Following the conclusion of “Alchemy of Souls Part 2,” lead actor Lee Jae Wook shared his initial thoughts on the drama, behind-the-scenes stories, and more!
“Alchemy of Souls” is a fantasy romance drama set in the fictional nation of Daeho about people whose lives are turned upside down by magic that swaps people’s souls. Following the success of Part 1 of the drama this summer, “Alchemy of Souls” returned last month with Part 2, which takes place three years after the conclusion of Part 1. Part 2 concluded on January 8, achieving the drama’s highest viewership ratings of 9.7 percent across both parts.
Lee Jae Wook recently spoke with Xportsnews about the drama’s conclusion, his character, his chemistry with his co-stars, and much more! “I feel like we finished our one-year project well,” Lee Jae Wook began. “I’d like to thank everyone who watched ‘Alchemy of Souls.'”
Lee Jae Wook was asked his first impression of the script for “Alchemy of Souls,” an entirely fictional fantasy historical drama with no history or background. “I was flustered,” he replied. As you know, the set-up was extremely difficult, and the situations were novel, making it difficult to imagine [the script]. It was a script with new settings and spaces.”
“To be honest, I turned it down at first,” Lee Jae Wook admitted. “It was too difficult, and I wondered if I’d be able to pull this project off well,” he explained. However, I believe I did it solely because I wanted to take on a new challenge. From the standpoint of the actor, I’m extremely pleased with the results. Isn’t this a drama you don’t know when you’ll see again? I’m hoping that I came to a good conclusion.”
While Lee Jae Wook’s character Jang Wook was more upbeat and cheerful in Part 1, he undergoes a drastic transformation in Part 2 and emerges as a dark monster. “I thought there was a big gap between the character of Wook in Parts 1 and 2,” the actor said. When I did a reading with the writer, they expressed hope that I would consider and portray [Jang Wook of] Parts 1 and 2 as two distinct characters. I removed Jang Wook’s voice tone and tried to speak concisely and stiffly in my daily life as well, in order to showcase entirely different characters.”
Another significant difference between Parts 1 and 2 was the presence of a female protagonist. While Jung So Min played the female lead Mu Deok/Naksu in Part 1, her character evolved into Jin Bu Yeon/Naksu, played by Go Yoon Jung in Part 2. Despite this, Lee Jae Wook stated, “The changing of the female lead in Part 2 was not a big problem for me.”
To the surprise and disappointment of fans, certain lines said by Jang Wook in Lee Jae Wook and Go Yoon Jung’s relationship in Part 2 seemed to erase what happened three years prior. “After Wook had decided to die, his emotions then were honestly made up of the feeling ‘let’s make this woman my wife,'” Lee Jae Wook said. Because he desired death, he reasoned that if he had this woman, he would be able to achieve the death he had wished for for three years. That’s why Jin Bu Yeon was the only person within Jang Wook’s domain.”
Lee Jae Wook also mentioned his kiss scene with Go Yoon Jung, in which she appeared to take the lead. “During rehearsals, the director yelled, ‘I am Bu Yeon,’ and shoved me around. I believe the director was attempting to convey that Bu Yeon had crossed into Wook’s territory. Because Jang Wook was so closed off, I believe they directed a scene in which Jin Bu Yeon came in and reopened our relationship.”
“For starters, So Min has experienced many projects so her fundamental proficiency is clearly evident on set,” Lee Jae Wook said of his chemistry with both female stars, adding that she has a clear set of know-hows as a veteran actress.
“Yoon Jung is an incredibly bright person,” he continued. Her positive energy is out of this world at this point. It’s difficult to film without smiling, but she made me think, ‘The entire set atmosphere can change because of one person.'” “I want to pick that as her forte,” Lee Jae Wook said. Part 2 must have been extremely difficult for her, but she never lost her smile.”
When asked why he thinks “Alchemy of Souls” was so popular in Korea and abroad, Lee Jae Wook cited the director and writer, as well as the cast and their close bond. He talked about relying heavily on his co-stars Hwang Minhyun, Shin Seung Ho, Yoo In Soo, Seo Hye Won, Oh My Girl’s Arin, and more before adding, “I also had the hope that they would rely on me too. “I believe our chemistry was created by our comfortable environment.”
“There are a lot of aspects about Minhyun that I’m jealous of,” Lee Jae Wook said of their chemistry. He has good looks, a good voice, is tall, and is good in action scenes. To be honest, I assumed, ‘I must be better at acting,’ but that was a huge mistake. Hwang Minhyun, my senior, taught me a lot, and not just as a hyung.”
“I believe Seung Ho and In Soo have different charms,” he added. “I could sense how enjoyable and rewarding it was for people like this to gather and create a scene. I learned a lot from them because they are such passionate people.”
The interviewer asked Lee Jae Wook who he wants to win a Best Couple award with and the actor answered, “I can only say one person. “Me and the prince,” played by Shin Seung Ho. “The scenes where I meet with Seung Ho are all word play from start to finish,” the actor said, referring to how many bloopers the pair created together as well as their many improvisations. It’s a skill to match your character and situation without straying from the story when improvising, but Seung Ho is an actor who’s incredibly good at those things.” “You can just think of all the fun, giggly scenes as improvisations,” he added.