This article has basically the same contents as the ones I already posted. However, the concept of “side script/side scripting” (Hangul:쪽대본 / Romaja: jjogdaebonis) is explained in this article so I decided to ask Jenny to translate this article for us to give us a deeper understanding of Jo Hyun Jae‘s working environment.
Thanks again to Jenny Park for the English translation. Jenny has even done research in relation to JHJ’s interviews because some of the concepts discussed and metaphors used in these interviews are unfamiliar to her. I really owe her big time for all the time and effort she has been putting in for this endeavor. So, thank you a million times, Jenny!
Article title: Jo Hyun Jae’s specialty is playing a nice guy and the reason why he challenged himself for a villain role.
[Creative EDAILY Sin Sang Min, reporter] 2015.10.07. 07:02
The actor Jo Hyun Jae has always come across to his viewers as a guy with a nice image. However, in “Yongpal” he presented to his audience the most terrible villain compared to anybody else. He was able to be a perfect villain to the point where it made a strong impact that would be stuck in your mind despite the fact that this is his first challenge to play the bad guy since his acting debut.
In “Yongpal” (Directed by Oh Jin Seok and written by Jang Hyuk Rin) Jo Hyun Jae is Han Do Jun, Chairman of the Hanshin Group and half-brother of Han Yeo Jin (Kim Tae Hee).
Jo Hyun Jae heard a lot of concern mixed with advice from people around him regarding his first challenge for a villain role. Their main worry is that playing a villain might not be suitable for him because Jo Hyun Jae has always played a young man with a kind image.
Jo Hyun Jae himself had always had a strong desire to play a villain since his 20s. However, he said, “Because of my outer appearance I didn’t get villain roles.” He complained a little bit regarding this. His desire to do villain roles increased over time since they didn’t allow him to do such a thing before.
The person who took notice of his acting instinct as a villain was Writer Hwang Jin Young, the scriptwriter of the drama“King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang” (KDSBH, MBC, 2013-2014). Jo Hyun Jae recalled the situation at the time when making KDSBH.
“In the drama, my real father was dead and there was a part where I totally lose it. In that particular scene there is a moment where my character shows a slight bit of evil,” he said. Jo Hyun Jae said that at the time Writer Hwang Jin Young took notice when the writer saw him act and made a recommendation to him by saying, “Why don’t you try playing villains.”
Since Jo Hyun Jae had such a strong desire for a villain role, his first challenge as a villain since his debut wasn’t burdensome at all. Despite the worries of the people around him he said, “An actor should have a wide acting range so he can play different characters.” He also said that he just focused on expressing the character that is Han Do Jun the way he believes and with his own convictions.
Jo Hyun Jae said that he is so grateful to meet a character like Han Do Jun in his mid-30s. He said, “Playing Han Do Jun at this point in my career, don’t you think I will be able to shed off the upright and innocent image from my previous days?” This is the time where he was able to challenge himself to play the villain but at the same time, he wants to use this as a starting point for other things.
As Jo Hyun Jae was acting as Han Do Jun, he tried to show the character’s evil that he has been suppressing instead of revealing his wickedness through his exterior. He said, “I thought about the unfair things that happened in my life and I also thought about the voices of the people that I had a bad relationship with.” He said that by using this method he was able to immerse himself into Han Do Jun. He has a reserved and quiet personality but to be able to change into the character Han Do Jun he had to do a lot of research.
For the character Han Do Jun, Jo Hyun Jae put all his effort on the justification for having such a twisted desire more than anything. In the drama, Han Do Jun is a character who was not able receive any love from those around him. On top of that, the person whom Han Do Jun loves despises him. The only ones who remain near Han Do Jun are the ones who are just tempted by his wealth.
“Han Do Jun suffers from inferiority complex which resulted from feeling a lack in his life. I personally think that he commits even more evil deeds the more he doesn’t get any love from those around him. I tried to focus on those points. It’s a good environment for the people around him to do bad things since Do Jun was always left out when it comes to his family. On the other hand, Yeo Jin (Kim Tae Hee) is pretty much a villain too but there is a difference in this because Tae Hyun (Ju Won) comes into the scene and starts up the engine to make her change.”
Jo Hyun Jae was able to become Do Jun in a thorough way and whenever the people around him say that he looks so evil or even say that he is so scary, this makes him feel very good. “When people say that I am mean, this made me feel good because they are in effect complimenting me on my acting.” He mentioned the good feelings that he experienced as he acted as a villain for the first time.
Jo Hyun Jae especially felt attached to the scene where Do Jun’s personality become exposed. There is a scene where he throws a cup at his personal secretary (Choi Byung Mo). Even though the scene was short he tried to come up with ways to express his personality through it. “I tried my best to come off abnormal with my facial expressions and even the way I delivered my lines.”
In addition, he said that the most memorable thing about this whole ordeal was when he started the romantic or even melodramatic aspect of the drama with his wife Chae Young (Chae Jung An) in episode 14 and also episode 16 when he dies. Even as he said that, Jo Hyun Jae also said that he liked each and every scene. He became attached to it because all those great scenes were mixed in together.
On the other hand he said that he thinks that he could have done better. In the end, not being 100% satisfied starts with his attachment to the character Han Do Jun. Now that the drama has ended, there is a clearness about Han Do Jun’s character. However, at the beginning Jo Hyun Jae felt anxious about the character that he was going to portray. Not because this was his first challenge to play a villain, but because he couldn’t see the big picture of his character and he had to work on his role with just the little material that was given to him prior to filming.
Jo Hyun Jae said, “I felt that whenever I opened the script, there was a lack of explanation regarding the character because there wasn’t much to go by as far as the character of Do Jun goes.” He expressed concerns because he wasn’t able to know the whole story behind the character and he had to work on it based only on the little material given him. However, as the drama progressed this kind of worry just disappeared.
“I wasn’t able to express the reason for Do Jun committing those evil acts at the beginning of the drama. That is why there was this sort of burden where I had to give a strong impact just by a few short scenes alone. However, there was more explanations about the Do Jun character in episodes 7 and 8. I felt relieved because I thought that the problem was solved as to the question I had about the character and I was able to get a better grasp of the character.”
Jo Hyun Jae’s anxieties stemmed from the Korean drama production system called the “side scripting”
(Jenny’s Note: “Side scripting” [Hangul: ‘쪽대본’ / Romaja:‘jjogdaebon’] is the practice of using a “side script”, which is the script for a particular scene that the cast receives on the day they will film that particular scene. This practice is more common with drama production and less with movie production. The side script is used when the writer is short on time so he or she rushes to write only the part they will be filming that day.)
This is an anxiety on a fundamental level among actors because they are not able to get a complete version of the script, which should be one of their main sources of information regarding their character so they could have a firm grasp of their role.
However, Jo Hyun Jae had a differing opinion regarding this matter. He said (using a song analogy), “Even if the song is a bit strange, this really can have a different outcome depending on who’s singing and performing it.”
He believes that it would be easier and more convenient for the actors to portray their roles if there are more explanation regarding the characters that they are portraying. However, he also believes that it is the role of the actors to be able to fill the void of the roles that they are playing.
This is the reason why he feels proud of Korean dramas. However, he explains further, “There is nothing I can do about this regretful feeling I have. However, I do think that the level of production of Korean dramas is way up there compared to other nations because you have to consider that everything is made in such a short amount of time.”
In conclusion, he said,“I always wanted to make an attempt to do this kind of thing (take on a villain role.)” Ever since the end of “Love Letter” he always wanted to play the role of a rebellious one. However, there was a situation in the past where even before the filming began the whole script was completely fixed up and he had to go back to his old existing image again. He emphasized the fact that he wanted to escape from his good guy image. He said, “As an actor I want to be able to rotate and play various types of characters.”
“Since I was able to play a villain this time around so next time I would love to play a character that’s a bit clumsy or even witty. I want to try to play a character that I have never done before, and make it suitable for me. I am not afraid to even become a wreck in the process. I would do anything as long as it doesn’t involve any kind of explicit nudity.”
Editor: In a previous article (click on this link) I mistakenly translated “side script” to “incomplete script”. I have revised the previous article to correct my mistake.
Credit: Photo as labelled. English translation by Jenny Park. Thanks! Editing by Prissymom.