Ji Chang Wook revealed his frank thoughts about the controversy of historical distortion surrounding “Empress Ki”.
The Mon-Tues MBC drama “Empress Ki” which concluded last month, maintained its number 1 position in its timeslot throughout its airing with high viewership, and was also a hot topic of discussion. Before its airing, the controversy over historical distortion which sparked concerns from many people was quelled somewhat by emphasizing the show as a faction sageuk. The show then won over the hearts of many with its exciting story.
In a recent interview, Ji Chang Wook revealed the sense of responsibility he felt as an actor amid the controversy.
Ji Chang Wook said, “There was a lot of controversy initially. There was the problem about history, and also many questions about the Mongolian pigtail. It’s true that I was very worried. The atmosphere was also like that during the press conference. I still remember that day. I was really nervous. There was also a lot of tension.”
“Initially, I had worries such as ‘how should I explain the controversy about the historical distortion?’ and ‘what kind of responsibilities do I have to bear?’ If the viewers or the public were to ask me about how I am going to bear that responsibility as a public figure or actor, I honestly have nothing to say. ‘I’ll probably just say sorry’ was my reply to them. Our drama is merely fiction and a love story. I said that we will do our best to make the show interesting for you so please give us your attention.”
“Fortunately, the audience seemed to enjoy the show a lot. I am thankful that people enjoyed the show more than I had expected. It is a fact that I was initially uneasy about whether people would watch the show given the controversy about historical distortion, and whether the controversy would continue to rage on.”
“Since I had to continue filming, I thought that Ta Hwan was the only thing that I ought to focus on. There was nothing else I could do except to take responsibility for my character and perform till the end. It was tiring and there were times when the script came out late. There were also times when everyone on set was feeling tired, but I thought to myself that I had to take responsibility for my character and finish this.”
When asked if it was difficult for him to decide on this role because of the controversy, he said, “Actually, even though I knew that there was such a controversy, I felt that Ta Hwan was a character I had to take on. That’s why I readily agreed to star in this show without any difficulty.”
Empress Ki definitely had some attraction that appealed to the tastes of the viewers. The show was interestingly crafted with a story that progressed quickly, characters with a myriad of personalities, a battle of wits and many more, thus allowing the show to emerge as the ratings winner in the Monday-Tuesday timeslot. For such an exciting drama, the initial controversy about historical distortion is all the more a regrettable situation.
Ji Chang Wook said, “Although a thought did cross my mind that it would have been good if the show was fictional instead, the character Empress Ki itself is one with many stories to tell. Besides, there are many things that could possibly happen in the story, which is why I chose this show. That’s why historically-wise, it would inevitably become a point of controversy…and because of that, I am not in a position to say, ‘let’s make this story fictional’, so I could only focus on Ta Hwan and continue filming. I’m thankful that many people enjoyed the show, which is fortunate.”
Having received many praises for his acting through this drama, Ji Chang Wook said humbly, “I feel very embarrassed and ashamed. There are many brilliant seniors in this show, which makes me all the more embarrassed. Of course, I am also very happy. To an actor, there is no better praise than praises for acting very well, so this makes me want to work ever harder instead. I have learnt a lot from the seniors.”
Translated from Korean to English by Gabby.
Article first published on 16-05-2014.