It’s already been ten years. It’s been ten years since Han Ji Min has started getting her name known as an actor. She didn’t expect that the day when she unexpectedly put her foot in the business would decide her life for the next ten years. “Life is like a continuation of started events that happen through totally unexpected opportunities.” While attending an all-girls middle school, Han Ji Min was in her third year transferring to a co-ed school, setting her transformation to a normal female student. A brand new male teacher who had come from an all-male school who had been a manager in his past recommended Ji Min to a relative, and Ji Min eventually debuted as a TV CF model.
To be honest, until that point in her life, she didn’t even have any thoughts of holding a job as an actor. However, in 2003 during her first year in university, in the confusion of the moment, Ji Min went to an audition and ended up appearing in the miniseries ‘All In’, and that became a crucial opportunity in her life. Though she only appeared for two episodes in ‘All In’ as the younger counterpart to Song Hye Kyo, standing in front of the camera for the first time and acting was a tremendous burden. “Actually, rather than saying that I acted, it was a process that I learned through repetition. I practiced a lot. Though I didn’t appear in more than two episodes, I memorized the script for several months, so even if I was ‘hit’, the lines of the dialogue would come out.”
Han Ji Min who had waited that much for ten years is now preparing to stand in front of the public as the leading actress in the movie ‘Plan Man’. “There are times when you have a connection with a project. Right now I think of ‘Plan Man’ as a project that I’m able to do.” Just as if she had wished for it, the ten years of time, it was a sufficient time where acting taught her the identity of an actor and the passion towards acting. “Everyone has the greed to do well, and everyone works hard. In the end, it seems like having to work hard is the correct way to go. If [two people] were to have the same passion, you can’t think of it as someone being given an opportunity, so you have to be thankful for the opportunity. Also, one needs to have an evident responsibility.”
In ‘Plan Man’, a comedy where there’s a compulsive man who lives his days by planning down to the seconds starts meeting a spunky and extravagant woman. This isn’t a comedy where there are many scenes where it tries to simply get laughs out of you, but it’s a movie that tries to induce comedy through certain situations, so I like it. The character, like me, is living, and I feel that I can show my charms in a new manner.” We were able to feel the change that she wanted so badly through her response. She has greed towards characters and anticipation towards projects. We thought the past ten years were a promised time for this woman.
Suddenly we became curious if there weren’t any special opportunities in her life. “In the past, I shot a scene in a one-episode special, so I was really relieved. I felt the pleasure of acting, even if it was just a little bit. Meeting director Yoon Jong Chan from my first movie ‘Blue Swallow’ is something I’m very thankful for. He didn’t throw away his greed towards me, he waited until the end for me, and he helped me find emotions through our dialogues. I gained courage because of him.” In this world, the most interesting dramas are the dramas where the characters grow. Also in life, the most interesting time may be the time when we are growing. Even Han Ji Min met her period of growth at last. The moment a ‘place you want to avoid’ that was the filming site that became ‘the place one wants to encounter’ became a moment of destiny for Han Ji Min’s acting.
Truthfully, the filming site was scary for her, but a lot of that fear came because of her family. “I was never scolded by my parents. They’re the type of people who say ‘If you’re tired, go to sleep’. They never even pressured me to study. Also my grandparents were the same, as whenever I did something, they only praised me. Being raised as a child who enjoyed being praised, the filming site was really scary for me.” Han Ji Min wasn’t raised to have a sheltered life. Even now, closely looking over Han Ji Min’s interview articles, her grandmother always told her to take responsibility. Also, to Han Ji Min, responsibility isn’t about the past, but it seems like she believes that responsibility refers to the present or the future.
“When I look back at the past, I’m the type that thinks the remaining disappointment from the past must fill up the future. Of course the responsibility that I have towards my projects gradually increases. Therefore I think I have to be faithful to reality every time. When you have already decided on something, you can’t even look back to the past. Instead of thinking ‘Why did I do it?’, I think about ‘How do I have to do it in order to do well?'” It isn’t irresponsible optimism, but it feels like affirmation with responsibility. Han Ji Min is a person who just doesn’t have any regrets. Han Ji Min has just one regret. “Acting is different. When I think that I couldn’t act, that seems to stick with me. Rather than thinking about it, acting is something I improve at, which I think is a help to me. If I mess up on the lines, I thought it was just me who would go over those lines for days, but Jung Jae Young told me that all actors are like that.”
Han Ji Min is an actor that believes in growth from the site [of the job] more than anyone else. “I’m always learning on site. If I see an actor doing an unfavorable action, I even see that as a lesson to be learned. I tell myself that I can’t be like that. Also the seniors don’t even have to say anything.” The crucial reason Han Ji Min chose ‘Plan Man’ because her partner in the movie was Jung Jae Young. “I thought that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with an actor like him. However, I was very happy that my acting partner was Jung Jae Young. Though I said that I chose this movie because of Jung Jae Young, I said ‘Who do I shift the responsibility to?’ (Laughs)”
In the 2011 movie ‘Detective K’, when Han Ji Mon showed her cold and sexy image, many people made a prism around the word ‘transformation’, looking at Han Ji Min through the spectrum. Ji Min knows that she has to be faithful to the ‘today’ given to herself. “Up until now, among all of the projects that I have done, not one of them isn’t precious to me. I think that I’m able to do my next project because of the current project I am doing now.” And as if she had said the same thing over and over, she showed of a smile signaling her good mood. In that bright smile her affirmative energy is planted, and I suddenly wondered if all of the fruits of labor was due to her faithfully living in the moment.
Translation: The Real CZ @ Hallyu Interview