Kim Tae Ri slips into her characters like a glove, from the mischievous pickpocket Sook-hee in The Handmaiden to the strong-willed Captain Jang in Space Sweepers. It’s no different in Twenty-Five Twenty-One where she embodies the jovial naivete of Na Hee-do, an aspiring fencing champion with the infectious heart and gusto of a child.
The rest of the main cast can only do so much to keep up with Hee-do’s unbridled energy, which is why it constantly surprises loyal fans of the show to find out that Tae Ri is actually the oldest of the bunch. ICYDK, Tae Ri was born on April 24, 1990, which means she convincingly inhabited the 18-year-old Hee-do at 31! This makes her a whole 13 years older than her character.
In a press conference with Netflix, Tae Ri shared she got Hee-do’s famous bangs on the show to “look younger.” She also doubled down on her skin care and did her research on the fashion of the '90s by flipping through old magazines. Considering she recently earned herself a Best TV Actress nod at the Baeksang Arts Awards for her performance in the drama, there's no question that her hard work and dedication definitely paid off!
Actors playing characters younger than them is practically a norm in the industry. Born in 1994, Nam Joo Hyuk was 27 when he filmed Twenty-Five Twenty-One. Although they also started off as 18-year-olds in the drama, WJSN’s Bona (Ko Yu-rim) and Lee Joo Myung (Ji Seung-wan) are 26 and 28 respectively, in real life. Meanwhile, Choi Hyun Wook, the youngest of the lead cast and the closest to his character’s age in the series, turned 20 last January 30.
If you're not one of many who were left conflicted by its bittersweet ending, you can rewatch all 16 episodes of Twenty-Five Twenty-One on Netflix.
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