New K-drama thriller The Last Empress looks set to spice up the year end with suspense and romance.

Starring Jang Na-ra, Choi Jin-hyuk and Shin Sung-rok, the drama takes place in an alternate reality where modern-day Korea is a constitutional monarchy.

A cheerful musical actress named Oh Sunny (Jang) enters the palace after marrying the emperor Lee Hyuk (Shin). But when the empress dowager is murdered, it sets off a chain of events that threatens the monarchy itself.

Oh begins a quest to bring down the imperial family with the help of Cheon Woo-bin (Choi), a royal bodyguard who is seeking revenge for the death of his mother, as she struggles to find her own happiness and love.

Written by Kim Soon-ok (Temptation Of Wife) and directed by PD Joo Dong-min (Return), this is the second drama that Jang and Choi are working together in, after Fated To Love You.

In an email interview, Jang, a musician, record producer and actress active in both the South Korean and Chinese entertainment scenes, shares her thoughts on the drama and her role.

In The Last Empress, you play the role of a musical actress. Being a singer and having acted in many plays and musicals, how do you think your experience contributed to your role?

Playing the role was very refreshing and it was a great experience. But I still had to practise my singing and go for vocal lessons.

When you read the script, what did you think about it?

It felt different from what I’d done so far. I like the overall theme and storyline of the drama, and all the characters have their own story arcs, motivations and desires. So I find that very interesting.

Jang Na-ra plays a cheerful musical actress named Oh Sunny who marries the the emperor Lee Hyuk in 'The Last Empress'. Photo: Handout

The Last Empress takes place in an alternate reality where modern-day Korea is a constitutional monarchy. Photo: Handout

What was your main challenge in your role as Oh Sunny?

Sunny is a very energetic and lively character. She expresses what she likes and hates very clearly. She has a lot of energy and emotions, so that was a challenge for me.

In the early episodes, there were a lot of emotional changes that I needed to express, so that was not easy.

How did you prepare for this role?

Apart from going for vocal lessons, I had to compartmentalise my feelings and emotions while preparing for my shoot.

I was a little bit worried about filming a series like this, but the storyline, characters and the producers’ detailed directing really put me at ease.

How was it like working with co-stars Choi Jin-hyuk and Shin Sung-rok in the drama?

I know Choi Jin-hyuk very well and I acted with him in Fated To Love You.

I also saw all of Choi Jin-hyuk’s dramas and acting with him was comfortable.

He also treats others very warmly.

The Last Empress premieres today (22/11) at 8.10pm on One HD (Astro Ch 393).