You said you were in Pohang until this morning? I shot my final scene for “Glory Days” and I came here. I wonder if I’ll get to come across another project like this. It’s to the point that I even thought I’ll be fine even if it’s the last movie I ever do. It’s a movie I really wanted to do since the beginning. I always wanted to film a coming-of-age movie, a youth movie.
I heard it’s the story of four friends who are 20-years old. I see on SNS that you have many pictures when we can see you get along well with the other actors. They’re all people I knew from before. Like for (EXO) Suho-hyung, I met him through mutual friends who also studied at the Korea National University of Arts. When we started filming, director Choi Jung Yeol said he hoped the four of us would become friends outside of the movie too. I think we succeeded to do that. We really became great friends.
Is “Angry Mom” already a project that is a memory? “Angry Mom” is the project of my life. I thought I’d be fine with the afterimage lingering in my heart a little bit longer and saying goodbye to Go Bok Dong little by little, but I started filming the movie while the drama was moving into its final stage, everything overlapped and I didn’t have time to relax.
How was it to play the rebel Go Bok Dong? It was a character with many dark sides, so there were times when it was mentally exhausting. When Dong Chil-hyungnim (Kim Hee Won) told me “go to prison instead of me”, it really broke my heart. He was so good that the emotion was more intense and overwhelming than what it was written in the script. On the contrary, I think I had fun with the scenes I did with Hee Sun sunbaenim.
You had a subtle lovestory line with Kim Hee Sun who played Jo Kang Ja. Despite the big age difference, your chemistry was great. She’s a daesunbae, so I struggled in the beginning, but she approached me first and broke down the wall. She was friendly with everyone on the set. She took care of me in a way that made me look even better in our scenes together. It was a great honor.
You don’t seem to be a part of the generation that grew up watching Kim Hee Sun’s dramas. I knew her name more than the projects she did. When I heard about the casting news, my parents and the hyungs in my entourage were more surprised than I was. However, when I actually met, I understood why they reacted this way. She’s really beautiful!
“Angry Mom” didn’t have a common plot. With a school as a background, it dealt with real social issues. Did you relate to what this drama was aiming for?
The first line of the synopsis draft made a reference to the Sewol ferry accident. It’d be hard for me to say that I understood every part of the social and political issues, but for the school-related issues, I think it’s not just me but anyone from this generation can relate to them. Like problems about growing up, school violence, runaway teenagers.
The school uniform suits you well, I thought you were a teenager, but you’re 23. I’m curious to hear about your past. I did judo when I was in elementary school. I was rewarded at the nationwide competition and I was chosen to represent Korea in a competition in Japan… After I quit sports, my situation was a bit vague. I was planning to get back to studying, but it didn’t work out that well. I wanted to study something, so I looked around and what I came across was an acting academy. I had always enjoyed watching movies and I was also influenced by my friends who were attending singing academdies. My instinct told me vaguely that acting would be something I’d enjoy to do.
How did you start your acting experience? When I was in my first year of high school, one of my academy teachers I was close with started his theater company and that’s when I began the life of a theater company member. I started by playing minor roles and was on stage for 5 plays. I was a nobody, so I was happy even if it was just minor thing for me to do. My acting roots, my youth days, I think they’re here in this place.
Is there a reason for you not going to college? You could have majored in an acting-related field. When I was 20, I was selected during a JYP audition and I was an “actor” trainee for a short time. At that time, I thought I’d be on a set soon, so I didn’t feel the need to go to college. Once I left JYP, I looked for another agency and I came across the agency I’m currently in.
You were probably impatient because you had already found your path… Of course, I worried a lot. However, I was sure that I’d be an actor, that my life would be in the art field no matter what. I’ve always followed “my will” ever since I was a kid.
We can feel the determination in your gaze. We can also feel your charm. When I first met Ryu Seung Ryong-sunbaenim, he told me “Jisoo-ya, do not get double eye-lids surgery” because my gaze can make me look very ugly sometimes or it can express various emotions other times and it’s an advantage for me.
How’s your daily life? Your friends, your hobbies? It will probably sound like a cliché answer, but I enjoy watching movies and listening to music. I don’t really drink alcohol. I usually meet my friends in a coffee shop. I’ve been living in the same neighborhood for 23 years, so I have friends who are like family to me because we went to elementary, middle and high school together. And there are also the hyungs who are my acting family.
It is known that you’re close friends with actor Byun Yo Han. Is he one of them? Yes. We met at the funding party for an indie movie. Yo Han-hyung is such a gentle, nice and heart-warming person. We have the same mindset. I think that all the people I like are similar. They’re people who don’t overthink and who have a pure heart.
Do you have fun only with men? Do you have female friends?
Well… I don’t really have female friends. I attended an all-boy middle school and high school, so I guess you can say women aren’t in my vision of “friendship”? Still, me saying this doesn’t mean that I don’t meet women. “Love” will also be my top priority in the future.
Do you have a method that influences the way you live? I want to become an earnest actor, but I also have the “live by your instinct” principle. There are many things to be careful about when you live as an entertainer in Korea. Still, there are people who seem to live freely. That’s the way I want to live too. “Irregularly”, without going down a defined path in my career or in my life.
Which kind of role are you attracted to these days? I want to play characters I can relate to on a deep level. Characters that make me feel that the emotions written in the script are mine. I’m going to say it again, but I like coming-of-age characters because the process of changing after going through something is interesting.
What’s your favorite coming-of-age movie? “Baskeball Diaries” with Leonardo Dicaprio. I saw “Mommy” (directed by Xavier Dolan) recently and I liked it.
Aha… The feels come right away, right?