as well!

Meanwhile, connect with Hangyeom on Instagram and with OMEGA X on X/Twitter (Members’ X/Twitter), Instagram (Members’ Instagram), YouTube and TikTok!

Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1 or leaving us a comment on Facebook and Instagram!

Lead Writer and Interviewer: Justin Esposito
MEDIA: IPQ

ByJustin

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