Byeon Woo Seok on what’s next after breakout success in ‘Lovely Runner’

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Byeon Woo Seok on what�s next after breakout success in �Lovely Runner�
‘Lovely Runner’ star Byeon Woo Seok has teased his next project during the presscon for his Manila fan meeting dubbed ‘Summer Letter.’
Photo courtesy of PULP Live World and VARO Entertainment

MANILA, Philippines — Byeon Woo Seok, one of the breakout South Korean stars of 2024 thanks to the K-drama “Lovely Runner,” has teased his next big project.

When asked what he hoped to do after starring in a romantic-comedy, the recent Manila visitor told Filipino reporters that he’s looking forward to a project that has a great script.

“I don’t have a particular role or genre in mind that I want to do,” the 32-year-old model-turned-actor said. “But (I want) any new project where just by reading it, my heart is already into the story.”

“I personally like romantic comedies, so maybe another rom-com is coming,” he added.

But it looks like something is already brewing, since he urged his followers to watch out for a project in the coming months.

“In the future, on my next projects, I would appreciate and love if you also fall in love with the new character that I’ll be acting in,” he said.

“Please watch out and (I) hope you’ll be excited for my next project that’s gonna be released in a few months.”

Byeon has been an actor for eight years, but it was “Lovely Runner” that propelled him to romantic lead status.

The tVN series, which premiered in April and streamed on Viu for international territories like the Philippines, is a time travel-themed drama where a loyal fan, Im Sol (played by Kim Hye Yoon), travels back in time to rescue her favorite K-pop idol, Ryu Sun Jae (Byeon), from his tragic fate in the present timeline.

The actor’s portrayal of a hopeless romantic endeared him to overseas viewers, resulting in his ongoing Asian fan meet tour dubbed “Summer Letter.” Prior to his Manila fan meeting on Saturday at the New Frontier Theater, he also bonded with his fans in Taipei and Bangkok.

“I’m really happy with the amazing support and love that you’re showing me. Every time I visit a different country for a fan meet and get to see different fans, I’m still not used to the love that (people are) showing me. I’m really happy to know that there are fans supporting me outside of Korea. Thank you for the love and support that I’ve never imagined would be happening,” he expressed during the presscon.

Byeon confessed that he harbored no high expectations that “Lovely Runner” would be well-received.

According to news outlet The Korea Herald, the show topped in 130 countries on the global OTT platform, Rakuten Viki. During the finale episode last end of May, the report noted that Tving, the domestic streaming platform for the series, beat Netflix for the first time in daily viewing hours. In the Philipines, K-drama fans got to stream it on Viu. And when ticket-selling to Byeon’s Manila fan meet was opened, tickets were sold out within two hours, PULP Live World said.

“This drama, ‘Lovely Runner,’ was the first time I was (made) the main lead actor. While I was preparing and filming for that drama, I did not expect this grand success. But, of course, I’ve always had that thought. As much as I enjoyed filming and preparing for the shoot every day, (I also hoped) that people would love this wonderful project I was working on,” Byeon further shared during the presscon.

“Basically, all the crew (production people) that worked on it had the same thoughts. As much as we loved doing what we were doing, we had always hoped for that kind of response from the audience. And right now, it’s the reality. I’m grateful that it is happening.”

Meanwhile, when asked for his recommendations on which of his past works new fans should check out besides “Lovely Runner,” Byeon offered some suggestions.

He named “Strong Girl Nam Soon,” the 2023 rom-com drama where he portrays the “bad guy” who falls for the female lead with superhuman strength. The other one is the 2022 film, “20th Century Girl,” a bittersweet high school romance where he’s cast as the “first love.”

“Actually, everything that I’ve done so far is precious on its own so it’s so hard to just pick one,” Byeon said.

He also appeared in “Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency” (2019), “Moonshine” (2021) and “Soulmate” (2023).

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