[October 2015 – Cosmopolitan] “She Was Pretty” Hwang Jung Eum, Park Seo Joon, Go Jun Hee, Choi Siwon – Interview

Cosmo - She Was Pretty

The 4 leads of MBC drama “She Was Pretty” are all gathered today! I think having a fashion magazine as a set-up for the hottest actors right now probably makes the set atmosphere special.

Park Seo Joon It might be because we’re in the same age group, but I think there’s a special energy.
Hwang Jung Eum I thought age didn’t matter if your partner showed just good acting that didn’t highlight the fact of being an idol-turned-actor. Working with Seo Joon, Joon Hee and Siwon who are the hottest stars right now makes me feel that I’m filling up the void left by things I had gotten rid off.
Go Joon Hee Jung Eum-unnie and I already knew each other, so just the fact of working with her made me comfortable. Seo Joon and Siwon are younger than me, but they have this oppa vibe, so I was very comfortable, although it was the first time we worked together. Both of their characters set the mood, so the filming set is very friendly. Especially with Siwon. He’s good at putting the people around him in a good mood. He uses a very serious tone to compliment me and Jung Eum-unnie, but it’s hard not to laugh.
Choi Siwon They don’t laugh, if I’m not here. They said there’s no fun. Jung Eum-nuna looks like someone funny, but that’s not really the case. It’s the same for Seo Joon and Joon Hee-nuna.
Joon Hee It’s not just Siwon. Saying there’s a good atmosphere because all the staff members have a good gag instinct isn’t enough to describe it. I hope this energy will be conveyed to the viewers.

There’s quite an expectation about these four characters because the drama is written by Jo Sung Hee who wrote “High Kick Through The Roof”. How would you describe the charm of your characters?

Siwon I really love my character Kim Shin Hyuk because he’s a free spirit. Although he’s a chaebol from the second generation, he has his own struggles while he’s living doing the things he wants. Since I’m a public figure, I must take responsibility for my behavior and that’s why I can’t be free like him. The plot itself is bright and funny without being too heavy and that’s what made Kim Shin Hyuk more charming for me.
Joon Hee Min Ha Ri is a girl who enjoys going to the club and to have fun a lot. There are many scenes where she dances, to be honest, my dancing skills are just cringeworthy. Compared to how much fun I have and how I like dancing, I really can’t dance to the point I’m even sorry. Haha. The charming factor of Min Ha Ri that can’t be defined in one word is how she cares about her childhood friend who was by her side when she went through the hardest time of her life. She doesn’t need to be in a relationship with a man. All she needs is this friend. The is the most adorable and the most pitiful factor about Min Ha Ri.
Seo Joon At first, Ji Sung Joon seemed to be a bit dull, but after looking at him in detail, I thought it was a character that had a lot to show. It’s a double-sided character. The way he thinks and the way he behaves are different when he’s at work and when he’s seeing the person he loves. I think I can show Ji Sung Joon in a three-dimensional way if I manage to convey this double side. It’s the most difficult aspect.
Jung Eum I think my character is crazy and different from the other three. She’s odd but cute. It usually takes two hours to get ready for filming, but it doesn’ take more than 5 minutes for Kim Hye Jin. My hair gets dried roughly to get this perm explosive bob, then the make-up is just about applying dark foundation and drawing the freckles and it’s done. One thing for sure is that it’s not all transparent and there will be a reversal because it’s a drama written by Jo Sung Hee. To be honest, my friend told me a year ago or two about the script of “She Was Pretty” and that the lead character would really suit me. I remembered it because I liked the title, so I was really excited when I received the script. I thought I should definetely do it because it’s a drama written by Jo Sung Hee. I’m not someone quiet, but I’ve played so many dramatic characters that it brought my mood down a lot in real life. However, this drama brings out my bright energy again. Now I want to act and have fun with what I do. Instead of calculating every move, I think I will completely become Kim Hye Jin by focusing on each scene and everything will come together at some point like a puzzle. I’m still waiting for the moment to find such moment.
Siwon Jung Eum-nuna is really overflowing with energy, so I’m exhausted the day after we shot scenes together. Her ability to focus and to get into character is very strong. I had less preparation, so it’s natural that being dragged suddenly like this gives me a hard time. Joon Hee-nuna also has quick reacctions. They’re both charming but in a complete different way, so it’s really a good match.

Ha Ri excluded, the other three characters work for the same fashion magazine and many things happen at their work place. Seo Joon visited the Cosmopolitan office in order to know better what being an editor is about. Is the experience you get as you’re portraying this role is different from the vague idea you had in mind?

Seo Joon It’s a drama so there cannot not be unrealistic aspects. Still, visiting the Cosmopolitan office and feeling this atmosphere similar to a regular company gave me the impression that it wasn’t that different from what I had imagined.
Jung Eum Actually, the director also told me to visit the office, but I purposely didn’t go because acting comes out when you’re in an unknown situation. Although I played an intern in a medical drama, I didn’t need prior experience because acting is about going through the unknown. I’m an assistant who is an outcast, so I’m easily disregarded and I’m asked to run errands here and there. I’m trying to show properly her great confusion. Like Seo Joon said, there is a lot of exaggeration. Kim Hye Jin may looks like somehow she’s too much, but I think someone like her can exist in real life too. In the US drama “Desperate Housewives”, there’s a comedy aspect with a sarcastic approach of the society. To be honest, how can I know the feelings of Kim Hye Jin who is an unemployed woman standing for the 880,000 won generation? I just act according to what’s written in the script. When I can’t have a good grasp of the feeling, I watch a lot of documentaries. However, I think I would have been an awesome assistant in real life. Haha.
Siwon I play Kim Shin Hyuk, the magazine feature editor. It’s similar to the job of a reporter. I’m pleased.

How is the life of a feature editor?

Siwon When I look at the few reporters I know, I realize how much stress a deadline gives. Saying let’s have a bear because they need a drink after an interview is over, it’s something I still couldn’t feel. I think my personality is suitable to be a newspaper reporter. Like in politicics or social-related issues. Because I’m the type to focus on something until I see the end of it. However, I think I’d do a good job at girl groups coverage. Haha. I’m just kidding.

Jung Eum and Seo Joon are each other’s first love, but the four of you get entangled into a relationships getting more and more complicated. Between these two women and two men, who would you be more attracted to in real life?

Jung Eum Kim Hye Jin had to hide in front of her first love. I do understand her feelings, but it’s so sad. I cried while reading the scenario. It’s still early in the drama, so I don’t really know what to think about the fact she becomes involved with these two guys. I think the character itself of Seo Joon is more attractive. In real life… I don’t like men younger than me.
Seo Joon I think both women are attractive. It’s probably because they do a good job at bringing their characters to life. The 4 characters seem entangled, but I’m also curious and impatient to see how everything unfolds.
Joon Hee That’s right. The only certain thing for now is that Seo Joon meets me instead of Jung Eum-unnie and I fall for him. I’m also impatient because I can’t imagine yet how it will turn out. Although it’s not a strong love triangle, I think it would be very hard for me to choose between these men. Ji Sung Joon whom Seo Joon plays is really a romantic guy. The fact that he has so much affection for his first love from his childhood is surprising. On the contrary, Siwon’s Kim Shin Hyuk is a very light and playful character. If I could mix their two personalities, I think it would create a very attractive guy.
Siwon To be honest, style-wise, I’d be attracted to Min Ha Ri. However, Min Ha Ri seems dangerous as soon as you look at her. I think there’s a law of preservation. There might be a 7:3 or 6:4 ratio, but there’s no 5:5 ratio. There’s always one who likes the other more in a relationship. If I were to be with Min Ha Ri, I think it would be 7 for me and 3 for Ha Ri. If I were someone carefree who could do anything he wants like Kim Shin Hyuk, wouldn’t I have been more attracted to Kim Hye Jin because she’s naive, she’s fun, she’s a good match [?]. And she’s really cute. As he’s getting older, a man think more about how the other has the same values as his than about her looks. Even if I met now a woman who is very beautiful, who is comprehensive about everything and goes along with everything to match my taste, if our mindset is different, I feel like I’ll get tired of her real fast.

Like you said, the most important twist this drama is based on is Joon Hee showing up instead of Jung Eum in front of Seo Joon who is Jung Eum’s first love. If you were in this situation in real life, what would you choose between love and friendship?

Joon Hee The answer I thought of right way was “of course, I would choose friendship”. However, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have some worries. I think it’s a very difficult dilemma. If it were me, I think I would draw the line before I really fall for this person. However, it’s something that it isn’t easy to talk about because reason and emotion are different. Min Ha Ri plans to draw the line and she thinks about their friendship first, but she ends up falling in love with Ji Sung Joon without even realizing it as situations she couldn’t imagine keep arising. While portraying Min Ha Ri, I always keep in mind her perspective on things and I feel that emotions don’t change as easily as words.
Jung Eum And the fact that Kim Hye Jin is the one who created such situation makes it very sad. That’s why it’s a point I wanted it to be made across in the early part of the drama. The drama itself is a strong comedy, so I think it’s a bit sad that this aspect can’t work like I thought it is in my mind. Anyway, I expressed it moderately without going overboard.

Joon Hee, you transformed into a hotelier. What changes did you go through to turn into a hotelier?

Joon Hee I cut my hair. To be honest, I didn’t cut it because of the drama, but I think it’s a good look for Min Ha Ri.I It’s a hairstyle I wanted to try after I saw Carey Mullighan in “Great Gatsby”. It can be awkward to change hairstyle suddenly while filming a project, so I tried it while I was on a break. Getting into a character is a smooth process when you have many similarities with the character. Min Ha Ri has fancy looks and taste, but she has a tomboy style because she has a more masculine side than a feminine side. And it’s something that is really similiar to me. Of course, our love values are different. Min Ha Ri thinks love doesn’t exist, but I still believe in love.

This drama can be seen as the classic romcom with the Candy Girl and Prince Charming, but I don’t think it’s exactly like this because it’s not just a funny story to make people laugh and it’s not just a melo.

Seo Joon The writer is good at writing comedy, but there’s not one specific funny thing here. You can say Ji Sung Joon is a cliché character, but he isn’t completely cliché. I did think that I should have a specific way of speech or image because I wanted to portray the character well, but I thought it would have looked artificial and weird. That’s why I’m trying to build it by acting in a natural way. I think the fact that we don’t know either how the story will unfold makes our acting better. I think it will be even more interesting to wonder how the situations and conflict of these 4 people as we’re introduced to the emotions of Jung Eum-nuna who is leading the story.
Jung Eum That’s right. My character is realistic so, it will be nice to emphatize. When she was young, her family was rich and her hairstyle was a straight perm. Now she doesn’t because she needs to save money, even if her hair gets curly. Taken separetely, things like this are not funny. There’s a heavy feel to them. And I think I must really act without worrying because, no matter how much my character can be ruined, the child actors did a good job to make up for it by making everything pretty like a fairy tale.
Joon Hee It’s my first romcom, so I had many worries. However, I was at ease because Jung Eum-unnie is quite experienced and leads me well. When we shoot a scene together, and even if we didn’t prepare it minutiously, it’s awesome to make ad-libs. As time goes by, I find myself having fun standing out. I even surprise myself sometimes and wonder “did my personality also had this side?”
Siwon I think everyone finds unexecpected things through this drama. With a romcom, it’d difficult to show a new image unless there’s a sudden dramatic event. On the contrary, it’s something to hope through this drama. The characters’ spectrum will be widened. When I think about it, I think it can happen for my character and Jung Eum-nuna’s character. In Korea, you don’t really see characters like Tony Stark in “Iron Man” or Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Carribean” with a funny side but also a complete different side. I hope Kim Shin Hyuk and Kim Hye Jin will be a stepping-stone to take one step closer to this type of character.
Jung Eum The four characters are very good-looking and pretty. It’s a drama with good visual. Of course, me excluded. However, me being here makes the other 3 shine even more. Haha.

What do you want to show as an actor through this drama?

Joon Hee When I was a kid, I never thought that being tall and having a city girl look could be an advantage. I think I was buried under the thought “I must leave people a simpler and stronger impression”. Now instead of trying to change something about myself, I want to show my strengths through roles that will gradually change my image. I mean, so you can truly see the character and not me.
Seo Joon Acting isn’t something that turns out exactly like I want. Right now, I feel like it’s more about finding roles that I can match rather than trying to improve in one specific direction. If what I’m interested in is different from my thoughts, it naturally influences my acting. I think who I am will show as I’m filling little by little what I’m lacking in.
Siwon This applies for the stage too, but I want to become the best actor who breathes acting because I would work hard, regardless of how much experience I have. However, it doesn’t matter what you do, I think you can’t never meet your expectations when you try to be good at something. You must relax a little in order to reach a certain level of satisfaction. The fact that I’m even relaxed about my character thid time is the icing on the cake.
Jung Eum At the time of “High Kick Through the Roof”, the director told me that leaving aside if my acting is good or not, he often watched me found my acting was unusual and I thought to myself this was the way to go for me. I thought to myself I should work harder even when people call me a bubble [= her career won’t last] and that’s why, after a lot of practice, I can make myself cry which was something I couldn’t do in the past. I think acting is about always overcoming something until you die. If you don’t, you will keep on climbing a mental cliff. This time again, I want to show an acting that no one else but me can do.

Cosmopolitan

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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4 Comments

  1. What a fun read, thanks for this Sunny! I’m enjoying this show, and it’s so nice to be able to hear from the actors themselves, about how they feel about the show, their roles, their acting etc. 🙂

  2. reading this in 2016, and remember how I watched this in 2015 ;____;
    this was actually one of my fave drama in 2015, after kill me heal me.
    thank you for this article! its nice to see the cast getting along well ❤
    oh and..
    "I think you can’t never meet your expectations when you try to be good at something. You must relax a little in order to reach a certain level of satisfaction." indeed.

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