Again, the contents of this article are basically the same as previous articles in this series. However, I decided to ask Jenny to still translate it because in this article Jo Hyun Jae reveals how he improvised to make Han Do Jun more impactful.
Article Title: Jo Hyun said, “Words like ‘you are so mean’ are a compliment to me….I broke my fixed image.”
[Asia Today, Park Suel Gi, Reporter] 2015.10.07
“I never knew that I would love to hear such words like ‘you are so scary’ and ‘you are so cruel’. You know, this actually gives me strength to go on. I think that through this particular work I was able to quench my thirst from being locked into just one kind of image.”
Recently, an interview was held at a cafe in Gangnam, Seoul relating to the SBS Wednesday-Thursday drama “Yongpal” that just finished. During the interview, Jo Hyun Jae seemed like he is still drunk from the character that he played in the drama. He was very passionate and meant business whenever he talked about his character. It’s easy to sense how attached Jo Hyun Jae is to this project when you see and hear him talking about it.
“I have always wanted to play a villain. However, I feel so honored to meet a role like this at this point in time. As an actor, I am so grateful to encounter such a character. I didn’t have many scenes, but I was able to make a strong impact. This is a very meaningful project that came into my life.”
In the drama Jo Hyun Jae showed excellent performance as the chairman of Hanshin Group and the half-brother of Kim Tae Hee who played his younger sister. For the first time since his debut 15 years ago Jo Hyun Jae played his first villain role and showed a great performance to the public and carved a new image for himself. But in order for him to show a new image of himself he worked really hard using his own special methods.
“With this project, I think I worked 10 times harder than in the past. I read the script at home by myself 100 times per session. I even shouted by using different facial expressions and tone of voice. I researched for this role using so many different kinds of methods. Han Do Jun is the the type of character that made me want to constantly do research. I feel so thankful to the Production Director (PD) for this in a special way because he was able to bring out a different side of me.”
Jo Hyun Jae showed his gratitude to PD Park all throughout the interview session. (Editor: I think PD Park is the director in charge of B Team.) There is a reason behind this. Han Do Jun would have had no presence whatsoever, however, thanks to PD Park, Han Do Jun was able to make an impact in a flavorful way and this made the actor stand out. Also, this opened many different possibilities. Through this, Jo Hyun Jae was allowed to practically run with his character in his own way.
“The truth is, most of the stuff that I showed in my performance wasn’t even written in the script. I improvised as I went along. Especially the part where I died, I made that up on the fly at the filming site. I was supposed to be dead already by the time Ms. Chae Jung An (Do Jun’s wife) comes into the scene. But I wanted to make my emotions be more dramatic so I improvised by changing Han Do Jun’s actions – instead of just lying dead in Chae Jung An’s arms, I sobbed as she held me in her arms.”
(Comment: Wow, that was Hyunjae’s idea? I like the part where tears are running down his eyes as he lay dying. I also loved the expression in his eyes as he looked at his wife! Wahhhh, knowing that that was Hyunjae’s idea would make me even more emotional the next time I watch that scene!)
Jo Hyun Jae made the scene more abundant by adding more seasoning to the existing script. Maybe, if this was in his 20s he wouldn’t have made the decision to do such a thing so easily. He perfected his character as Han Do Jun with his 15 years of acting experience.
“I think it’s such a blessing to encounter such a character when I am already in my mid-30s. Maybe, if this happened to me while I was still in my 20s then I probably wouldn’t have been able to pull it off like I did now. I think it’s a good thing that I broke the mold of my previous goody goody and pure boy image. Because of the drama “Yongpal” I am able to feel this kind of overwhelming joy.”
Jo Hyun Jae is an open-minded actor, although he may not look like it on the surface. He isn’t biased towards a certain role, he is more interested in how to make his character more lively and interesting.
“I am prepared to do everything. You know, there aren’t many actors that would do their jobs the same way. It is very important to me how I could make it using my own style. I really want to try all the things that I have never done before. If there’s not enough material for me to work on, then I will make it happen since all I have to do is bring out the things that are hidden deep inside me. I will just do my best whatever material is given me.” (Smiles)
My thoughts: I know I have said these words before, but I will say them once again. On paper, Han Do Jun is a so-so villain. Han Do Jun’s saving grace is that he is portrayed by Jo Hyun Jae. It was Jo Hyun Jae who made Han Do Jun a noticeable, remarkable and impactful character. Jo Hyun Jae’s revelations in this article just proved my point.
Credit: Photos as labelled. English translation by Jenny Park. Thanks! Editing by Prissymom. English translation not verbatim.