Korean Mystery Drama “ADAMAS” Cast Talks About Appeal Of The Show At Press Conference

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The online press conference for new Korean mystery drama “ADAMAS” took place recently, with cast members Ji Sung, Seo Ji Hye, Lee Soo Kyung, Heo Sung Tae, and director Park Seung Woo present.

Director Park Seung Woo described the drama as one of an investigative drama on the surface, but calling it that does not really capture the essence of the show and he had a lot of trouble defining the genre in the beginning. In some parts, it is a mystery thriller, and in others, it is packed with adrenaline-fueled action—not to mention certain parts that are reminiscent of a film noir. “ADAMAS” blends many different genres into one drama, which makes it difficult to describe it as of a single genre.

“A genre series” seems to be a general option, but I found out that, apparently, this is a grammatically wrong expression because it refers to a category. Still, I feel that’s the expression that best describes our show. 

– Director Park Seung Woo

Q: What makes ADAMAS appealing to the viewers?

Ji Sung: First and foremost, I was hooked by the double role itself, of Woo Shin and Soo Hyun. The twins’ struggle to save their father and clear the false charges upon him really left an impression on me.

Seo Ji Hye: “ADAMAS” boasts a wide range of diverse characters, who carry their own secrets. As those secrets get revealed one by one, the viewer can see the bigger picture and why certain events have unfolded the way they have; that’s one of my favourite elements about the show. It keeps you on your toes being curious as the story progresses and reveals new things, bit by bit. I believe that’s what makes our show stand out.

Lee Soo Kyung: It has to be the show’s sheer unpredictability. I made up my mind to do the show after reading up to the fourth episode, but then the pages kept turning themselves because I needed to find out what happened next. Naturally, my first question at my first meeting with the director was, “So, who’s the killer?” You can tell just how riveting the plot is.

Heo Sung Tae: As the director mentioned earlier, the show definitely has its dark and intense moments, but what I felt at the table read was that half of it read like a sitcom. It was that funny, filled with unexpectedly hilarious lines. The trailer might not have shown enough of that, given its limitations, but personally, I can’t wait to check out all those intriguing, amusing parts of the series.

Ji Sung has previously played roles with multiple characters, with 7 characters at once in “Kill Me, Heal Me”—which are the 7 different identities of one person, so playing twin brothers this time round was quite a different experience. Back then, he was playing a person with a multiple personality disorder, so he acted them out as if they were completely different individuals. However, for “ADAMAS”, he had to show what was unique in the identical twin brothers, whose portrayals would have to have the same starting point. They shared a lot of similarities and yet were different in subtle ways, and to bring those out on screen had its difficulties. Ji Sung found himself getting immersed in the brothers’ world and the beauty of their characters as he spent more time with them.

Seo Ji Hye’s character description was written as “A spiteful daughter-in-law and a delicate flower grown in a greenhouse”, and for her, it was challenging to portray a character who’s two-faced and secretive; someone you’re not quite sure whether she’s Woo Shin’s friend or foe, as it’s a fine line to walk. This also inspired her to keep a bit of mystery in her daily life, and she even tried flower arrangement at home to get into her character!

Lee Soo Kyung was initially attracted to her character, Seo Hui‘s profession, and also to her secret which made her more than what meets the eye. Seo Hui has grit, is tenacious and keeps her eyes on the goal; whereas in reality Soo Kyung feels that she gives up too easily.

Her character has to run a lot in the drama, and she was more taken aback by the amount of pure physical work that was required, more so than the line delivery or facial expressions.

Heo Sung Tae does not think of himself as a charismatic person, but somehow he always ends up playing strong and masculine characters, which always made him cringe a little while he was acting. His character in “ADAMAS”, Chef Choi, is by far the most sophisticated character he has ever played in his career. So in a sense, he was trying his best to show his “sophisticated charisma” through the drama.

An interesting fact is that this is the second time that Ji Sung and Seo Ji Hye are working together (since “King Soo Ro, The Iron King”)—after 10 years—and that alone, to Ji Sung, made everything worthwhile. “It was a true testament to our dedication to our paths, and brought back many good memories.” For Seo Ji Hye, it was also rare for her to work opposite the same actor twice, given the size of Korea’s industry. Ji Sung proved to have a good memory as he could still recognize her quirks and acting reactions from the scenes they did together back then.

When asked to describe “ADAMAS” in one phrase:

Heo Sung Tae: “Adamas, here we go again.”

Lee Soo Kyung: “Femme fatale”, because every single character in this show is going nuts to find it. Adamas is the holy grail that has them all under a spell.

Seo Ji Hye: “An onion”, because there are layers upon layers of secrets. I think the series overall is like peeling an onion.

Ji Sung: “Love”, it’s the glue that holds them all together. What the brothers live for, what keeps them alive. You’ll also find, as the story unfolds, that there’s a reason why they need to find Adamas at all costs, and it’s got something to do with love.

Director: Forget everything else – just remember it’s “ADAMAS”. That’s all I ask.

The cast members’ memorable scenes/ anecdotes:

Heo Sung Tae: Ji Sung’s playing a double role, but I only got to meet one of them. The writer Woo Shin and Chief Choi’s chemistry, their teamwork for the shared goal, and what you’d call a bromance—these would be the selling points of the show.

Lee Soo Kyung: I’d have to say the ones where I ran. I can’t forget them. It hurt so much after, which is why I can’t forget them. I was running and running, we were shooting for a very long time, but another reason why they stayed with me is because I got to monitor them mid-shooting. We had the drones up, and watching it from their perspective made it look like a totally different genre. It’s definitely something to see.

Seo Ji Hye: There are more scenes I look forward to watching than the ones I remember the most. I didn’t get to see much of Soo Hyun, since I stayed inside the mansion most of the time, and I’m curious how his story unfolds. I’ll get to be in the shoes of the viewer, looking forward to those scenes. I can’t wait!

Ji Sung: I had to imagine myself standing in front of me while I was shooting, when there was no one there; I had to, in order to be in the character. I’m curious how that came out, since CGI must have been used in post-production. And as for my favourite scenes—they all are to me. There are so many great scenes. I have a feeling I’ll have my picks after the show is aired. 

“ADAMAS” is now available for streaming on Disney+.

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