Asian heart-throbs Lee Seung-gi and Jasper Liu become fast friends while filming variety series Twogether

A still from Twogether featuring Jasper Liu (left) and Lee Seung-gi. PHOTO: NETFLIX

SINGAPORE - Language barriers and cultural differences matter little in the strong bromance that South Korean singer-actor Lee Seung-gi and Taiwanese heart-throb Jasper Liu share.

The stars of Netflix's new unscripted travelogue series Twogether - which follows the duo as they travel across Asia - say they have become fast friends over the course of filming the programme last autumn.

In a virtual press conference to promote the show on Tuesday (June 23), Lee, 33, says in Korean: "My first impression of Jasper was that we're very similar. We're both energetic and very positive and like myself, Jasper tends to really go for it when he's given a mission and a challenge."

Liu, also 33, certainly has a competitive streak.

He says in Chinese with a laugh: "Seung-gi is really smart, he picks up languages really quickly. I felt like I had to be very careful of how smart he is when we're competing against each other on the show, and I even went back to watch his old variety show Strong Heart (2009 to 2013) to see what tactics he used to trick people."

The two stars can speak a little of each other's native language but mainly communicated in English while filming the series.

What cemented their cross-cultural bromance was a set of brightly-coloured sleepwear.

Lee says: "On unscripted shows in Korea, we usually don't change into proper pyjamas when we go to bed. But Jasper changed into pyjamas that looked fit for a prince."

Liu later gifted him the exact same pair of pyjamas in a different colour - champagne gold - to match his own understated navy blue pair.

The two stars mainly communicated in English while filming the series. PHOTO: NETFLIX

Lee says: "That's when I felt like: 'We're close friends now.'"

Showrunner Ko Min-seok says that casting Lee was "a no-brainer" due to his experience in variety programmes. But the team, he added, found a hidden gem in casting Liu, a perfect partner for Lee.

Mr Ko says: "We loved his bright, positive energy and he has a smile that resembles Seung-gi so much. We thought they'd have great synergy."

The show, which premieres on Friday, is also a game show - Liu and Lee have to complete challenges so that they can meet their loyal fans living in different cities.

In one memorable mission which Lee described as "the variety show's Mission Impossible", he had to decipher words Liu wrote on the sand at the beach while paragliding.

Variety show novice Liu, who is best known for the hit 2018 Taiwanese movie More Than Blue, was surprised at how real unscripted series are.

The show is also a game show in which Liu and Lee have to complete challenges. PHOTO: NETFLIX

He says: "It's really very unscripted. The showrunners kept telling us: 'We don't know whether you can meet your fans successfully if you don't complete the mission.' So we really tried very hard."

Lee, an actor known for series like Gu Family Book (2013) and A Korean Odyssey (2017), is no stranger to variety programmes.

He is in the main cast of various ensemble variety shows like Master In The House (2017 to now) and was part of last year's Busted and 2013's Sisters Over Flowers.

"I was worried at first that if it's just the two of us - would we be able to make the show fun and entertaining? Would Netflix even want to air our show? But I think it's a new, never-before-seen sort of entertainment to see two people overcome their differences in background to form a true friendship," says Lee.

While the two friends currently cannot meet in real life because the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted international travel plans, Liu hopes the show connects both stars and fans.

He says: "Hopefully we can all be together through Twogether!"

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