Cover The cast of ‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’ talks about the upcoming rom-com K-drama (Photo: Netflix)

‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’ is the newest rom-com to drop in Netflix. The crew—Kim Seon-ho, Shin Min-a and Lee Sang-yi—talk about their chemistry, characters and working with each other

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is Netflix’s newest K-drama rom-com offering that’s bound to steal our hearts with its heart-fluttering love story set in a beautiful seaside village. Whether you’re searching for a sweet escape, looking for a new feel-good story to enjoy or need a healing drama, there’s so much to love and be excited about.

Ahead of the K-drama’s premiere on Netflix, the cast—Kim Seon-ho, Shin Min-a and Lee Sang-yi—as well as director Yu Je-won shares with us about what drew them to their characters, their upcoming chemistry and what Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is a perfect rom-com that has everything, you might be looking for.

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Tell us about the series.

Director Yu: It’s a story of a Seoul city girl, Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a) who arrives at the seaside village, she meets Du-sik, the handyman (Kim Seon-ho). Because of the new environment, they grow fond of each other even if they are very different. She sees something in him that she's not familiar with. The same for him.

What drew you to join the series?

Kim: It’s a heartwarming, human story. I play the role of someone unemployed but able to do everything. I thought about what I could bring to the character. Overall, it's just a heartwarming story.

Shin: When I received the script, it was a great read and great fun. I also wanted to come back to the rom-com genre. While I was trying to find a rom-com that I wanted to return to, it was such a well-written script and well-thought so I was drawn to my character.

Lee: I was also drawn to the fun and interesting story. I felt like I was transported to this seaside village. And of course, being able to act alongside Min-a and Seon-ho.

Fans are already calling you (Kim and Shin) the perfect visual couple, how was your chemistry on set?

Shin: It was really good. Before starting, I already knew there were high expectations. Seon-ho has good character and is a comfortable person to be with. Even without acting, there is flexibility and chemistry between the two of us.

Kim: I totally agree with Min-a. I was talking about this with Sang-yi that Min-a is really a good person. She accepts our playful side and she’s a fun person to be with. Every moment on set, we are enjoying ourselves together. She also prepares jokes with us and throws them at us and we are able to carry that on and on with that so the set becomes more fun.

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Lee, you are working with them (Kim and Shin) for the first time, can we expect some romance with both?

Lee: I think this series will have a lasting impression on me. This is a huge experience for me. I’ve been in a couple of dramas and movies and I think the people you work with is very important and this experience is really special. Working with Seon-ho, it’s an opportunity to learn as he's more experienced than me.

Min-a is a big person, she’s able to accommodate, considerate and thinks about the people around her. These two actors are more experienced than me including the director so I was able to deliver my potential.

As for the romance with Min-a and bromance with Seon-ho, we’ve all become quite friends now and we can joke around so I don’t really have much to say. Everyone will really like each other and I feel like they know me and I know them and become accepted by my co-actors.

What's it like working with Lee for the first time?

Kim: I’m amazed by Lee’s work ethic on set and he's talented. I learned a lot from him as he's really gifted and the director feels the same way. He's an actor with great potential. It's recognised by everyone on set. He has a lot of ideas and this makes the drama more energetic.

Shin: We prepare a lot beforehand and when your partners are able to accommodate what you have prepared, I think there is a sense that everything is going to work out and turn out successful. They are very serious in their acting, but at the same time, they are very funny and playful. It’s really great working with them.

Director, how do you like the chemistry between the two leads during filming?

Director Yu: The chemistry is excellent, the visual chemistry we felt that the shots of the two are amazing. Visually, they look great together. it shows that they are comfortable with each other whether on-set or off-set. There wasn’t a lot for me to do and I was very satisfied.

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Director, you're working with Shin again, what's it like?

Director Yu: I worked with her in Tomorrow With You and she’s always very lovely and talented and we can say that Min-a is born to be lovely. She’s able to maintain that charm but I also think that her acting has become more mature. She’s deepened as an actress and person. When I see them working together, all of them make each other comfortable.

Shin, what are some similarities between you and your character?

Shin: It was easy for me to follow her emotions. I went through the character before the interview. She’s honest and her expressions are direct but if you look at your emotions, she has a lot to express.

What efforts did you make to play your own character?

Kim: There’s so much he does so I had to set some part of my time to learn those traits. I had to learn to surf, learn from a barista to make good coffee and so on. I needed some lead time to learn these things but he’s unemployed so I needed to maintain a certain balance. He needed to blend in with the village people and connect with them.

Shin: I think Seon-ho had to prepare the most. For me, since I play the role of a dentist, I visited my dentist. I had my teeth looked at and tried to observe my dentist’s facial expressions. I also tried to spend some time understanding the dentist’s feelings.

Lee: I watched a lot of TV since I play the role of a star producer. I watched a lot of producer Na Young-seok’s programs because that’s the kind of role I’m portraying, as well as producer Kim Tae-ho who is the producer of Hang Out with Yoo. I tried to observe them and I noticed that they are not that talkative on set, they are usually quietly observing in the back. Aside from that, I tried to become close to my co-stars since chemistry is translated to the screen.

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Shin, your previous roles from Chief of Staff and Diva are different and now you're back to being the rom-com queen. Is there pressure with this title?

Shin: I won’t say I'm the queen because it’s burdensome. But I try, I want to show my fans as many sides of me as possible so I venture into other genres but I wanted to do a heart-fluttering genre again. Rather than pressure, I’m excited that fans are waiting for me to return to this genre.

How was it shooting in such a beautiful location?

Lee: For me, the set is amazing and we are shooting in an area far away from Seoul. When I return home to the city, I really miss it, the staff, co-star and I’d grab the phone because I miss them.

Shin: Because we are shooting beside the beach, near the seaside, I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful scenery but we were not free from the climate. It was very hot during the summer. But it was very healing. When I’m on set, I’m exhausted but when I look at the ocean and hear the waves, I feel comforted. The backdrop comforted us and bring us back to life.

Kim: We became a part of the village. We would wake up together and go to bed at the same time. We all blended in and became a part of the village. We would all share ice cream together after a hot shooting day. There are three characters—three ladies—amazing actresses and characters and they make the series more memorable. They were eating potatoes in a scene but they ate so much that we switched to squid and then got stomachache after.

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This is a story set at the seaside, but why is the title Cha-Cha-Cha?

Director Yu: We’re based on another work, I thought it would be difficult to replicate the story exactly like the original story. It was going to be different so I wanted to bring something new to the story. The title was selected by voting. Cha-cha-cha is a type of dance, you can’t do it alone, you need another person. The calligraphy for the title also looks like people dancing.

What makes Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha appealing? Why should we watch it?

Director Yu: It’s about the small stories in our daily life. It’s about healing and warmth and the changes that we go through. It’ll be entertaining and fun. It’s set at the seaside so the scenery will be breathtaking. I hope this is something that the audience will want to watch. I hope the characters appeal to the audience.

Kim: All of the scenes are beautiful and even though the incidents are not particularly special, these incidents could happen to any of us and you can experience healing. How the villagers of Gongjin react can be appealing to the audience.

Shin: There are multiple characters and all of us have great chemistry which I think can be an entertaining point.

Lee: On Saturday and Sunday, after you’ve had a long week and you’re ready to relax, I think our drama will be fun to watch and can feel like a retreat. There are elements that will look like a documentary and there are elements that have a dramatic side. I am sure you’ll be able to get good sleep after watching this comfortable drama.

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Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha premieres on August 28, 2021 on Netflix