Superheroes aren’t just dramatic characters in fancy uniforms who save the world — an everyday, middle-aged neighbor could be one too.
Ryu Seung-ryong plays one such “ordinary” superhero in Disney+’s “Moving,” which wrapped up on Sept. 20, and he feels this may have been his most important role to date.
“The keyword for ‘Moving’ was empathy,” Ryu said during a group interview with local reporters at a cafe in Jung District, central Seoul, on Sept. 25. “People could empathize with the characters — even though these characters had superpowers — because the story is close to the heart of reality for many of us and portrays superheroes as ordinary people around us.”
In “Moving,” the characters with superpowers are seen suffering from the perils of ordinary life just like anybody else: struggling to maintain jobs, working at fried chicken eateries and dealing with family problems. Ryu plays Jang Ju-won, who has healing abilities and superhuman strength but runs a fried chicken shop after retiring from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
“I wanted to portray a character who can deliver the meaning of the effects of attention and love,” Ryu said. “There is a scene when my character Ju-won cries like the world has ended when he loses his wife in a car accident. For Ju-won, his wife was the only one who had given him direction in life. So when he loses her, he feels her loss greatly, and the effects that her attention and love had on him show.”
When Ryu had initially read the script for that particular scene, he was worried that it would be too dramatic and over-the-top, but as he kept re-reading and formulated his ideas for his character he warmed up to the story and Ju-won.
“I had been in a lot of dramatic films, like ‘Miracle in Cell No. 7’ , and had played a lot of crying scenes. So I was skeptical at first about playing another character who has to cry and portray sadness,” Ryu said. “But as I kept reading the script, I felt that this character and these scenes did not feel like unnatural tear-jerkers and were actually very sincere. I now feel like Ju-won is one of my most important roles, and it was a challenge that I took on.”
“Moving” is based on Kang Full’s webtoon of the same name, and Kang wrote the script for the drama himself. Kang and director Park In-jee’s combined creativity and input was essential for the actors, including Ryu, to play their parts.
“They were incredibly detailed when it came to each scene and how the characters should be portrayed,” Ryu said. “Kang in particular had so many ideas as to how the elements expressed through his drawings in the original webtoon should be conveyed on screen. ‘Moving’ is a 20-episode series, so it was important to get the narrative of the characters and the plotline well-structured, since it’s such a long story. Kang and Park did a great job in doing this.”
Although it has only been a week since the series finished, many are asking for a second season. There were some elements and foreshadowing thrown in the last episode to imply that there could be a second season, and as there is an original source material for the drama series, one could say it wouldn’t be hard to develop more storylines from the universe built up in the series. Ryu addressed the possibility of a second season and said that he would be more than happy to return, should there be one.
“It won’t happen just because I want it to happen, of course, and production would need to be decided,” Ryu said. “But Kang also told me that I should keep my health in check since we could be filming when I am well over sixty,” he said with a laugh.
Ryu, who made his screen debut in 2004 with “Someone Special” after a stage career during his younger years, started taking on bigger roles after the 2014 film “Masquerade.” He has many projects lined up now that “Moving” is done, with films “Jung’s Ranch” and “Amazon Whal Myung-soo” and drama “Chicken Nugget” soon to be released.
“I am very lucky to have been born in a country with so many talented storytellers and to be able to work as an actor with them,” Ryu said. “I want to be someone who constantly delves into the new and makes daring choices.”
BY LIM JEONG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]