(Editor’s Note: This interview is really long, so I’m breaking it up into smaller parts.)
Sometimes prejudice unexpectedly produces emotions. A good example is the actress Hwang Jung Eum (27), who played the role of the main character in the recent MBC medical drama ‘Golden Time’. She appeared as Kang Jae In, the granddaughter of President Lee of the hospital foundation and emergency room intern and calmed her fears that she “didn’t fit the part as a doctor” in the beginning of the broadcast. As the drama continued to air, the drama towed away the #1 slot in ratings through the enthusiastic performance as her whole soul was poured into the drama. As low as the expectations were, the deep impression that her ‘transformation’ left through her acting was sufficient. That is the reason why the compliments regarding her acting ability haven’t stopped.
This actually isn’t the first time she has had an experience like this. She received a lot of love through her saucy and bubbly character in the 2009 sitcom drama ‘High Kick Through The Roof’ and after that she clung to that existing image while not traveling the comfortable path. Instead she chose projects in other genres where she didn’t have anything to lean on and repeatedly transformed her acting. Because of that, even when the dramas ‘Giant’ and ‘Can You Heart My Heart?’ started, controversies about her acting ability arose, but the results were happy endings. In 2010, she became the heroine of the New Star Award at the SBS Acting Daesang for her role as Lee Miju in Giant, which surpassed 40% ratings. Last year, due to perfectly undertaking the role of Bong Woori in ‘Can You Hear My Heart?’, she won the Woman Excellence Award in the Miniseries category at MBC’s Drama Daesang.
But why did she firmly continue to take on new challenges while thinking that she was suffering? What was the reason for her, someone who debuted as a member of the girl group Sugar that had debuted in 2002, to stand on the road as a lowly actress? Perhaps her current love experience has helped her acting. Holding a lot of curiosity, I met her for dinner at a restaurant in Seoul’s Gangnam district on October 9th. My expectation that she was very tired due to filming in Busan for four months for Golden Time and then doing an overseas pictorial was shattered since her complexion was full of life. Her voice was lilting and her words were amiable. “It has been a long time since I sat face-to-face with a reporter and did an interview,” she said with a face that became restless as our conversation about her unraveled without any adjustments.
“It’s regrettable that there wasn’t a love line.”
▼ Did it seem like you matched the role of a doctor?
“In the beginning a lot of people said that it didn’t look like I fit the role of a doctor. I even wanted to ask the director why he cast me. Since casting is a major issue, something must have held great meaning to the director, so acting was fearful and scary. Naturally I had the assumption that I couldn’t do it, but due to not being able to know the results before confronting the issue, I first cast a spell upon myself. This time I’ll do well too. I always work with the belief that things will turns out well.”
▼ Did you ask the director for the reason why you were cast?
“I wanted to ask, but the words never left my mouth. Asking the director first seemed like a rash action so I never made the phone call. The director sent me a text one time that said ‘Aing, call me.’ I couldn’t refuse so I called him and the director asked ‘Why haven’t you asked about why I cast you?’ However, on that day and even after that, I still haven’t heard the response.”
▼ Don’t you think he purposefully didn’t tell you since it might have inconvenienced you if he told you everything and then started?
“You have a point with that (laughs).”
▼ You look brighter than I thought and you don’t seem to have wrinkles.
“Originally I was a kid who didn’t think, but while filming ‘Golden Time’ I turned into a kid who thought a lot and my life became tiring. I know the feeling of being absorbed into a character and not easily escaping. It seems like I’m going down the actor’s path properly at last. While filming this work, there are many things I felt and learned. My confidence seemed low, I cried, I was happy…this drama made me feel life’s joy, sorrow, anger and pleasure.”
▼ Because of that, did you become much more mature?
“As an actress and as a person, I’m still far from maturity, but this drama became an opportunity for me to face life more earnestly. It’s expected that after a person experiences difficulty, they mature to the next stage and that after hitting the floor that you get back up. The time when I hit the floor was ‘Golden Time’. It doesn’t have a bad meaning, but this drama made me feel that I didn’t have anything and I felt the limits of acting.”
▼ How did you overcome this?
“It was very painful, but I won through the power of acknowledgement. My restoration wasn’t going to come from someone helping me, but it was my part where I had to take responsibility. There wasn’t anyone to help me. Even the acting veterans were having a difficult time. On the day of filming, the script would come in notes, so there was a fuss because everyone couldn’t remember their lines. It was to the point that asking made me sorry. Therefore I liased with my acting teacher in Busan. Even seeing the script, I didn’t know what emotions to display and I didn’t even understand the writer’s intentions so a mental collapse came. But my acting teacher also said that the script was strange. While I told myself that the script was difficult when I was alone and that my understanding was deficient, everyone said it was a difficult script. Since it was a medical drama, we consulted experts since we had to live in reality. We had to melt away our emotions as actors, and since we had to make episodes, the writer made it more difficult. That’s why there wasn’t a dramatic love line. However the viewers accepted that as being fresh, so that was a relief.
Translation: The Real CZ @ Hallyu Interview