This is the second of a series of interviews Jo Hyun Jae gave to Korean reporters after he finished filming the SBS drama “49 Days” in May 2011.
I want to try acting in an intense melodrama*
In his comeback drama after his discharge, handsome actor Jo Hyun Jae (31) plays the role of Han Kang in the SBS drama “49 Days”, a character who is fastidious but at the same time has deep feelings which captured a lot of female hearts. After successfully completing this project, JHJ was recently interviewed by Sports Seoul and revealed how he felt about acting in a melo* [drama]. He said:
“I meant to use a brand new work as my comeback project. Because death, possession. etc. are very special subjects and I was attracted by such fantasy melo*, so I decided to act in this drama.”
“Viewers seem to expect a lot from melo*, but in “49 Days” there isn’t much, so I feel a little bad. In my next project I must find something that allows for melo* acting.”
In the last episode, the lines that Han Kang says: “Everybody knows they will die sooner or later, but they still live like they won’t. But because of your 49 days, I will live my life like these 49 days.” — these words resonate in JHJ’s heart. He said calmly:
“I don’t want to just let the days go by; I want to live meaningfully. I’m thinking I must live seriously and purposefully.”
“Since my discharge from the military, my attitude has changed. I have changed to be very happy in acting; it’s like acting is my destiny. I pour my heart and soul into acting.”
Acting in “49 Days” to JHJ is like a “war” with sleep. He said:
“About a month before the ending, we were basically shooting day and night. In the last three weeks especially, we practically had no sleep at all. All we could do was catch a few winks (about 20 minutes) in the car, which was why in subsequent shooting we kept yawning and nodding.”
“In the military there were situations when we could not sleep at all.” JHJ served as an army dog soldier and was responsible for training two army dogs.
JHJ smilingly said: “Although I trained the dogs together with other soldiers, there were no shifts. Every morning at 2 or 3 a.m. I had to patrol with the dogs around the ammunition depot for several hours. That’s why I was always sleep-deprived, but at the same time my strength improved, and unconsciously my physique also improved.”
JHJ’s assistant who came with him to the interview said: “When a Private 2nd Class feeds the dogs, he must first salute, otherwise the army dogs will not eat.”
JHJ said jokingly: “I don’t know whether it was like this 6 – 7 years ago, but we’re not like that. I have always liked dogs, which was why I chose to be an army dog soldier. I hope that even dogs which do not behave well can turn over a new leaf after I have trained them for two weeks.”
During filming of “49 Days”, JHJ gained a lot of fans between the ages of 10–20. How did he feel about that?
JHJ smilingly said: “I feel like an idol star late-starter.” In his 2003 MBC drama “Love Letter”, his role as Andrea the young priest still remains in the heart of many viewers now. How did he react to that? JHJ said: ” ‘Love Letter’ seems to be my signature work. I want to be in a drama like ‘Love Letter’ that will be remembered by everyone.”
In “49 Days” OST JHJ displayed his superior singing skills in his sweet and mellow voice, so what did he have to say about that? JHJ’s eyes lit up and he said: “I’m only good in acting. During this period after the end of the drama and before the start of any film, I’ll first take a break. And then I want to take on the musical. A musical seems very interesting and attractive.”
In the Baeksang Awards on May 26, how did it feel to present an award with Nam Gyu Ri and to walk the red carpet? JHJ said: “As a young actor, I felt a little embarrassed to present a Lifetime Achievement Award. The feeling is totally different from when I received an award [in 2006 for ‘Seo Dong Yo’.]”
JHJ wanted to communicate with his fans, but he did not want to be restricted to one particular site, so he did not have any mini homepage or accounts on twitter or facebook. [There’s me2day]
“’49 Days’ is now over. I haven’t had the chance to travel abroad leisurely in the last few years. I plan to take a solo trip soon.”
What about his thoughts on finding an ideal partner and marriage now that he is in his 30s? JHJ said: “I like girls who are open and bright and elegant; she has to be someone I can respect. No two people are alike, but if someone suitable comes along, I will get married anytime.”
Editor: * We’re not really sure what the Koreans mean by “melo”. This word keeps popping up in many news reports which use a lot of English words, or rather, phonetic translation of English words. “Melo” is of course “melodrama”, but their concept of melodrama seems to be a little different from the established meaning in the English language. Our understanding is that “melo” is something positive, something that requires good acting, something that challenges an actor’s abilities. Again, if we got this wrong, please correct us. We’re treading on thin ice. We’re always very careful where JHJ is concerned. We want to make sure we don’t misinterpret him or convey the wrong ideas to his fans.
Credit: Photo from gall.dcinside.com/hyunjae; http://blog.daum.net; http://news.nate.com; English translation by wulijohyunjae. Thanks!