[September 2016 – Elle] Park So Dam – Interview


The drama “Beautiful Mind” is over. How do you feel? Don’t you feel sad about some aspects such as low ratings, and the fact it got shortened? I learned a lot. I also listened more the outside reactions. Everybody must have felt some regrets. However, there was no more heartwarming filming set than this one. It was nice to get such a good script that allowed me to work with so many great people that I was very happy and enthusiastic while working with them. When we looked back, we all got emotional. We try to comfort and cheer each other by saying “it’s okay because we really worked hard together”. It also feels like the Gye Jin Sung I portrayed would have a life a little bit more beautiful [t/n: she uses the English word] than before.

And then “Cinderella and the Four Knigths” started right after that. I can’t picture you because Cinderella is a character different from the mysterious or dark character you’ve portrayed so far in movies. Is there something different from the other Cinderella shows? In movies, I’ve always played characters going through dark and difficult situations, I even portrayed a demon which means I wasn’t playing a human being (laughs). I actually wanted to give a proper try to a realistic character. When I first came across this character called Eun Ha Won, I really thought that I wanted to do a good job at portraying her. The usual “meeting the Prince changing her life around” isn’t all there is to this drama. What’s intriguing is who this girl is, how she can change these spoiled brats, how one person can make someone else change. There’s this line at some point “you say you’re the Lotto girl? Who do you think you are?”. A character being unusual like this makes it fun and has a reversal charm.

[t/n: I didn’t watch the drama, so the dialogue might be off]

Anyway, it’s about the four knights liking you, right? No. You’ll feel a different vibe when you watch it. It’s not about her finding love after going through some tough situations. It’s to the point to even wonder why the title is “Cinderella and the four Knigts”. Since the beginning, it’s not about the four knights liking me. If it had been, the director might have not given me the role (laughs).

Is there a character you like among the trendy dramas with a Cinderella-like character? I liked Sam Soonie in the drama “My Lovely Sam Soon”. She was really really adorable. It’s not about the ugly women being poor and experiencing hardships. I think you may look ugly to someone and still look lovely to someone else. It’s like how I can’t be loved by everyone and I can’t love everyone. I felt that Sam Soonie was very charismatic when she knowingly spoke her mind to men. I think she was able to be loved because she was like that. She’s a woman who is sincere in every moment.

Choosing this role in “Cinderella and the four knights”, did you do it because you thought an actress needs a trendy drama on her resumé? Yes, I did think it was necessary at some point. I want to become an actress giving off a human vibe. It’s not about being an actress and people still feel some distance. I hope that people feel that the character is real when they watch my acting. However, the characters I played in movies probably made them feel very far away from me (laughs). For movie characters or play characters, people must come and watch me for two hours, but dramas make it easier to grab directly people’s attention at home. I wanted to give this “girl-next-door” vibe. An unfamiliar character makes it probably hard to secure a channel, though (laughs). I read “Cinderella and the four knights” and the character put me in a good mood. It’s a character that always keeps moving forward no matter what, it’s a character with hope. I wanted to convey this kind of energy to the viewers.

You were the lead girl in two dramas after the movie “The Priests”. It all happened in less than a year. You probably needed some time to find your inner balance. Did you feel some doubts or certainty? I just did what I did because acting was fun. When I did “The Priests”, I felt that I should have a sense of responsibility as an actress. It’s a job that makes you be loved by many people and enjoy privileges. I had forgotten that I should give back as much as I received. When I thought acting wasn’t something I could do only for my own satisfaction, I was kind of confused and went through a hard time. I wondered “then who am I? Is this job about doing something for others? Must I show something to others?”. I thought I would always convey my feelings if I acted with sincerity, but I figured out that there are times when my sincerity can’t make things happen and I also learned that I should worry about the way I deliver my feelings. It was even scarier because I never took a break.

What’s the reason for you to keep working without taking a break? Although I feel I needed some vacation, I’m scared that there would be some emptiness or anxiety if I take some time off. When I saw other people my age going to Hawaii and staying there all by themselves, I was jealous of their courage and I thought they were so cool. I was disappointed at myself because I was 26 years-old and didn’t feel this kind of courage. “Will I be like this some day? Will I?”. I didn’t have the confidence. I truly found (Ryu) Hye Young charismatic as I read her interviews once she came back from travelling after she finished filming. She talked about how she had to empty her heart in order to fill it again. I haven’t been able to empty my heart so far, I just kept filling it. I’m scared to empty it now. I definitely want to travel some day, no, before my 20’s are over.

Before that, you will finish portraying Alice in the play “Closer” that starts on September 6th, right? It’s a role Nathalie Portman played in the movie version. Did you prepare in a specific way for this play? The actors got together and we read the original version together from the beginning to the end. We tried to express with honesty the story the writer really wanted to tell about human nature. Once we sorted this out, we read it again yesterday and we are currently rehearsing with a new mindset. Expressing the emotions of this honest woman in front of an audience is overwhelming. When I first read the script, I wondered sometimes how these words will come out of my mouth. After being in love and clinging onto someone, she says “I don’t love you anymore. I can’t lie to you anymore and I can’t be honest, so it seems there’s no pure love between us” because this character tells her “don’t lie”. This part was truly interesting. It’s a sincere woman because she believes in love and has her own life philosophy, despite her gloomy energy.

This is your understanding, so what do you think “Closer” says about human nature? Human despair. That’s why all characters are sad. Once I found out their stories, I found them so heartbreaking. You might get a bittersweet awkward feeling once you watch the play.

You’d probably be happy with whoever would come see this play, right? If you were to send an invitation to one specific person? Kim Hye Soo-sunbaenim! She’s someone I really like and admire/respect. I met her by coincidence at the Baeksang Awards ceremony after washing my hands in the restroom. I confessed to her and said I was a big a fan of her. She said “I’m watching you” [t/n: in a positive way as in I pay attention and follow your work] and this really touched me. If by any chance she would come to see me, it would be a great honor. I definitely want to work with her one day. I felt it again while watching her movie “Goodbye Single”. I felt her entire spectrum from her most natural and human image to her most perfect charismatic actress image. It will be hard, but I want to become like that.

What if we meet one year from now for another interview. Which question would you like to be asked? “Do you enjoy what you do?”. I feel that to keep running without taking a break is a bit tiring. While choosing “Closer”, my energy went back up, but I’m a bit scared. Regardless if I’m on a break or if I’m working, I hope I will be enjoying what I do, so I think it would be nice if you ask me one year from now if I enjoyed it. I will either answer with enthusiasm or cry. It will probably be one of these two (laughs).

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


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