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Jung Ryeo Won reflects on her role in 'The Midnight Romance in Hagwon' and her dream collaboration with director Ahn Pan Seok

“‘Did you read ‘Stanzas’?’ When I read that line, I literally screamed.”

Actress Jung Ryeo Won shared her reaction while wrapping up the tvN drama ‘The Midnight Romance in Hagwon’. She played the role of Korean language instructor Seo Hye Jin, who cautiously develops a tender romance with her former student, Lee Jun Ho (played by Wi Ha Joon). This subtle romantic development was dubbed a “between-the-lines romance.” The drama concluded with a peak viewership rating of 6.6%. Jung Ryeo Won, who proudly calls this her “life-changing role,” spoke about her experience at a cafe in Gangnam, Seoul, on July 9 KST.

Jung Ryeo Won explained, “I understood why the main character was set as a Korean language instructor.” She added, “It’s refreshing and thrilling to portray a romance involving people who read between the lines and precisely convey the essence of words. In a scene where the two characters argue for about 20 minutes in a single take, I aimed to memorize the script perfectly, thinking, ‘As a Korean teacher, I need to speak logically,’ and we completed it in one go.”

‘The Midnight Romance in Hagwon’ is set in the Daechi-dong academy district. Seo Hye Jin’s effort to teach the deeper meanings of Korean literature, despite the flawed education system, was particularly impressive. Jung Ryeo Won, who read Park Wan Seo’s short story ‘Camera and Working Boots’ to better understand her character, remarked, “It’s a beautifully written piece with a smooth writing style. It’s unfortunate that students only encounter it through excerpts.” She added, “Director Ahn always emphasized that actors should stay close to literature and understand the world beyond the script. I deeply resonated with this while filming ‘The Might Romance in Hagwon.'”

Jung Ryeo Won also expressed her satisfaction with working with director Ahn Pan Seok, known for his unique romantic sensibilities in works like ‘Something in the Rain’ and ‘Secret Affair’. She shared, “In March of last year, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to work with Director Ahn, and two months later, I received the script for ‘The Midnight Romance in Hagwon.’ His natural, unforced direction is remarkable. He focuses more on the actions and atmosphere of the scene rather than just the dialogues. I initially thought the scenes felt empty, but they felt just right when I watched the broadcast. I appreciated those subtle gaps.”