18 Again cast interview


18 Again, a Korean drama based on the American movie 17 Again, just started airing on 21 September. Like its source material, 18 Again is a story centred on a man who, in the middle of his mid-life crisis, somehow gets transmigrated back to his 18-year-old body. 

We managed to snag an interview with the main cast – Yoon Sang-hyun, Kim Ha-neul, and Lee Do-hyun – and find out more about what they were like as 18-year-olds, the dreams and regrets they have, and what they’d tell their younger selves. 

18 Again also stars Hwang In-yeop, who’s slated to star in True Beauty, Golden Child’s Choi Bo-min, and Ryeo Un, whom you may recognise from the web drama The World of My 17 (소녀의 세계).

18 Again is now streaming on Viu, with 2 new episodes available each week.

18 Again - Poster
Image credit: Viu


1. What is your character like and how did you choose to portray them?


Yoon Sang-hyun (YSH): Hong Dae-young excelled in basketball even as a rookie, and he was a role model other looked up to. Despite that, he gave it all up for the sake of his family and lived only with them. I tried to portray a realistic image of the head of a family in his late 30s so that viewers can relate.

18 Again - Hong Dae Young truck
Image credit: Viu

Kim Ha-neul (KHN):  My character, Da-jeong, is a working mum who aspired to be a news anchor. She achieved this dream, albeit later than her peers. I wanted to express the Da-jeong who has a warm yet “broken” personality. Even though life is hard as a working mother and a rookie news anchor, she manages to balance both things. 

As the script expressed Da-jeong’s feelings and inner world so well, I didn’t have to do a lot to prepare in order to immerse myself in the role. Since I acted as a news anchor, I had to learn about vocal tones and how to speak well. I think this was the hardest part of acting as Da-jeong.

18 Again - Da Jeong
Image credit: Viu

Lee Do-hyun (LDH): Hong Dae-young is a 37-year-old who returns to his 18-year-old heyday and lives under the name of “Go Woo-young”. Although he looks like a teenager, he’s actually 37-years old. Hence, it was not easy to live like a teenager again.

I tried to look like the older Hong Dae-young as much as possible. I got a sense of my character by going through the script repeatedly with Yoon Sang-hyun and the director, and I also tried to pin down the characteristics of Sang-hyun’s Hong Dae-young.

In order to portray the Hong Dae-young who has 2 children, I studied the mind of a father’s and the life of the head of a family while seeking advice from various senior actors.

18 Again - Go Woo Young
Image credit: Viu


2. Why did you choose to star in 18 Again?


YSH: As it is my first return to the small screen in two years, I wanted to present a new side of myself that the audience has never seen before. The drama portrays realistic aspects of everyday life and the audience will be able to resonate with that. I am sure that parents would gain comfort from watching the drama.

18 Again - Hong Dae Young Eating
Image credit: Viu


3. What were you like as an 18-year-old?


YSH: I was a boy filled with dreams and loved music and the arts.

KHN: 18 is the age I want to go back to the most. I met my precious friends at that age, hence I have the most memories from back then. When I think back about that time, I think about hanging out with my friends while we were in our school uniforms.

LDH: I was an ordinary high school student. I liked to exercise, hence I enjoyed working out during lunchtime and after school.

18 Again - Go Woo Young basketball
Image credit: Viu


4. What do you want to tell your 18-year-old self?


YSH: “It is okay to do whatever you want. You can dream as much as you want.”

KHN: “You’re doing well. And like how you’ve written a lot of diary entries back then, always keep your diary filled with lots of hopeful stories. If you stay determined, you’ll have a good future.”

LDH: I want to tell myself to enjoy my school days more. It’s a pity that I missed spending time with friends and living the life I could only enjoy in those days because I didn’t have much interest in anything else other than exercising. 

18 Again - Go Woo Young uniform
Image credit: Viu


5. What goals did you have as an 18-year-old and did you manage to achieve these goals? Do you have any regrets?


KHN: At that time, both my friends’ and my biggest goal was to go to college. Therefore we worked hard to make it happen!

LDH: I don’t think I had a clear goal. If I do regret anything, I think it would be not having had a more diverse lifestyle. 


6. If you were given the chance to become 18 again, what’s the first thing you’d do?


YSH: I will go on a tour of Korea on foot. I want to explore hidden attractions in Korea that boast various cultures, food, and outstanding natural scenery. 

18 Again - Hong Dae Young truck
Image credit: Viu


7. In your opinion, what’s the best part of 18 Again and what should viewers look forward to?


YSH: The key point of this drama is how the love for our family should be kept closest to our hearts and cherished. It is also a story about the emotional growth of a man who has matured physically but not mentally. It’s a drama that is bright and fun, but manages to ask serious questions about life.

KHN: It is the importance of family. It’s easy to forget that when we are with our families often, but this drama will remind you of the preciousness of your loved ones. It’s a drama that everyone can relate to, regardless of age or gender. I’m sure everyone will be able to feel the warmth of the drama.

18 Again - couple
Image credit: Viu


8. What should fans of Lee Do Hyun look out for in 18 Again? Any scenes that you’re proud of?


LDH: I think it’s my synchronisation with Yoon Sang Hyun. I think they should be looking forward to seeing an overlap of the roles we play.


18 Again interview with Lee Do-hyun, Yoon Sang-hyun & Kim Ha-neul


The latest drama stills from JTBC hints at a heart-fluttering confrontation between Go Woo-young and Jung Da-jeong after the 2 kissed in the last episode – we can’t wait to see what happens next. 18 Again is now airing twice a week and you can stream it on Viu.

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Cover image adapted from: Viu, Viu, and Viu