10: You could seem like the type who likes to play because of your image as Yoon-ho from "High Kick" but you seem to be more of a hard-worker.
Jung: When I take on a role, all I do is concentrate on it. It's better to just be crazy about the work that I've been given because it's the only way I won't have any regrets or feel bad afterwards.
10: But what has changed since working on "Iljimae"?
Jung: I think I've finally started to know what acting is about. I'm not saying that I've become better at acting, but I've started to think about what acting is and how to express myself. Before, I used to think it was about memorizing the lines perfectly but I now know it's about actually becoming that character. So the important thing is to know what the point is in the scene I'm shooting, not memorizing an extra word. In the beginning of "Iljimae", I wanted to do well so I emphasized all of my lines but yesterday, Mr. Park Geun-hyung told me that it wouldn't help bring out my lines. He advised me "Your acting will look much more stable if you emphasize just the important lines." He also told me not to speak my lines too slowly because it would take out the young feeling from me and may make my acting look loose. The things I learn actor-on-actor and producer-on-actor are different.
10: Did you have any pressure about the ratings since you played the main character?
Jung: I actually didn't. I had forgotten about it because we had been in shooting for seven months before it started showing. I was surprised when the rating for the first episode came out higher than I had expected though, but I also realized I had a lot to change about my acting so that was what I was pressured about. And when I called the producer after the first episode aired, he told me not to become too proud of myself if the ratings are good and not to become dispirited if they come out low. He said we would go our own way and that we would only be able to make a good drama by enjoying it ourselves. So I forget about the ratings these days when I go on set.
10: I heard that the first thing you talked about with producer Hwang In-roe was popularity too.
Jung: I had a bit of a hard time and thought a lot after seeing my popularity disappear quickly after "High Kick" ended. But it was my choice to take a break rather than take on a new role so I concluded that there will be times my popularity will go down, if it had been going up. So I told him I won't dwell on popularity anymore and that I believe it will go up again if I do well.
10: Now that I think of it, your popularity during "High Kick" was immensely high.
Jung: It's like a dream. (laugh) When I was doing "High Kick" though, I actually didn't feel it that much because I was busy shooting and had a busy schedule. I realized I was popular when I went to eat at restaurants and people would notice me and when I went to shoot a music video in a provincial area and the intersection became packed with people who were there to see me. But I wasn't in the position to enjoy it because I was always in such a frenzy and I was a bit confused whether they liked my character Yoon-ho or whether they like me. Of course, it was great experiencing it.
Jung: When you gain popularity, the most unexpected things happen sometimes. And Min-ho sometimes asks me what to do in some situations. But those are actually the same things I asked him when I was doing "High Kick". (laugh) I just tell him to enjoy it. And that he should be careful because every little move he makes is at the center of attention. Of course, Min-ho is already doing a good job of that. Right now, I want to congratulate him as his friend and I think we'll be able to compete in good faith in the future. More than anything, it really helps that I have a friend I can speak to who knows what I'm going through during hard times.
10: What have you earned and what have you lost while acting and gaining popularity?
Jung: I thought there were a couple of things when I was doing "High Kick". I had no personal time and I wasn't free to go wherever I want. But I've learned to give up on it to an extent. I'm living this life because I chose to, so I don't think it's a loss.
10: What do you think is your shortcoming as an actor?
Jung: I used to think it's my pronounciation. My pronounciation wasn't good while doing "High Kick" so I tried to fix it. It's still not perfect but better than it used to be, and now, I want to be better with my facial expressions. Iljimae is a character who actually doesn't show much through his face, but I have to be able to express various types of emotions with a single concept. You have to act from your heart but you have to have the skill to do it so I want to be able to deliver more emotion through my expressions or eyes. Although I will have to become older to be more charismatic. (laugh)
10: Then have you ever been thankful for being gifted in ways which will help your acting?(laugh)
Jung: Hmm... No, I don't think I have. Acting isn't about you not doing something well and doing another part badly. It's about how well you express your character. Really, acting isn't something you can get by with doing a so-so job of.
10: What has been the most difficult for you in life up till now?
Jung: There have been several moments but I don't dwell on them. Times which seem awful sometimes turn out to be nothing later one. Basically put, I think I have a hard time when I'm acting because I have work, and have a hard time when I'm not because I don't have work. I think that's how it is. (laugh)
10: Then do you ever feel scared or lonely while working?
Jung: I have. I felt it during "High Kick" and feel it now too, but I sometimes fall into a slump that isn't really a slump and sometimes get extremely lonely. But time resolves everything. You come across a turning point and if you don't, you look for it. I had been depressed recently for a few days but I'm feeling very good now after acting with Mr. Park Geun-hyung yesterday. I try and resolve my stress in such ways.
10: Compared to the person you were two years ago, while doing "High Kick" as Yoon-ho, do you have a clearer vision about yourself or your future?
Jung: I'm not sure if anything has become clearer but I think I've become more relaxed. In the past, I used to be in a rush to choose a role and sometimes ended up not doing certain things at the last minute if I didn't like it, but I've decided to take my time and take more consideration in making my decisions now. I also believe my heart is what is most important in making a choice. If I do something that I don't want to do 100 percent, the result will be bad. I'm doing my best at "Iljimae" because it's a drama I really wanted to take on.
10: Then what sort of drama will "Iljimae" be left in your memory as?
Jung: A drama which has made me realize a lot of things. Both as an actor and as a human being.
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun email@example.com
Photographer : Chae ki-won firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Jessica Kim email@example.com, Lee Ji-Hye firstname.lastname@example.org
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