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7 Interesting Facts We Learned About "Twenty-Five Twenty-One" from the Show's Cast

This Nam Joo Hyuk and Kim Tae Ri-led drama is currently streaming on Netflix, ICYDK.
7 Interesting Facts We Learned About "Twenty-Five Twenty-One" from the Show's Cast
IMAGE Courtesy of Netflix
This Nam Joo Hyuk and Kim Tae Ri-led drama is currently streaming on Netflix, ICYDK.

Coming-of-age shows or movies always have an irresistible youthful charm to them, coupled with a sentimental storyline and an all-too-relatable ensemble cast. Netflix's latest K-drama offering, Twenty-Five Twenty-One, certainly ticks off all those boxes. Set during the end of the 20th century, the series chronicles five adolescents who just want to make their dreams come true amidst turbulent times.

During its press conference last week, director Jung Ji Hyun and cast members Kim Tae Ri, Nam Joo Hyuk, Bona, Choi Hyun Wook, and Lee Joo Myung shared interesting pieces of information about the show. Wondering what those are?

Here are 7 fun facts you'd love to learn about "Twenty-Five Twenty-One":

1. It's set in the late '90s when series director Jung Ji Hyun was in high school

The premise of the story has our main characters walking through the rigorous but formative hallways of high school. Hee-do (Kim Tae Ri), Ji-woong (Choi Hyun Wook), and Seung-wan (Lee Joo Myung) are part of the class of 1998, which is actually around the same time that director Ji Hyun was a student himself. He explains that the story is set at a time, "when Korea was hit by a financial crisis and five [youthful people] had their dreams taken away."

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PHOTO BY Netflix

Ji Hyun recognizes how challenging those times were and he hopes that this series strikes a core with viewers who are going through their own tribulations with the COVID-19 pandemic today. "Looking at how these young people [went] through life [back then] would [hopefully] give some messages that can resonate with the present day audience," he says.

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2. The show is Kim Tae Ri's comeback project after three years

The last time Tae Ri appeared on our TV screens was in 2018, when she played Ae-shin in the tvN drama Mr. Sunshine. Twenty-Five Twenty-One not only marks her return to acting after three or so years, but it's also her second time to work with director Ji Hyun. She was more than happy to be guided by him again, sharing, "I felt so excited to work with him again. I appreciate his honesty, and how [freely he communicates.]"

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What attracted her to Hee-do's character was her apparent vigor not only when it comes to fencing, but her personality in general. "It is a beautiful and kind story that makes you happy. [He-doo] has a lot of energy, and [she] is a kind of character I haven't met before," she says. 

3. Nam Joo Hyuk and Tae Ri had an unexpected reunion when they were cast

Unknown to Joo Hyuk himself, the show actually isn't his first time meeting Tae Ri. According to the actress, they "shot two commercials together [for an advertisement]" prior to stepping on set for Twenty-Five Twenty-One. Thanks to their scenes as Yi-jin and Hee-do, the two profess that they now have become good friends with a memorable bond and chemistry.

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4. Tae Ri and Bona had to take fencing lessons for their roles

In the series, Tae Ri plays Hee-do, a fencing prodigy who is determined on honing her skills no matter what. She has a rivalry with Bona as Go Y00-rim, who is Korea's youngest fencing gold medalist. In order to prepare for their physically demanding roles, the two actresses underwent fencing lessons from actual gold medalists.

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"I was able to realize how fun and aggravating [it] is," Tae Ri shares, "this is really a tough sport. I always pour my heart in whatever I do, and it was such a fun and entertaining time." She was so dedicated to perfectly portraying Hee-do that she went as far as attaching sandbags to her ankles in order to increase her stamina.

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PHOTO BY Netflix
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Even if Tae Ri had a two-month lead on fencing lessons over Bona, the latter still somehow always had the upper hand whenever they had practice duels. This only led Tae Ri to push herself even further, and to apply that grit to their scenes. Describing her character, Bona says that, "Fencing is the most important thing to Yoo-rim. [She] has a lot of diverse characteristics depending on who she's with."

5. Joo Hyuk took some cues from sports journalists to prepare for his role

While his role didn't require as much physical prowess, Joo Hyuk was still set on capturing all the nuances of his character. To do this, he [met] with a sports journalist, and learned about the "current situation, [and] what's hot in the news area these days." He wanted to know what aspects he should zero in on in order to effectively portray an aspiring reporter. 

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6. Choi Hyun Wook stepped up his style game for his character

Choi Hyun Wook plays fashion-savvy internet star (read: "influencer") Moon Ji-woong in this coming-of-age series. While he is still quite the newbie on screen, he's already appeared in other popular shows such as Jirisan, Racket Boys, and Taxi Driver, and even won Best New Actor awards for the latter two.

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According to him, he "tried to look up many things" to equip himself for this style-centric role. Ultimately though, the most crucial preparation he did was more internal than external. "I think fashion is about confidence, so I [tried] to increase my confidence," he says.

7. Tae Ri got bangs just for Hee-do

Tae Ri made sure Hee-do would genuinely look like a high schooler by switching up her look. "I got bangs to look younger, and [did] some great skincare. I also did some research on the fashion by looking at old magazines," she shares. Her efforts seem to have paid off since, on the first day of filming, Joo Hyuk told her that she actually looked like a legitimate student. We totally agree!

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PHOTO BY Netflix
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