This is the first of a series of interviews Jo Hyun Jae gave to Korean reporters after he finished filming the SBS drama “49 Days” in May 2011.
2011.05.31 sakang at mydaily.co.kr
“49 Days” Jo Hyun Jae reversal – “life after death”?
With his exceptionally big eyes, Jo Hyun Jae (31) looks exactly like an innocent character from the comics. He looks gentle, but after two years of mandatory military service, he has become tougher. The just finished SBS drama “49 Days” marks his return to TV after a hiatus of three years. He plays Han Kang, a refreshing role that combines both sensitivity and warm emotions which is well received by viewers.
“’49 Days’ is my comeback work, and there were a lot of expectations, so I worked very hard. The character that I play is fastidious but full of love. ’49 Days’ is #1 in ratings and many viewers care about the character of Han Kang. This is the first step of my comeback.”
“49 Days” is about Shin Ji Hyun (Nam Gyu Ri) who falls into a coma and her soul enters the body of Song Yi Kyung (Lee Yo Won), to be revived only if three people who genuinely love her shed tears for her, just like a fairy tale. The drama is a tearjerker, and JHJ plays Han Kang who initially behaves like a jerk to Shin Ji Hyun to hide his love for her hidden in his heart for ten years but who later works quietly behind the scenes to save her.
“Han Kang is a pure and modest man who has nurtured his unrequited love for Shin Ji Hyun for ten years. He is fastidious and could be intense and angry; his love is sweet and something undefinable. I play Han Kang in the drama but that is not the real me. I am full of compassion and passion. I am generally almost never angry, but if I get mad, then I’m very mad.”
The biggest difference between JHJ and Han Kang is their concept of the “afterlife.” In “49 Days” Han Kang is the first to discover that the soul of Shin Ji Hyun is wandering the earth and wants to help her. It’s like in the movie “Love and Spirit” [Editor: ‘Ghost’?], the soul and the human cannot love which viewers find very sad and moving. JHJ does not believe that the afterlife exists.
“Christians believe in the afterlife. I just concentrate on acting my role and that’s it. The drama is not realistic – it is novel and imaginative which is why it is interesting.”
This drama is JHJ’s comeback project after an absence of three years, so he was feeling the burden, but fans gave him a lot of support. They sent food and supplies to the “49 Days” staff on set several times, and this gave JHJ a lot of strength.
“Fans brought us plenty to eat and drink more than ten times. So the staff all said they wanted to work with me next time, and also they should really buy me a meal. Fans’ support is so strong, and I am proud of them. I do not know much about computers, so I’ll just show my face on me2day.”
“Shooting in the final three weeks was so hectic that I could not get any sleep at all. I was so tired I could die. After the drama ended, I just wanted to be like a cow – ‘eating and sleeping only’ repeatedly. I’d like to travel and then settle back into my regular life (workout, etc.) so I can move on to my next work in good condition.”
“49 Days” is JHJ’s first step to future success. He has not decided whether to do a drama or movie next. “If the feeling comes, I’ll start work at once. Whether I appear attractive or not is not important, as long as it is a good work.” You could feel JHJ’s “true heart” from the way his eyes shone when he said this.
“I wish to thank everyone for giving “49 Days” so much love. I will work harder to repay my fans with a better work. I enjoyed working on “49 Days” with all the good actors and good director. I think I have “inbok” (Korean word meaning “a way with people,” get on well with people.) I just want to act well so I can give back to my fans and not just receive their love and support.”
Credit: Photo as labelled; English translation by wulijohyunjae. Thanks!