Article title: Jo Hyun Jae said, “This is my first time acting as a villain in my whole life….I still feel the thirst towards this character…”
Interview with Jo Hyun Jae who was in the drama “Yongpal” and played the character Han Do Jun.
[Star News Lee Jung Ho Reporter] 2015.10.06. 7:30am
Actor Jo Hyun Jae (35) always suffered from being thirsty about acting. When you mention Jo Hyun Jae’s name, automatically, his character from 13 years ago, Andrea from “Love Letter”, comes to mind. Because he has a nice and innocent-looking face, he is far from playing a villain most of the time. He himself said that, “My actual personality is pretty reserved and I’m rather quiet usually.” He always played a nice guy and even the public seem to be accustomed to this kind of image as well.
Despite all this, Jo Hyun finally made an attempt to challenge himself by playing a villain for the first time. He played the role of Han Do Jun in the SBS Wednesday-Thursday drama “Yongpal” that ended recently. Han Do Jun is a character who suffers from illegitimate child syndrome and who commits all kinds of evil deeds. He has a face of a nice person but he has a murderous spirit. To achieve his goal he habitually commits evil deeds and with this it is really hard to find the usual Jo Hyun Jae who is always surrounded with a gentle aura.
Jo Hyun Jae reveals, “In the drama “King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang” (KDSBH) there is a scene where my character finds out that his birth father is dead and completely loses it after hearing about it. Writer Hwang Jin Young saw my acting in this scene and he recommended something to me by saying, “Why don’t you try to play a villain next time?”
Jo Hyun Jae continues, “Actually, I have always wanted to play a villainous character ever since I was young. However, because of my image that kind of role never came to me. Even if I did make a request for it they never let that happen.”
It’s only natural for him to feel the burden for someone who is acting as a villain for the first time in his career, but he rather seemed to enjoy the feelings of burden. He thought of all the bad things that happened to him: including all the unfair things that happened to him personally, all the bad people with their facial expressions, their voices, and even their lively looking eyes were some of the things he thought about.
By doing all these he was able to gradually become Han Do Jun. Towards the beginning of the drama the explanation of the character Han Do Jun was lacking. But in the scene where he throws a cup at his subordinate, Jo Hyun Jae realized that Han Do Jun isn’t such a normal character and he was able to express himself nicely. However, since this is his first villain role there were all kinds of concern by the people around him.
Jo Hyun Jae says, “I didn’t have any feelings of burden but the people around me seemed worried because they weren’t quite sure if a villainous role was suitable for me. Naturally, as an actor you should be able to portray various types of characters. I told myself to not be afraid of the challenge and just trust in myself by believing in my own methods of doing things. In a way, there weren’t enough details about Han Do Jun’s character and at the beginning of the drama the amount of the scenes for the character was lacking and because of this I was rather worried.”
Through the whole interview Jo Hyun Jae had a bright look on his face while his voice was filled with confidence. “I think that most actors/actresses aren’t completely 100% satisfied with their acting.” He even showed humility by saying such things. “I felt so good when people around me complimented my acting by saying that I looked evil in the drama.” It was easy to see that he was enjoying his present situation that’s surrounding him.
Jo Hyun Jae said, “Up until now all the characters I played are precious to me and I feel grateful for that.” He even revealed his thoughts about his image as well. “Even now, if I do happen to get a character that’s supposed to be an upright young man I would still go for it.” He is an actor who has a large appetite for acting than anyone else.
“All the characters I’ve been playing are precious to me and I feel thankful for this. I think that as an actor, I should always challenge myself to do new things. Since this time around I played a villain so I wouldn’t mind playing a clumsy and playful character that’s witty next time around. I think even this type of character would suit me well. I even have the confidence to ruin myself in the process and make a fool out of myself. As long as I can avoid doing anything with explicit nudity, I am pretty much okay with anything and everything.”
As an actor he didn’t waver in what he believed in. In “Yongpal” the story was getting worse and worse. Because of this some people said that this drama is makjang or too extreme. To this Jo Hyun Jae made a comment, “I believe that an actor is almost like a soldier holding a gun. I think this all depends on the actor but I am the type that usually follow what the writers and directors tell me to do. Even if it can be an over-the-top kind of scenario, I am willing to do anything if the viewers like that sort of thing.” He admitted to how he felt about all this.
He is already in his mid-30s. He is at a point in his career as an actor where the right decision-making is crucial. At a time like this, his first villain role came along which allowed him to receive a lot of praises from the audience. This is why this drama is so special to him. Jo Hyun said that he is very thankful that a character like Han Do Jun came to him at the right time.
“Previously, I always played a character with an upright and innocent image but because of Han Do Jun I was able to get out of that a little bit. I am very thankful to have met Han Do Jun at a time like this. I feel like I am freshly starting my acting career all over again.”
He even mentioned about his 20s that went away so fast like a bullet. “In my 20s I just did nothing but work without resting. I think I was lacking in the knowledge of acting itself and I also lacked passion in this area. Also, as I was starting my acting career my father was ill and he stayed at the sanitarium for a long while. It was really difficult for me because I had to play the role of head of the household as well. I think my real passion for acting began once I got discharged from the military. I want to go back but keep the right attitude that I have now.”
Even though actors live by their image but once the image becomes solid then this can rather limit the roles that the actors can play, this can be coming back as poison to them. The image that has become poisonous can be rather hard to flip over. However, Jo Hyun Jae was able to win victoriously in one shot. “The viewer rating is good too, but I feel like it’s more worth it for my character to be loved by the audience.” Jo Hyun Jae is an actor who has a lot of passion for being able to play different characters. We are already looking forward to what kind of various characters Jo Hyun Jae will present to the public in the future.
Credit: Photos as labelled. English translation by Jenny Park. Thanks! Editing by Prissymom. English translation not verbatim.