“You came looking for me even before I called you”, admonishes a mysterious woman (Park So-dam), her eyes deeply ringed with kohl, to Choi Yee-jae (Seo In-guk), a woe-be-gone job seeker, who has jumped to his death.
She introduces herself as Death and chides Yee-jae for what she describes as his flippant attitude towards mortality. She punishes him and sentences him to experience death not once but 12 times through the bodies of 12 different people whose end is imminent. The catch is, if he can prevent one of them from dying, he gets to live once more.
SLL Productions’s upcoming web series, Death’s Game is an adaptation of the popular webtoon Yi-Jae Will Die Soon. The drama comes bearing a strong message.
Starring the ever-versatile Seo In-guk, known for popular hits such as High School King of Savvy, Reply 1997, Shopping King Louie and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, alongside Park So-dam of Parasite and Record of Youth fame, Death’s Game also features Lee Do Hyun, Kim Jae Wook and Sung Hoon.
Recently, HELLO! India had a chance to chat with both Seo In-guk and Park So-dam about their upcoming show, their chemistry and their careers. Read our exclusive interview below:
In Conversation With Seo In-guk And Park So-dam
HELLO!: Seo In-guk, you emote with your eyes. In this drama, you are Yee-jae, who’s going through this life and death cycle. You said you were fascinated with the time loop. What draws you to this genre, and what was it about this gig that made you say yes?
Seo In-guk: “First of all, I was already a fan of the original webtoon, and when you watch the show you’ll know that we have a very strong message that we want to convey. And that message hit me hard. The biggest appeal for me was the narrative and the story created through the two characters, Yee-jae and Death.”
H!: You are currently starring in a musical called Monte Cristo as well. Do your skills as a musician benefit your acting abilities?
SI: “Yes, very much so. The vocal training that I do for my music helps a lot with enunciating my lines when I’m acting. For the emotional portrayal as well, when I’m singing a particular lyric, it’s impact will increase if there’s an acting aspect to it. So with each area of art…they create a lot of synergy.”
H!: Park So-dam, we love that you take on very powerful and strong characters. What draws you to them?
Park So-dam: “I think when I read a potential project, I’m drawn to the energy it exudes. Also, if there’s a particular message the story wants to tell and if the character I may portray contributes to delivering that message, I think that’s when I’m most drawn to them.”
H!: You have previously expressed your interest in this genre. What was it like to play Death—was it challenging to play the woman who holds the key to this young man’s fate?
PS: “I think Death was someone who, more so than anyone else, was able to understand and deeply relate to the emotional struggles and life choices of Yee-jae. That is why she wanted to give him an opportunity and wanted him to learn a lesson. I also think Death wanted Yee-jae to live his life to the fullest—she was rooting for him. Although Death was the one to give him the 12 punishments, on an emotional level, they are more connected than anyone else.”
H!: When a creative pair like you comes together, how do you feed off each other’s energy? Is it necessary for both of you to personally resonate with the characters you’re playing?
SI: For both questions, it’s exactly what you’d assume. Chemistry with your co-star is very important. I think, when there’s great chemistry and when you can work well with one another, it creates a lot of synergy and leads to a great performance. Whenever there’s great chemistry, I find myself enjoying acting in the moment. And later on, when you monitor those scenes, they are the ones that make you proud of the results.
And for the second question, I very much agree that you have to personally relate to the character because if you don’t have that level of understanding of your character, you’re either not doing the job right or, if you’re able to pull it off, you’re an amazing actor. I’ve never experienced 12 deaths, but acting begins with putting yourself in the character’s shoes and trying to relate to the character’s emotions. You start there, then try to express your emotions in that situation and that leads to the characters becoming convincing to those watching, and that leads to the audience relating to the characters.”
PS: “I also agree, it’s very important—you feed energy off of one another. I consider myself very lucky, I think with every project I do, I’ve worked with such great cast members and it was thanks to all of their help that I got to where I am today. This time around too, In-guk was so considerate of me and I felt like his authenticity and genuineness were moving. At times, I found myself being in awe of his performance, too. Getting that energy from him allows me to better portray Death. So, I feel very lucky with my costars.
And as for the second part of the question, yes, I strongly agree that you have to be able to understand your character on a personal level to be able to portray them. Whenever I get a new project, I try to focus on the message and this time around, the character’s emotional arc resonated strongly with me. I would cry at many moments… and I feel like being able to empathize with someone—whether it’s my character or someone in real life—is very important.”
Death’s Game Part 1 is available on Amazon Prime Video. Part 2 premieres on Jan 5 2024