Cover Kim Seon-Ho (Photographed by Shin Sun-hye/@stuioioo for Netflix)

The actors play romantic rivals on Netflix’s latest K-drama

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha stars the queen of rom-com, Shin Min-a as Yoon Hye-jin, a feisty and independent young woman who moves out of the big city to open her own dental practice. We follow her character as she arrives in the idyllic seaside village of Gongjin and gets to know the tight-knit community that lives there, including Hong Du-sik, the town’s problem-solver and handyman.

Since the debut of the show on August 27, many have expressed their delight at the two character’s chemistry and potential love connection. They even refer to the duo as the Sikhye Couple, a combination of their names that is also the name of a traditional Korean rice punch, coincidentally matching the wholesome and heartwarming mood of this drama. 

Fans of Kim Seon-ho, who plays Du-sik, are especially excited about Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha as it may finally be his opportunity to break free from ‘second lead syndrome’. Over the years, he has gained a reputation for playing characters who are unlucky in love, which was only solidified by his most recent role in Start-Up as the cold businessman with a heart of gold opposite Bae Suzy and Nam Joo-hyuk.

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However, a Korean drama is never complete without a love triangle and Du-sik will soon find competition in another new arrival to Gongjin: Ji Sung-Hyun. Not much is known about his character, played by Lee Sang-yi, except that he is an easygoing producer-director visiting the town to film a variety show, but we will be finding out more in the upcoming episodes this weekend. 

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In an exclusive interview with Tatler, Kim Seon-ho and Lee Sang-yi share their thoughts on their characters and the filming process of this heart-fluttering new Netflix drama. 

Kim Seon-ho

What attracted you to this project?

The more I read the script, the more beautiful the script felt to me. When I imagined the scenes while reading the script, I felt warm and comforted, so I thought it’d be great if I could be part of such a lovely show.

What are you most excited for fans to see?

I’m most excited for fans to see the lovely folks at Gongjin village and the beautiful and relaxing scenery! 

What is your favourite part about Hong Du-sik's character, and how similar or different is your character compared to yourself in real life?

Since Du-sik has his roots in me, I guess it’s 50-50. I think we’re similar in that we are both shy. When Du-sik brags about himself, he does it in a flirty and cheeky way, and I think this is because he feels shy. He is different from me in that he is a bit wild but still tight-lipped. Du-sik never triggers someone’s emotional wound and just lends them a shoulder. I think that’s not easy to do, and I want to learn to be like him. 

(Spoiler alert!) I think we would also have made different choices. Du-sik decided to return to Gongjin village, while I don’t think I would have. Because we’re different, I get to try on a path I wouldn’t have gone on.

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Lee Sang-yi

What attracted you to this project?

Reading the script just filled my heart with warmth. We’re used to the quickly changing society and all the external stimuli, but this story let me take a step back, take a nice deep breath and look around me. I just felt really attached to this story right away.

The fact that I’d be acting with Min-a and Seon-ho was also a big plus for me.

What are you most excited for fans to see?

I loved that shooting on set was like being in a documentary on nature! I liked that this drama shows a lot of the natural landscape. I think you can really feel and appreciate the beauty of nature through this background, especially now that we have restrictions on travelling.

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