EXCLUSIVE: Navillera star Park In Hwan opens up about learning ballet, his 1st impression of Song Kang & more

In an exclusive interview with Pinkvilla, Park In Hwan reveals what drew him to Navillera, how he prepared for the role and more!
The official poster for Navillera. EXCLUSIVE: Navillera star Park In Hwan opens up about learning ballet, his 1st impression of Song Kang & more
  • 6
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Share on whatsapp

Navillera is a drama filled to the brim with the most intimate and beautiful moments of life, dreams and sincerity. Love and relationships are painted in the brightest rosy lights and still remain ethereally integral to each individual's personal growth. A 70-year-old man, Deok Chul, played by Park In Hwan, has always held dear to him, the dream of soaring like a ballerino. However, owing to worldly pressures, he hasn't even able to reconsider the dream, let alone give it a shot. On the other hand, a ballet prodigy, Chae Rok, played by Song Kang, is going through a slump brought on by his familial circumstances. He longs to bare his soul through ballet in a way quite different from those who have mastered the technique of ballet instead of exploring the emotional wealth of the medium. When they meet, life changes for them both, in the most magical way possible as they finally make their transformation into majestic butterflies, justifying beautifully, the name of the drama. 

In an exclusive interview with Pinkvilla, veteran actor Park In Hwan shared all about his artistic process, what drew him to Navillera, how he prepared for his extraordinary character and more. His presence had immeasurable grace and it was an honour to be in conversation with such a brilliant yet humble personality. 

Hello! I'm Ishani Sarkar and it's an honour to be able to speak to you. I'm beyond grateful that you squeezed this interview into your tight schedule. Before anything else, I'd like to ask, what drew you to the character of Deok-chul in ‘Navillera’?


First of all, I was very moved by the webtoon when I first read it.  Since it was so moving, I really wanted to star in the show.  Deok-chul is about my age, and it pleased me to see him trying to achieve his dream, which he had since childhood, at a time when elderly people are usually wrapping up their lives.


What would you say is the highlight of Deok-chul and Chae-rok’s relationship in the drama?


I believe the highlight of their relationship is the fact that the old and the young are helping each other.

I think that age is just a number when a person gains various experiences through many years in life. Instead of using his old age as an excuse for being stubborn, Deok-chul accepts new things from the younger generation, and shows that the harmonious process can yield good results.


You are someone that the younger generation of aspiring actors look up to.  What do you think is the key to playing a character well?


I'm actually quite introverted and I’m not very good at many things.

That's why I put in a lot of effort.  Now I’m at an age where I have to read the script several times for a few days.  I believe making a steady effort is important to do well in anything.

When I see the younger generation, they all seem to be very competitive.  It must be because it has gotten that much more difficult.  I think they can become good actors if they make constant efforts and gain various experiences.


How did you feel about Song Kang as your junior actor and how did you build the amazing connection that we see on screen? 


When we first met, I thought he was tall, small-faced, and fair-skinned.  He seemed like a baby to me.

At first, I thought he was just handsome.  After the shoot began, he progressively improved.  I try not to criticize other people’s acting as much as possible.  Since I'm so much older, what I say might put pressure on them.

Chae-rok absorbed the director's instructions on set like a sponge.  Also, he was kind-hearted, and he tried to make me feel comfortable, so I was able to get closer to him.


You are incredibly loved all over the world for all the endearing and complex roles you have played in your illustrious career.  How is your character in ‘Navillera’ different from those you have played before?


As I get older, the range of acting roles I can play decrease.  Mostly these roles are father and grandfather roles, and they are not in the center of the story but in the periphery.  However, Deok-chul is at the center of the story in Navillera.  That's what’s most different from the characters I’ve played before.


Deok-chul reaches for his dreams even at the age of 70.  In his own words, he wants to try “flying” for once.  Is there anything that you wish you could do in your life that you haven’t been able to?


Unlike Deok-chul, I had no dream when I was young.  I think it's because I have lived a tough life.  My friends applied to the Department of Theater and Film, so I did the same.  I’ve been acting and studying acting ever since.  After graduation, I began to work in theater, and I’m still acting now.  Though I have a lot of shortcomings, I’ve been acting for a long while.  So I get a lot of questions like this, but I am satisfied with myself now.


With such enormous experience under your belt, how do you still bring freshness to each and every character you play?


I think I was lucky.  An actor cannot decide on his own work and roles.  An actor is a profession where he gets chosen.  It's thanks to the directors who let me play various roles.  Rather than thinking that I’m not good at playing the given role, I try to challenge myself and have fun.


What do you think is special about all the different kinds of love portrayed in ‘Navillera’?


Different kinds of love are portrayed in Navillera, such as love between teacher and student, between husband and wife, between parents and children, and between friends.

The love shared between husband and wife, and the love between parents and children can be seen the most in our lives.

Deok-chul and Chae-rok's relationship would be the most special.  Usually, a 70-year-old is the teacher and the 20-year-old is the student, but in this drama, Deok-chul in his 70s becomes a student and learns ballet from a young teacher in his 20s, and their relationship here is wonderful.


What was your favourite part about playing Deok-chul? 


Since Deok-chul is at the center of the story, the best part was that I could tell his story.  It was a good experience to work with a young actor.  I’ve seen ballet, but this was my first time trying it.  Even though it was hard, it was fun.


What do you think helped characters like Chae-rok and Deok-chul become each other’s shoulder to lean on in ‘Navillera’?


Through meeting Chae-rok, Deok-chul is able to do ballet, a dream he had since he was young, and begins to rely on his teacher Chae-rok.  The talented Chae-rok experiences hardships in life and is despaired at a standstill when he meets his student Deok-chul.  Chae-rok is motivated by Deok-chul who makes tries endlessly despite his old age.  Chae-rok looks at the life of Deok-chul and is given the motivation to go through with his frustrating life, and these two become close friends through respect, consideration, and sacrifice.


Ballet is one of the most sophisticated and complex forms of art and your portrayal of Deok-chul truly does justice to the elegant appeal of ballet. How did you prepare for such a specialised role?


I'm glad to hear that Deok-chul and ballet go well together.  I don't think people around my age would ever think of doing ballet.  When I first started ballet, it was very hard.

You need flexibility and strength.  Honestly, I pondered a lot about whether I could even do it.  I started to have ballet lessons a few months before filming began, and I continued to have them on the days when I didn’t have a shoot until production ended.  I was able to hold out because I’ve been playing tennis.  Of course, you can’t do ballet like a professional after learning it for a few months, but I tried my best.


Why do you think it is important for individuals of all ages to watch ‘Navillera’? 


There is dream, love, and warmth in Navillera.  I want to give hope to those who would give up on their dreams because they’re old.  I want to tell them they can “fly.”  I think the drama can be a good influence on those who settle with life.  And Chae-rok is handsome, so I hope a lot of viewers tune in.


What is one piece of advice you have for people who are struggling with their dreams or want a fresh start in life? 


If you work hard to achieve your dream like Deok-chul does, I believe you’ll be able to achieve it some day.  Of course, you may run into difficulties and you may want to quit.  In trying to achieve something, you might succeed and achieve your goal or you might find something better in the process.  If you just stay where you are, you will see only one thing or nothing at all.  But if you strive for your dream, you will be able to see various paths.


Finally, please say a few words for all your fans worldwide, especially in India!


Thank you for loving Navillera.  The world is having a hard time because of COVID-19, and India also seems to be having a hard time.  I believe we’ll be able to overcome it someday.  In the meantime, I hope you stay happy and healthy.

ALSO READ: RECAP: Park In Hwan sets up Song Kang and Hong Seung Hee on a date while Na Moon Hee stands up for her husband

Are you watching Navillera? Share your thoughts with Pinkvilla in the comments section down below!

Anonymous 1 week ago

I enjoyed watching Navillera! Unique story with moral lessons. It made me laugh, cry and think about life. Salute to the cast and crew!

Anonymous 1 week ago

I am watching Navillera and I’m love with each chapter. The série is awesome.

Anonymous 2 weeks ago

I just finished watching tonight's final episode ( 1 st season ). Again ... I cried.. Amazing actors playing true to life topics. Thank you, Thank you..

Anonymous 2 weeks ago

I watch Navillera in netflix excellent drama and telling us that dont give up...

Anonymous 4 weeks ago

Muito comovente esta série estou adorando e ótimos atores beijos a todos

Anonymous 1 month ago

I am watching Navillera and love it! I cannot wait for each new episode. I am brought to tears or laughter numerous times during each episode. I tell my friends and family about it often.