I was excited when you said you had dyed your hair with a deep purple color.
Haha. My hair was really purple. I had to cut and dye it because of the drama. Do you want to see? (showing the picture) Looking at the picture now, I dyed my hair on August 16th!
So you said goodbye to your short purple hair of two weeks. You were probably sad.
I actually wanted to dye it pink at first. I had to promote the movie “Sado” and pink would have probably been too shocking, so the compromise was to leave the top part and dye only the low part because I didn’t know I’d do another project so soon.
Do you often hear the words “you’ve really gotten pretty” these days? Your appearance during “Sado” preview was especially a hot issue.
There’s not one specific different thing, but people say I give off a different vibe. It’s probably because I cut my hair and lost weight.
“Sado” is getting good reviews. Like people in the industry say, “the movie is to fall for”. Do you think the movie is to fall for?
It is embarrassing to say this about a movie I did, but even from an objective point of view, the movie was really well-made. The movie is very interesting the second time you watch it. Things you didn’t see the first time around can be seen the second time you watch it.
Your character Lady Hye Gyeong has many dilemmas.
I play the wife of Prince Sado and the mother of the Crown Prince who will be called Jung Jo. Although she witnesses the tragic death of her husband, she manages to survive three different kings.
Which emotion did you try to carry?
The plot is centered aroud Sado and Young Jo, so other characters, included Lady Hye Gyeong, are used as elements to show the change in the relationship between Sado and Young Jo. I tried to act in a way to show a little bit more the multiple aspects of their relationship without being harmful. When Prince Sado is out of sight, so is Lady Hye Gyeong. And Young Jo really loves her son who will become Jung Jo later on. I wanted to express her dilemma of standing between her husband who is hated and her son who is cherished.
Which aspect of “Sado” attracted you the most? The director, the scenario or the other actors you’d get to work with?
My first reason was Song Kang Ho-sunbae. You see, Song Kang Ho-sunbae and Jeon Do Yeon-sunbae are my favorite actors.
Why did director Lee Joon Ik asked you to play this role?
The director said he asked me first wondering if I’d accept this role since the character doesn’t have much screen time. After he gave me the scenario, he kept setting auditions with rookie actresses. He was very surprised when I said I would do it.
I saw the movie talk video you did with Yoo Ah In not long ago. The two of you were very cute joking around together. Did the two of you work well together?
He [t/n: she calls him oppa] is very nice to me. We’re in the same age group and we have the same worries about acting, so we often had serious discussions.
Oh, which kind of worry?
Worries about acting. Stuff like “I’m doing this kind of acting these days, I want to try this kind of acting”. Even without talking about a scene in advance, when he walked onto the set, as his gaze changed the acting atmosphere was built up. This energy was also straight conveyed to me. It was like the feeling of communicating something just by looking at the other’s gaze? This really surprised me.
You’ve worked with outstanding actors so far. Was Yoo Ah In’s acting special?
It was so good that I was even very sad when filming was over. I wanted to act more with him, but we only had a few scenes together and since our interaction was always a fight, so there’s nothing more than one scene when you see us getting along. That’s what I was a bit sad about.
People already say that “Sado” will follow into “Veteran” path and surpass the 10,000,000 admissions. How does an actor feel when his movie sells more than 10,000,000 tickets?
I don’t know… Because none of my movies reached the 10,000,000-admission milestone. Haha.
Tell us how you would feel if this one did.
Here’s the thing. I’ve never thought about box-office results or ratings when I choose a role. On the contrary, the ones worrying about that are the people around me. I want to do interesting/fun stuff. In the past, I only listened to what others said to choose a project. I had a hard time doing these projects, and I realized that I only felt sadness even after filming was over. Even if I go through hardships, I don’t think of it as hardship when I’m enjoying what I do. That’s why I’m trying to supervise a bit more and do the things I want to do.
You’re the kind of person who can’t really rejects others’ opinion?
In the past, I was. I was very respectful of others’ opinion because I was afraid to take responsibility.
What about now? You’re no longer scared?
Instead of no longer being scared, it’s more that… Well, I was the one being responsible for my choices anyway. I realized that even if I respected somoeone else’s opinion to make my decision, I was the one responsible for the outcome. I ended up thinking that what I choose, what I handle is very clear. If things turn out a certain way, then I can’t blame others. And if I do blame myself, then it kind of feels unfair… Haha.
I understand how you feel. And that’s what makes being in your 30’s even better.
That’s why I feel good right now. There are three months left until I turn 30? I want to leave the “9” swamp fast.
Was filming “Sado” a choice you made completely on your own?
It was. My agency really stopped me from doing it. When I said I would do it, they thought I was joking and laughed it off. So I said I would do it for real and I urged them to make the arrangements for the contract.
So you were prepared to take on responsibility in the end? How was it? Was it a good choice?
I think I made a good choice. I gained many things, I learned many things too and did a lot of thinking. No matter how you look at it, it’s the first time I depend on no one but myself. There were many roles I had to be attracted to and there’s something nice about being dependant. On the contrary, I got to see more things and I broadened my horizons. When I was in the situation I was inclined to go for, people expected many things from me. Now the situation was reverse, and it made me understand for the first time why they couldn’t see things from my perspective as much as I hoped.
Oh suddenly I feel sorry because it seems we were quite a burden for you.
It’s the way I lived. On the set, I was always the breadwinner! In the past, while I was filming with Team A, Team B was getting ready to pick up where we left off. I filmed alternatively with both teams without taking a break.
But it’s not always good to have many scenes!
I filmed with Kim Gap Soo once and I dozed off while saying my lines during a scene in which we had to interact. It’s a moment I can’t forget. I was so sorry. Although he asked me if it was because I was tired as he patted my shoulder, I was very distressed.
You’ll start filming your new drama next Monday, and it’s more of an issue than the movie because it’s your return to dramaland. And there’s also the fact it’s a thriller which is a rare genre on Korean mainstream channels.
It’s a thriller, suspense drama. My character goes to this village to find the family she lost contact with. She kind of digs up some secrets of this village in order to find her family. It should be interesting, right?
I’m going to ask you a similar question. What attracted you to this project?
I really like this genre. I like the variety programs “Crime Scene”. I made this decision because the story was solid. That’s the only reason. And my character isn’t as transparent as the characters I’ve played so far. That’s why I want to give it my own style.
There’s a legend about you. It says you’re either reading or picking herbs with your grandmother when you’re not filming.
That’s right. When I was a kid, my grandmother was the one taking me to the filming set. She worried as she wondered if the staff would take care of me, if I wouldn’t get scolded if I couldn’t act, so she’d sit on a mat at some distance and read a book. So when I wasn’t filming, I went where my grandmother was and we read a book together. In Spring, we picked mugwort. It’s really a good memmory.
You still live with your family, right? Don’t you want to be independent?
My parents live in Gyeonggi-do and I live with my grandmother. I’m currently preparing to become independent. I hadn’t planned to do this drama, so I would have been probably be packing for moving right now. I will move out next year.
So you’re turning 30 as well as becoming independent!
My parents gave me the permission to move out by saying it wasn’t appropriate for someone over 30 to live with their parents.
What do you want to do once you’ll be independent?
I don’t like houses with a lot of stuff, so I just want to create my own space in a simple and clean way. I want my house to have something like a bar. My dream isn’t to have a big house, but to have a bar so I can call my friends over and look so cool while making them coktails. I want to bring my coffee table, my coffee machine, my books and my clothes and I want to change some furniture too. Those I’ve had for 20 years. I sleep in the bed I have since elementary school.
Your preparation is really thorough!
Everything is ready! I will go to my house as soon as the drama is over. I will go to Ikea every day.
You’re an actress who is running forward without taking a break. You started working at a young age. Did you have the certainty that you would make a living as an actress?
I had it when I was a kid, but not anymore. I’m trying not to have things so determined like this. When I was a kid, I just really liked acting. I loved this job I was able to do. I thought to myself that I had to be an actress until the day I die.
And now? Did you change your mind?
My mindset was “let’s do it until I don’t feel any attachement for it anymore”. Of course, people always have lingering feelings at some extent, but… I mean, within the limit of not having regrets. I think it’s enough to live your life while working hard. Sometimes, I do tell myself that I want my life to go in a direction different from acting.
Awards are here to prove that you have a career and it seemed that you already proved yourself because you always receive awards. So do you still have goals?
I feel like I don’t. I had goals in the past. You must hear “next time, you’ll do even better”. You must be good and not hear words like “your acting got worse’, “you’re stagnant”. You must work harder. You must do better to be more recognized… I always had this kind of greed and pushed myself. However, the moments when I won awards are blurry in my memory now. Haha. What I’m saying is that awards aren’t important. To be honest, I don’t have a precise goal. I just want to enjoy what I do.
Enjoying life, is this your ultimate goal? That’s why you participated in “1 Night 2 Days”? You surprised everybody. We saw a new side of you.
It was really fun. Come to think of it, I think it’s around that time I started changing. I was always scared to show myself to others. That’s why my social circle is small and I always stay at home. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to film “1N2D”. I think I did it because of Kim Joo Hyuk who is in the same agency. For someone like me, strong resolution was needed. The time I spent with the 1N2D team, spending time like this with other people, it really changed me.
How did it change you?
“I can also go outside and meet people”, “I can also go somewhere to have fun and do this or that”, “still, should I do this? Why didn’t do I that in the past?”. Having these thoughts made me change a lot. Not long ago, I went on a trip with Kim Ji Soo and Kim Ah Joong.
Was it something you couldn’t see yourself do in the past?
If it had been before, I wouldn’t have picked up the phone out of shyness. I would have said something like “why is Ah Joong-unnie calling me? I should text her later”. I took her call and she said “how about going to Jeju island?” and I said “well, let’s go”. However, this trip was really so so much fun. Because it was between actresses with one in her 40’s, one in her 3O’s and one in her 20’s. I really had fun all through our trip.
I feel the enthusiam and the energy of someone stepping out into the world. Everything is amazing and fun.
I want to be free. I think I can be because I believe [in myself].
It’s hard for people to completely trust themselves. However, isn’t it nice to believe in yourself?
I think people can trust others because they believe in themselves. If I can’t believe in myself, others won’t. I think that if I can’t believe in myself, I can’t love others, others can’t believe in me and they can’t love me either.
Is there something else you want to do? I want to say to try anything, everything.
Right now, I’m doing what I want. That’s why I feel good. It’s something I never forgot. I craved for freedom, but I think I had yet to find how to be free. That’s why I was always longing for it. Like “I want to be free, so why is freedom always running away from him”. That was my only way of thinking, but I have it figured it out now. I was someone free to begin with, but I didn’t know how to enjoy this freedom. It’s great now to be really happy and free because I figured out how to be like this.
I know why now. The reason you’ve gotten prettier. You’re happy and that’s what makes you beautiful.
Really? I don’t know about getting prettier, but I do know one thing. Right now, I am to.tal.ly happy.
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com