The Life List: 5 things to know about K-drama Awaken

Awaken starring South Korean actor Namgoong Min.
Awaken starring South Korean actor Namgoong Min.PHOTO: VIU

SINGAPORE - In the South Korean drama Awaken, a string of mysterious incidents occur, prompting a National Police Agency special task force, led by the eccentric, ingenious Do Jung-woo (Namgoong Min), to look into a tragedy that happened in an unusual village nearly 30 years ago.

Here are five things to know about the new drama.

1. No easy fight

Training for the fighting scenes was no easy feat. To prepare for her role as a police officer, Seolhyun from girl group AOA, 26, attended classes in an action school two months prior to the filming.

For a specific fighting scene, Namgoong, 42, had to take two days to practise and coordinate with actor Yoo Ha-joon, hitting and blocking one another while wearing protective gear.

"As expected, it was a scene that I felt could have been done better, but nevertheless I did put in my best and therefore had no regrets," says Namgoong in an e-mail interview with The Straits Times.

2. Attention to detail

Besides honing her English language skills to play a bilingual FBI agent returning from the United States, actress Lee Chung-ah, 36, also paid great attention to the psychological aspects of her character.

She did her homework by reading books on behavioural psychology and watching videos of actual criminal profilers.

"Most importantly, I have learnt that being able to make the opponent speak and then capturing clues from their speech is of utmost importance. They pay a lot of attention when it comes to listening," she says.

Namgoong says he was amazed by Lee's attention to detail. "I remember being surprised by how she would put her thoughts into the things that I never thought of."

3. Great chemistry

Although this is the first time the trio has worked together, they only have good things to say about one another.

Both Lee and Seolhyun agree that Namgoong was a responsible leader on set.

Lee also praises Seolhyun for her eagerness to learn and Seolhyun says Lee made everyone comfortable on set.

"Even when it came to filming scenes that were challenging, we always enjoyed ourselves. They are great co-actors whom I definitely want to work with again in the future," says Lee.

4. Social butterfly

While Yoon Sun-woo plays an aloof computer hacker in the show, the 35-year-old sees himself as a social butterfly in real life.

"I really enjoy communicating with others and having conversations with them, and I also think I do pretty well in social settings," he says.

5. Everyone's older brother

Namgoong has been praised by his co-stars as a dependable leader on set who took great care of the cast and crew.

This is his second consecutive production with Yoon, who played Namgoong's younger brother in series Hot Stove League (2019 to 2020). "He really treats me well, like how an elder brother would his younger sibling," says Yoon.

As a more experienced actor, Lee also guided the younger ones on set. Seolhyun says: "She would point out things that I could improve on and guide me when it came to my acting".

Awaken is available on Viu.