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[Drama 2021] Racket Boys, 라켓소년단


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Rookie actor Tang Joon-sang steals the limelight

beborn@donga.com | August 10, 2021


An 18-year-old actor endeared himself to drama fans twice in the first half of this year. It is Tang Joon-sang, who played Geu-ru, a “trauma cleaner” with Asperger syndrome, in Netflix’s Move to Heaven, and badminton prodigy Yoon Hae-kang in SBS’ “Racket Boys.” He was the main character in both series.

Tang was not entirely unknown before appearing in those two TV series. After making his debut in musical Billy Elliot at age 7, Tang mostly played supporting roles in movies and TV series. He started to become famous after playing Geum Eun-dong in tvN’s Crash Landing on You.

“I was complimented on my acting for the first time while playing lead roles in two TV series this year. It made me want to work even harder,” Tang said via video interview. He had strong presence in Racket Boys that ended on Monday. It is a fairytale-like story about middle school students playing badminton in the southernmost city of Haenam and adults surrounding them. “There is no single drop of blood in the series. The pure characters of the students and the beautiful scenery will bring you back to your childhood memories,” Tang said. As Tang said, the TV series was nicknamed, “pollution-free, organic TV series” and maintained the top spot in viewer ratings for Monday-Tuesday TV series.

Tang, who built a solid filmography this year, will come of age next year. Instead of attending high school, Tang homeschooled, passed the GED, and now preparing to study theater and film in college. Tang said he recently binge-watched tvN series “My Mister” (2018) and thought he wanted to participate in a work that deals with the life story of someone who just landed a job. Other than that, he does not have plans for his 20s. “I just want to continue to act in various works,” Tang said. 




[INTERVIEW] Tang Joon-sang of 'Racket Boys' says months of badminton practice paid off

By Lee Gyu-lee | 2021-08-10

Actor Tang Joon-sang plays Yoon Hae-kang, an ace player on the middle school's badminton team, in SBS sports drama "Racket Boys." Courtesy of CL& Company

SBS sports drama "Racket Boys," which ended Monday, has garnered popularity not only with the feel-good storyline and its actors' compelling performance, but also with the young actors' badminton skills, which caught viewers' attention. 

Actor Tang Joon-sang, who plays Yoon Hae-kang, an ace player on the middle school's badminton team, explained that his months of practicing badminton since last October ― even before filming the series ― have paid off. 

"Because Hae-kang is a badminton prodigy, I didn't want to wing it. I wanted to seem like an actual professional player," Tang said during a recent interview with The Korea Times via video chat. "I needed to portray a professional's techniques and movements, so I had to train myself hard. It was very difficult and physically challenging, but once I saw how it came out in the scenes, I felt that it was worth it." 

Helmed by Jo Yeong-gwang, who directed the TV series, "Heart Surgeons" and "Hyde Jekyll, Me," "Racket Boys" follows a middle school badminton team from a small town as they try to win in the national junior league. It is scripted by Jung Bo-hoon, who is known for writing the tvN series, "Prison Playbook."

Hae-kang moves from the city to join the team, which is on the brink of falling apart, when his dad and former pro-badminton player, Hyun-jong (Kim Sang-kyung), takes the coaching job to rescue the team.

He is disappointed with his life in the small rural town and in quitting baseball to join the team, but as he opens up to the other boys on the team, he starts to find another purpose from the sport. 




The poster for the series / Courtesy of SBS

The 18-year-old actor said that working in this series helped him grow as a person. 

"I think that I learned a lot from the series, because I was working with actors of my age as well as with veteran actors who are much older than I am," he said. "I came to learn how I should interact with different people and work in harmony from this series."

He also added that he grew very close with each of the actors on the badminton team ― Choi Hyun-wook, Son Sang-yeon, Kim Kang-hoon and Kim Min-ki ― as they helped each other with acting. 

"We all had the same goal, to get to know each other as fast as we could, to show great team chemistry. And as we practiced badminton together, that was just naturally accomplished," he said, adding that they would play against each other for fun in between shooting the scenes. 

"Even though we are all about the same age, they were also skilled in acting, so that helped us get into the scenes better. I would be spurred on by their acting and would also share my ideas on how to make the scenes better. We learned a lot from each other." 

Scenes from the series / Pan Entertainment

Since debuting as a child actor at the age of seven in the musical, "Billy Elliot," Tang has already built a diverse portfolio, with roles ranging from a young North Korean soldier on tvN's "Crash Landing on You," and a trauma cleaner with Asperger's syndrome in Netflix's "Move to Heaven."

The actor said that he is the most thrilled when viewers see him completely differently for each role. 

"My favorite comment (about my acting) is how I look completely different from my previous roles, like, 'I didn't know it was the same guy who played in 'Crash Landing on You' or 'Move to Heaven,'" he said. "That's what I care most about, portraying a different way of acting in each work, so those compliments make me feel like I'm walking on air." 

When asked if he ever wanted to try different jobs other than that of an actor, Tang expressed a firm belief in his choice of career, despite having started acting at such a young age. 

"The reason I became an actor is so I can try out different occupations. Since I was young, I've always had so many things I wanted to become, like the president, a police officer, a soccer player and so on," he said. "Acting is work that allows people to get a glimpse of various other jobs, so I intend to have those experiences as an actor."

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  • ferily changed the title to [Drama 2021] Racket Boys, 라켓소년단

Final episode, I didn't want this show to end. I am really going to miss it. 


I loved Hae Kang's confession. So cute. I'm glad that Se yoon told Park Chan a while ago about her feelings. Hae Kang's expression when all the fangirls were there for Woo Chan instead of him. :joy: 


While I am sad Hae Kang lost his match, I am really happy that Tae-soon won. I loved the scene with him and coach's wife. I'm glad we had a scene of Se yoon being there for Hae Kang like he was for her. 


Holding hands on the beach - such cuties. 


I liked that we checked in with the rest of the village people. I felt like we have gotten less of them in the past couple of episodes.  Also a good way to show the passage of time, and that a year has gone by. Puppies!!!


I forgot that with Yong tae being younger than all of them he would get a new team full of young kids and they would move to high school.


And Yong tae being so against any couples to the point that they are hiding the relationships from him. :joy: I love that they are all still living in the house together, even though they don't have to. 


I loved that the finale match was the two couples. Though I think that Hae Kang and Se yoon probably won. I think it was a good shot to end the series. 


This show is probably one of my favorites in quite some time. 

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‘Racket Boys’ Tang Joon Sang Says His Role Models Are Jo Jung Suk and Cho Seung Woo

by krishkim

Credit: CL&company

“I’m so sad to say goodbye to everyone now that Racket Boys has ended. I already miss my friends. I also want to play badminton so bad. It’s both sad and bitter that I have to bid farewell to Hae Kang.”

Tang Joon Sang shared his feelings as he wrapped up Racket Boys. For about nine months, he sweated so much while practicing badminton, and he developed strong friendships with actors his age. 

Tang took on the role of Yoon Hae Kang, who started playing badminton again after unwillingly transferring to a school in Haenam. He is a bit rough on the outside but kind on the inside. The actor couldn’t hide his affection for the role, saying, “He pretends to be something else on the outside, but he’s a softy on the inside. But I’m nice to everyone both on the outside and on the inside. I liked every scene where he shouted, ‘It’s me, Yoon Hae Kang.'”

Credit: SBS

Tang trained for badminton like real players. “I came out as a genius badminton player, so how my posture looked was important. I wanted to look like a real player, so I trained for months before the shooting,” he shared. “It was painful, aching, and physically challenging, but I got better at it gradually. And I felt a sense of accomplishment when I looked cool on TV just like I wanted.”

He showed a youthful romance with Lee Jae In, who played another genius badminton player Han Se Yoon. He said, “Honestly, I didn’t think it was romance at first. I tried to express the ‘flirt’ of a man with a crush, but that looked quite fresh. Because it’s such a pure emotion, I tried to express it without overdoing it but not so dull at the same time.”

Yoo Ah In showed his love for Racket Boys via his Instagram. Tang mentioned the event and said, “Yoo Ah In’s post was shared on our group chat. Everyone was so happy. I was delighted that an actor that I respect showed his love.”

Credit: CL&company

This year alone, Tang took on the lead roles in two dramas, Move to Heaven and Racket Boys. “I never imagined I would be playing the main roles. But honestly, I got compliments on how well I acted for the first time with these two projects. I was excited, and it felt amazing. The first half of this year made me want to work harder. I want to work more in the second half of this year.”

Tang, who debuted in 2010 with the musical Billy Elliot, shared that he wants to grow as an actor that works on both stages and screens. “Like Jo Jung Suk and Cho Seung Woo, I want to become an influential actor who works on various genres such as musicals, movies, and dramas. Please look forward to my upcoming projects.”
He then expressed his wish for season 2 of Racket Boys. “The actors my age and I talked about season 2 and imagined what it would be about. How will the story unfold? If there is season 2, of course, I want to be a part of it.”

Source (1, 2)
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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  • 4 months later...

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 SBS Drama Awards, they won BIG!


Best Character Award (Female): Oh Na Ra (“Racket Boys”)


Best Supporting Cast: “Racket Boys”


Best Child Actress: Lee Jae In (“Racket Boys”)


Best Child Actor: Tang Joon Sang (“Racket Boys”)


Best New Actor: Son Sang Yeon (“Racket Boys”), Choi Hyun Wook (“Racket Boys”)



















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  • 2 weeks later...

Soompi Forums Awards: The best k-dramas of 2021? Please vote!


Now is your chance to show your love for your favorite dramas of 2021. In the Soompi Forums Awards poll you can vote for the dramas you liked the most last year. :kiss_wink:

Which dramas will be the winners?



Your Event Organizers,

@partyon @confusedheart @agenth @Sleepy Owl

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Soompi Forums Awards (Poll #2): The best streaming dramas, c-dramas, daily/weekend dramas of 2021? Please vote!


Now you can also vote for your favorite 2021:

  • Daily/weekend dramas
  • C-dramas
  • Streaming dramas (ie dramas that only appeared on streaming sites like Netflix)



Your Event Organizers,

@partyon @confusedheart @agenth @Sleepy Owl

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