This interview is a longer and official version of a previous article written by the same reporter on his personal blog.
Ji Chang Wook who plays the role Mu-Yeong in musical “The Days”
While filming a drama simultaneously, he puts in his best effort at practices. A “surprising piece of work” that is dramatic even without villains. A character that is even better than the first run will be portrayed. Yoo Joon Sang hyung who is full of energy…I want to be like him too.
“I can sense with my whole body that he will succeed”, “An actor who works hard to be sincere on stage”. There’s even such words being said. “If I were born again, I want to be a guy like him”.
These are the words said by actors Lee Geon Myung, Shin Sung Woo and Lee Jung Yeol. Who could be receiving such high praises from these great seniors?
It’s Ji Chang Wook (aged 27). The one who starred as Ta Hwan in the MBC drama “Empress Ki” and portrayed a passionate love line with Ha Ji Won (Seung Nyang). This couple was called the “Ta Nyang couple” and melted the hearts of youths on this land like butter melting on a frying pan.
Ji Chang Wook has returned to the musical stage. He will be playing the role of Mu-Yeong in “The Days” which will premiere on the 21st at Seoul’s Daehangno Musical Centre Grand Theatre. He met musical fans on stage as Mu Yeong during the first run in 2013. Although 1 year has passed, the eyes of the world now look at him differently.
“As compared to the time before ‘Empress Ki’, the number of people who recognise me has definitely increased. But not to the point that I can feel it is real. Honestly speaking, I go about my life without much concern about that.”
Although Ji Chang Wook’s indifference may sound chic, someone who has only spoken to him for 5 minutes will be able to catch on immediately. The reason for his indifference is not because he’s chic, but simply because he’s humble.
“Compared to having more fans, I’m more afraid of the ticket prices”
Q: You look very busy these days.
Filming has started for the new drama “Healer” which will air at the end of the year. I’m practising for “The Days” at the same time that’s why I’m so hectic. Actually, although standing on stage is not easy, it is a show that I’ve originally felt attached to, so I couldn’t possibly give it a miss.
Q: You seem to really like the musical genre.
Personally, I really like it. I had opportunities to attend musical lessons back in university and they were really interesting. I also got to participate in musicals when I was in university, albeit as a staff member. I was the assistant director, and the lead actor was senior Moon Jong Won. I made it to a musical at the small theatre in Daehangno and made my official musical debut through the musical “Thrill Me”.
Q: Lee Jung Yeol who acted with you in the first run called you the “Febreeze of the entertainment world” (*Febreeze is the name of an air freshener). He said because you can get rid of all the bad smell (*read “atmosphere”) in the surroundings.
Probably because I’m always laughing and messing around at the practice room (laughs). I work hard to have fun at the practice room. Instead of dwelling on the success or failure of the show, I want to create good memories with the people I work with.
Q: Your fans have increased due to the success of your drama. The pressure on you for the performance this time has probably gotten bigger also.
I don’t really notice it a lot. Actually, what I’m most afraid of are the ticket prices. I felt immense pressure when I first heard about the ticket prices (sigh). The only thing I can do is to work hard with all the team members of “The Days” and create a “performance that isn’t a waste of money.”
“I want to become a ‘general’ like Yoo Joon Sang”
Q: In “The Days”, you are playing the role of Mu-Yeong, a carefree and witty presidential bodyguard. How will you portray a Mu-Yeong that will be different from the first run?
I try not to fall into the trap of thinking something has to change, or that something has to be different. Although it’s right that I’m practising in order to give a performance that is better than the first run, but I am not practising in order to be different. The good things should be maintained, and the areas that need to be improved should be improved.
Q: It is inevitable that you have insufficient time for practice if you are filming a drama at the same time. Do you have any know-how to deal with the lack of practices?
No. If it’s insufficient, then there’s no choice but to “make up” for it. If you want to call it a know-how, I think the only thing is to do your best to work hard and invest lots of time into practices.
Q: You are still in your lively twenties. Although it’s probably still early for you to build up philosophy about acting or as an actor, but somehow in the case of Ji Chang Wook, I think there should be something.
I really didn’t know anything when I was in my early twenties. This thing called “philosophy” will form as you age and act in more shows. It could also be the stubbornness and ego of Ji Chang Wook alone. I am in the process of drawing a path of my own. Just that it is difficult to reveal now. It was different yesterday and also different today (laughs). It will be different again when I come back from the army.
Q: If you could pick out a special characteristic that is unique to “The Days”…
As you already know, “The Days” is centred on music by the late Kim Gwang Seok. But you cannot disregard the power of drama. This conversation cropped up while I was eating with the actors. There are no villains in “The Days”. Even though there are no villains, the musical could still be so dramatic like that! Isn’t it a surprising piece of work?
Q: Do you have a senior who is a role model to you?
I learnt a lot from looking at hyungs Yoo Joon Sang, Oh Man Seok and Lee Geon Myung. Going beyond role models, I have thoughts of “I also wish to become that kind of general in the future.” In particular, Joon Sang hyung is full of fighting spirit and passion. This is the first time I’m seeing such an actor. To the extent that when hyung appears in the practice room, the atmosphere will change completely. I want to become a senior who has such good energy like hyung too.
Q: Is there another show that you really have to do one day?
The musical called “Story of My Life”. I fell deeply in love with it when I went to watch Cho Kang Heon hyung’s performance. It doesn’t matter which role I get. I really want to do it.
Translated from Korean to English by Gabby.
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