Actress Kim Gyu-ri acts a scene from KBS Drama Special "Just Say It!" at the broadcaster's drama set in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea on November 8, 2010. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
She has an interesting filmography. One who sees it may thinking time is going backwards for actress Kim Gyu-ri. She made her debut playing Park Na-ri, one of the main characters, in KBS’ TV "School" and took on the female lead in MBC's "I Love You Hyun-jung" and "Young-jae's Golden Days" but recently has taken on memorable yet small roles in "Five Senses Of Eros," "Looking for My Wife" and "Hahaha." 10Asia was curious to know the mindset of the actress who recently starred in MBC's one-act drama "Teaching Love" and now KBS' drama special "Just Say It!"
10: You recently shot two single-episode dramas including this one for KBS Drama Special.
Kim Gyu-ri (Kim): I think I like short dramas because it allows me to make a lot of attempts and come across various stories. It's also good for warming up as an actor. An entire narrative is inside a single short book so you can learn how a story should flow by working on a lot of single-episode dramas. That's why I want to tell new actors to try acting in as many one-act dramas as possible.
10: Like you just said, there are stories that are possible to tell because they're single-episode dramas and it goes the same for this drama special. Did you like it from the beginning?
Kim: In both short and long dramas there is always a narrator which in this production was Gi-young (played by actor Bae Soo-bin). You can feel the scenarist's emotions when you read the script and I was right when I thought it would be written by a guy. He told me straight out that he had hard time writing the script for my character Young-hee. He said that he didn't know how to express how she felt. I think that is why I thought she was sort of an odd when I first received the script. When I tried to portray her in a certain way thinking it was right, her emotions would jump in a completely different direction. I have always thought first impression is important when it comes to script but I read this one three times. Then when I finally got a grasp of how she felt, the relationship between Gi-young and Young-hee came off as really cute.
10: It is possible you had such concerns because at some point during the 70 minutes of the drama, the feelings that Young-hee felt for Gu-byung (played by actor Bang Joong-hyun) disappears and she instead feels them for Gi-young. And even though she is using him she briefly dates a water carrier guy as well.
Kim: In the first script she was supposed to like the water carrier guy as well. But it was revised so that Young-hee would use the water carrier guy to get Gi-young. If not, then it would seem like Young-hee is someone with problems because she would've went back and forth amongst three guys. The director had the same concerns as well so we've been coming up with a new line of development for her emotions.
10: In terms of acting, you probably had a lot to worry about since you probably didn't want Young-hee's emotions to lean to one person too much even she liked Gu-young in the beginning.
Kim: Gu-byung is the guy of Young-hee's fantasy, someone who she wants as her boyfriend. The man of her dreams. She is in love with the single image that she wants her boyfriend to be like. So that breaks apart when she hears a weird rumor about Gu-byung and thinks about how Gi-young would feel. That is why she asks him to the movies and to the park, trying to test out how it would be like to be alone with him.
Kim: Whether it be short or long dramas, I will choose to do whichever if I like the story and can have a voice to the story. I'll take part in dramas where I have something to do as an actor.
10: Is that why you took on characters who appear in the right place at the right time in the movies "Five Senses Of Eros," "Looking for My Wife" and "Hahaha" even though they didn't have much weight?
Kim: I don't think you are the main character just because you have many lines and appear in all the scenes. Because when you’re on set, from the staff members to the minor characters, you can’t pinpoint one person as being the most important. If a single person isn't there, such as the member of the crew who holds up the boom mic, the sound won't get picked up. Hence, since everyone is important, it's important that I as actress Kim Gyu-ri try to show, "Nobody can do a better job with this role than I." I want to be a great actress.
Kim Gyu-ri [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
Kim: I hadn't intended to but I've played quite a lot of lead roles since the start of my career. That is why I worked hard but heard things like 'You’re too greedy' and at times I was hurt. I guess I wouldn't have thought such things if my acting career had gone smoothly. I also just think a lot. I'm conscious of what others think because I am the fourth daughter in my family (laugh) and from an early age I thought to myself 'Oh, should I do I do it this way' before I said or did anything.
10: In that sense, to become a great actress you probably need to think and worry a lot when you're not on camera.
Kim: Of course. The time you spend in front of the camera is short. For me personally, I think it's sad that poetry isn't appreciated as much as it was in the past. There are less people who read poetry at a slow pace and appreciate the meaning in between the lines. So I want to become an actress who is able to do [appreciate the meaning between the lines] that since I am someone from the times when people enjoyed poetry.
10: Reading in between the lines may not be just about comprehension but also about how abundant that person's life is.
Kim: Living an abundant life is great and experiencing everything firsthand would be the best. That is why I'm working on breaking away from that mold but I can't because I still lack experience. I fill in those spaces and get answers by reading books.
10: What kind of books do you like reading?
Kim: I really like books by the late monk Beopjeong so I'm trying to get my hands on all his works. I read them every time I feel weak. I also read the short lines in "Talmud" as a guideline and I repeat them over and over again.
10: When do you need them? When do feel weak?
Kim: First of all, my job is to show others a different part of life. Every moment. Even right now, I have to become Young-hee and then return to myself and the line between [reality and fantasy] becomes unclear when that process is repeated. It's pain that all actors experience and it ends up frustrating their egos. So it helps to read such works when I feel like I'm not being myself.
10: Does the stress ever help you as an actor by any chance?
Kim: That is how you mature. An actor is someone who goes after other people’s emotions. Paying attention to and trying to figure out how they feel from asking questions such as why is that person wearing that? Who did they meet? And is that the only way that they could have acted? I have also gained confidence in myself through acting. I couldn't love myself before because I was someone who thought a lot to myself, was timid and didn't act upon what I think. But I came to realize that I am someone who can be loved after I became an actress and received love and attention from others.
10: Then you must also be considering returning that love through your work.
Kim: The small screen is the medium through which actors deliver that warm love they have felt to others. Some form of message can be delivered even if you don't play a loveable role.
10: What is it that you want to deliver to the audience through "Just Say It!"?
Kim: To make one's heart flutter? One side of our heart hurts when we like someone. I want the audience to feel that emotion or comfort the coldness they feel in their heart.
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