Article Title: Jo Hyun Jae has a good guy image complex… “I waited for a villain role.”
[Herald Pop= Kim Nae Hee Reporter] 2015.10.13.13:55
Everybody thought he would be a nice guy forever but nobody realized how evil he could be. He was probably able to see the light since he has racked up so many different kinds of experiences through various projects he was in. Now, instead of just being able to love in innocent and pure ways, Jo Hyun Jae is now able to pull off negative emotions like a character that is full of ambition, somewhat of a lunatic and even carry around inferiority complex due to lack of certain things in this particular type of story.
Jo Hyun Jae debuted back in 2000 for a sports drink commercial and now he is a veteran since he debuted 16 years ago as of this year. Jo Hyun Jae has clear features with beautiful round eyes. For a while he usually played characters with a gentle image. He was in MBC’s “Love Letter”, SBS’s “Ballad of Seodong”, and MBC’s “King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang”, he was in such projects that were weighty and important and he played leading roles as well as making his face known to the public.
Especially, Jo Hyun Jae has a unique image as a nice young man and he always loved in more or less an innocent and pure kind of way. However, he was in the SBS Wednesday-Thursday drama “Yongpal” (Script by Jang Hyuk Rin and Directed by Oh Jin Seok) that just ended recently. In this drama he played the character Han Do Jun and he challenged himself to play his first villain role since his debut. He has a good-looking face but his acting was completely the reversal of the way he looks and he left a strong impression with the public. Jo Hyun Jae was in an interview currently held by Popherald and he confessed that he’s been waiting for a villain role for a while now.
“I thought that there would never be a connection between me and the villain role. I’ve been wanting to play a role that was a bit on the rebellious side but because of my clean-cut image, it didn’t come by so easily. But after all that, a character like Han Do Jun finally came to me. At the beginning there wasn’t a large quantity regarding the character but I tried to look at it in a positive way. Since this is a new kind of character that I’m making an attempt to play, so I thought that I had to do this no matter what the situation was. I really like the composition that’s kinda like a cinema. I think I was more happy about the fact that I was able to encounter a fresh new character instead of worrying about the fact that this is my first challenge for playing a villain.”
In “Yongpal” Han Do Jun wanted to grab ownership of Hanshin Group from his half-sister Han Yeo Jin (Kim Tae Hee) who was born from a different mother. To do this he forced her into a vegetative state. In addition, he kills people who gets in his way. He is such an evil character who wouldn’t even hesitate to commit such evil actions. However, Jo Hyun Jae worked really hard to show Han Do Jun’s inner self as a troubled human instead of just a villain.
“Han Do Jun might be vicious and wicked but he is not the typical kind of villain. When he was a young boy he lived for his younger sister Yeo Jin, he even got in trouble for her. More than anyone else he cared for her. However, the people around him were just chasing after money and reputation as he is growing up. Situationally, he is a character who is lacking in many ways and is also filled with inferiority complex. I believe that Han Do Jun couldn’t overcome the pressure to win in this competition so this character falls into despair.”
There were many different opinions regarding Han Do Jun’s character. “Han Do Jun really needs to die”, “he is so scary”, and “he gives me goosebumps” were just some of the comments. Jo Hyun Jae said that he actually enjoyed hearing these negative comments than what people used to say about him in the past which was “he looked nice and pure”. He honestly confessed his thoughts regarding Han Do Jun’s final scenes while he made the viewers have a feeling of regret.
“I did feel regretful about the fact that I couldn’t be in the drama till the very last episode but I still have more feelings of satisfaction than anything. It’s because I was able to work with a brilliant director and writer. I personally think that it could have been better if there were 4 extra episodes than 2 extra ones. There was so much going on story-wise, so it wasn’t easy getting it all packed in such a short amount of time. I even heard that it could’ve been better to just start out as a 20-episode drama.”
“Yongpal’s” success opened up a second acting life for Jo Hyun Jae. This is because Jo Hyun Jae proved to the people that aside from good guy roles, he could also pull off a character that has individual color. Jo Hyun Jae said that he is still thirsty for something new, he expressed his desire towards constantly wanting new things and he doesn’t care what kind of genre it is.
“Next time, I want to be in a genre film or drama or do something completely the opposite which is like a bright romantic comedy of some sort. I really love the action genre. Even during the filming of “Ballad of Seodong” I did all my action scenes without any stunt doubles. This is why it would be nice if I can be in something action genre related. Generally speaking, I hear people tell me a lot that I am suitable to play a nice guy role more than anything. I already got to play a villain at least once but I would like to play more villain roles that have individual color in the future.”
He said that he is thankful to each and every person showing interest in him these days. Jo Hyun Jae is fully enjoying his success in giving life to the first villain role he played in his life. Bit by bit he is broadening his acting spectrum. In conclusion of the interview he was asked what it means to be a career or professional actor.
“I am very thankful to have such a job as an actor to the point where I ask myself what I would have done with my life if I didn’t become an actor. Certainly, I have the desire to be active in a fully vital way but I really feel grateful for the fact that I am able to actually act. I tried many different things but I don’t think I have experienced anything where I could be immersed into doing something while feeling blissful. Once you reach my age people would ask if I have a business on the side from time to time. However, I just want to live as an actor. I never had thoughts about other things. Also, in the years to come, my goal is to just walk the path of an actor and journey through it.”
Credit: Photo as labelled. English translation by Jenny Park. Thanks! Editing by Prissymom. English translation is not verbatim.