Article Title: Jo Hyun Jae said, “Mr. Yoo Jae Suk is such a good host in variety programs. He amazes me.”
[Star Tok Tok, Choi Jung Ah, Reporter] 2015-10-15 10:53:22
Jo Hyun Jae. When you hear this man’s name you would normally think about his innocent face, his friendly manner of speaking, and that he always looks neat and clean especially in suits which fit him well – these are the things that come to people’s mind. He looks like the type who lives a principled life, he also has the image of being a well-mannered gentleman. That is Jo Hyun Jae in a nutshell.
However, now we must prepare ourselves to see other versions of Jo Hyun Jae. In the SBS drama “Yongpal” which finished recently, he shed his old image and challenged himself to play a villain character. This was his first time as a villain since his debut.
In the drama, Jo Hyun Jae played the character Han Do Jun. He wanted to take the company away from its rightful owner so he disregarded his father’s will and then he forced his younger half-sister Yeo Jin (Kim Tae Hee) into a vegetative state. He succeeded in his acting transformation. He usually played a smooth and gentle character most of the time. However, this time around Jo Hyun Jae breathed life into the character of Han Do Jun whose evil greed raised goosebumps among viewers.
INTERVIEWER (INT): Please tell us your thoughts about your first villain role.
JO HYUN JAE (JHJ): I have been wanting to act as a villain for a long time now. I think any actor would want to play a villain role at least once in their acting career. I feel so honored to encounter such a cool character like Han Do Jun and also being in an awesome drama like this. As an actor, I am grateful to run into such a special character. My character didn’t have many scenes in the drama, but the character still made a strong impact in the story. “Yongpal” is a very meaningful drama for me.
INT: Acting as a villain with such an innocent face made you shine even more.
JHJ: It was a very pleasant moment as an actor. I was so happy to hear people say that I was bad or cruel or even dirty when I played this role. I felt good the more I heard anything remotely negative regarding the character I played. In my 20s I usually got casting offers as an upright young man or the prince types. Those were the times when I couldn’t play rebellious characters even if I wanted to. Through “Yongpal” I was able to quench a little bit of my thirst.
INT: The plot of the story gets worse and worse as the drama progressed. What do you think about the criticism saying that the story seems unlikely and even absurd?
JHJ: It would look like everything is so rushed since it’s originally supposed to be a 16-episode drama and everything had to be revealed within that time frame. However, if you look at the whole picture it’s a very good drama. Because of Korea’s drama filming style where most dramas are not pre-produced, the screenwriter is under tremendous pressure while she works. So many people put all their hearts into acting and into coming out with a drama with this kind of quality. After all is said and done, I still feel a huge amount of gratitude to be given the opportunity to be part of this drama.
INT: The mid 30s version of Jo Hyun Jae looks more at ease than his 20s.
JHJ: Maybe it’s because there were many parts of me that looked innocent back in my 20s. Also, my personality is more sunny and outgoing now than before. When I was in my 20s I was extremely reserved. I rarely talked back then. Even during interviews I would usually just give short answers (smiles). I am still not so chatty even now but I think I am a lot better at expressing myself now than before. I try really hard to express myself a bit more nowadays.
INT: Do you have any other roles that you would like to try?
JHJ: I would like to try action and I would even want to go for something that’s a bit brighter with a character that’s witty. Someday, one of the things that I would love to try is playing a good-for-nothing thug. I really want to continue working on breaking my innocent boy image. These days, I am more attracted to characters with a bit of a personality. I think I feel this way because I have played so many romantic guy roles in the past. However, if the public says, “Jo Hyun Jae should be in a melodrama/romantic drama” then I would still do it. (Smiles)
INT: Are you interested in being in a variety show?
JHJ: I think that would be tough since I am lacking in the ability to entertain people. I think I’m better off as an actor where I just do whatever is written in the script. When you watch people like Mr. Yoo Jae Suk and Mr. HaHa, don’t you think they have this ability to host a show and be witty while be entertaining at the same time? They are amazing at what they do. I think it would be proper to let those guys be in variety shows instead of a guy like myself.
INT: It’s time for you to get married. Do you have any plans?
JHJ: I am not dating anyone at the moment but I would like to get married before I turn 40. As for my ideal woman, I focus more on a woman’s personality rather than her looks. I just want to find someone who has a kind heart.
Credit: Photo as labelled. English translation by Jenny Park. Thanks! Editing by Prissymom. English translation is not verbatim.