Nam Joo-hyuk before ‘Startup’: Playing the Awkward Guy in ‘Cheese in the Trap’

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Nam Joo-hyuk Before Start-Up

You might be familiar with Nam Joo-hyuk since he started playing an awkward IT geek named Nam Do-san in tvN’s 2020 famous drama Start-Up. But, do you know that prior to that drama, he used to play the same awkward, calm guy role in another tvN drama titled Cheese in the Trap (2016)? The drama is an adaptation of a webtoon of the same name, and it tells the story of campus couples with complicated personalities.

So, are you curious about Nam Joo-hyuk’s appearances in this drama? If you are, check out this article to find out more!

Nam Joo-hyuk’s Role Announcement

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In August 2015, Nam Joo-hyuk was announced to be one of the cast that would be featured in tvN’s drama project Cheese in the Trap. Nam Joo-hyuk, who was a newcomer at that timewas honored to play alongside actors like Kim Go-eun, Park Hae-jin, Seo Kang-joon, Park Min-ji, and even his future ex-girlfriend Lee Sung-kyung. On top of that, it was revealed that he was a loyal reader of the webtoon version of Cheese in the Trap by Soonkki. The drama aired in mid-October 2015 every Monday and Tuesday.

Previously, Nam Joo-hyuk was involved in KBS2’s drama Who Are You: School 2015. Nam Joo-hyuk played the lead character alongside the young actress Kim So-hyun.

Cheese in the Trap tells the story of the campus couple Hong Seol (Kim Go-eun) and her boyfriend Yoo Jeong (Park Hae-jin) along with other quirky characters. In the drama, Nam Joo-hyuk plays Kwon Eun-taek, a handsome and kind-hearted student who is one of Hong-seol’s best friends alongside Jang Bo-ra (Park Min-ji).

The three of them are friendly and inseparable at the university. It turns out, Eun-taek and Bo-ra have been developing feelings for each other and eventually become a couple.

In the webtoon version, Eun-taek is described as a tall and cute student who seems a little clumsy but is a reliable and trustworthy friend. That’s why this role fits Nam Joo-hyuk perfectly because of his tall figure and innocent expression. Even though he is not the main character, his presence as the cute and dreamy boyfriend of Hong-seol’s best friend makes K-drama lovers swoon over him.

Nam Joo-hyuk’s Scenes in Cheese in the Trap

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As we know, Nam Joo-hyuk played the role of Eun-taek, a supporting best friend of Hong Seoul and Bo-ra. Although the three of them are always together, somehow Eun-taek began to develop a crush on Bo-ra. Despite Eun-taek being one year younger than Bo-ra, he always displays the protective oppa aura to his crush. He is also always there for her whenever she needs him.

At first, he acts nervous whenever he’s around Bo-ra (since it was a secret crush). So, he often hides his crush by acting funny or joking around.

But, despite the secrecy, he always acts as a protector to both of his friends and especially his crush. In one of the scenes, he throws a ball after seeing one of the seniors annoying her.

Luckily, Eun-taek became the boyfriend of Bo-ra after his secret crush. And, even when he’s already her boyfriend, he still shows the same attentive side as before. Every scene that features him became a scene where audiences fell in love with his soft charm.

It seems like Nam Joo-hyuk nailed the character of Eun-taek perfectly!

Nam Joo-hyuk’s Chemistry with Park Min-ji

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As we see in the drama, the chemistry between Eun-taek and Bo-ra really hits the roof. Since the two characters are friends prior to becoming a couple, we can see how they are comfortable and natural towards each other. And, part of the reason why their chemistry is spot on is because of the fact that Nam Joo-hyuk and Park Min-ji are friends in real life.

Just like in the drama, Nam Joo-hyuk and Park Min-ji like to tease each other a lot. And, just like in the drama, Park Min-ji is a senior to Nam Joo-hyuk. So, no wonder they really fit the noona-romance concept.

In an interview with X Sports News after the filming finished, Park Min-ji talked about her thoughts on working with Nam Joo-hyuk. She said, “Many viewers seem to show love and interest in our acting thanks to the charming Eun-taek. I’m relieved and glad.”

“He’s very comfortable to be around, and as he is rather young, we skipped all the awkwardness and became close in no time. Coming up with ideas under the director’s guidance and creating scenes together was comfortable. I had fun. He’s got a witty character, and that made working with him enjoyable,” she added, highlighting the similarities between Nam Joo-hyuk and Eun-taek’s characters.

“He was always a cute friend, so I had no choice but to view him cutely,” Park Min-ji said regarding her view on her co-star.

The viewers were sometimes quite annoyed when they saw Bo-ra who was conflicted and repeatedly rejected Eun-taek. In a separate interview, Park Min-ji said that she felt the same way about the character she plays.

“I’m also really frustrated. Bora and I are really different when it comes to dating. I’m a person who focuses more on what I feel right now. I think it’s not that Bo-ra doesn’t like Eun-taek, it’s just that she’s too worried about her relationship later. I’ll do it if you like it. just dating,” said Park Min-ji.

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When asked if Park Min-ji likes the type of guy like Eun-taek, the actress was quite hesitant to respond. The reason is, Park Min-ji is not the type of woman who likes younger men.

“To be honest, Eun-taek is the perfect guy. Even though he is like a friend, he really likes me [Bo-ra] and sees me as a woman. Moreover, he is tall and handsome,” said the actress.

She went on, “I realized that I really like guys who have a crush on me. I like guys I feel comfortable with. But, there is one problem. I don’t want to date younger guys, I like older guys. About Eun-taek, I’m really upset.”

Well, who knows, maybe her preference regarding younger men will change, right?