'Weightlifting Fairy' star Nam Joo-hyuk reveals how the drama shaped his career

Believes the coming-of-age sports drama ended on a satisfactory note.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo
Actors Nam Joo-hyuk and Lee Sung-kyung in the last episode of 'Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo.' youtube.com/MBCdrama

South Korean television series 'Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo' ended its run this January 11 following poor ratings. Its real-life inspired sports drama could not hold the viewers captive like 'Goblin' and 'The Legend of the Blue Sea' did. Actor Nam Joo-hyuk, who played the best friend and lover of Kim Bok-joo, played by Lee Sung-kyung, talked about the MBC drama and how it made an impact on himself.

Speaking to Soompi, Nam Joo-hyuk talked about the pressures of handling a lead character with an athletic requirement in the drama. "At first there was a lot of pressure. The fact that I had to lead the drama and that I had to satisfy the many people watching with my lack of acting skills really overwhelmed me," he said.

Nam Joo-hyuk, however added that "the feedback after it aired was positive so although I was tired physically, I was able to film happily till the end." The actor also spoke highly of director Oh Hyun-jong who had helped him a lot with the performance in the drama. He said that the director "took good care of me until the last episode. He helped me make many fun scenes. I was able to improve with the help of the director, too."

Speaking of his role as a swimmer in the series, the actor said "Since the pool was so big, the water wouldn't become warm no matter how much we heated it. And since the swimming scenes are long, my body would get colder as we film. I did get a cold during the last few days of filming, so it was quite hard."

Joo-hyuk also revealed how shooting for such a physically demanding role made him lose a few pounds in the long run. "I think any drama that requires exercise is difficult. It was so hard that if other actors were to take my spot, they would have a hard time, too. I naturally started losing weight. My body's the type to lose weight if I don't exercise on a regular basis. Since I didn't have time to eat while filming and swam, too, my weight began to decrease. I think it's because I value sleep over food. I was 76 kilograms when I filmed 'Three Days A Meal,' but I think I've lost five kilograms now," he said.

Regarding the disappointing ratings, the actor said that even though the drama wasn't as successful as he'd have wanted, nevertheless he enjoyed being part of a good story. "I would be lying if I said the ratings didn't disappoint me. But we had fun making this drama and didn't focus on the ratings. It doesn't bother me much because we had a meaningful time creating this drama together. My close friend Ji Soo even told me, 'Don't focus on the viewership ratings and just do as you are, since you're doing a good job,'" the actor told Soompi.

Joo-hyuk also said he hoped the ending of 'Weightlifting Fairy' provided a satisfactory closure for the fans who did enjoy the story. "I feel like the audience will sense that innocent vibe till the end [of the drama.] On one end, I'm sad that the drama has already ended. I still feel like I can show off a better chemistry, but I hope [the audience] likes what we've prepared. I believe that the ending will satisfy not only me but everyone who watches," the actor said.

This article was first published on January 14, 2017