“The Days” has returned
“The Days” is a story about “beliefs” and “memories”. Mu-Yeong devoted everything to love, while Jung Hak lives in the present and reminisces about Mu-Yeong. “The Days” is also a story about misunderstandings. The show draws to a close as a misunderstanding involving an incident long ago is resolved. “The Days” is a title that connotes keywords such as “beliefs”, “memories” and “misunderstandings”. How is it like for Choi Jae Woong who changed from Mu-Yeong to Jung Hak, and for Ji Chang Wook who is standing on stage as Mu-Yeong again? Let’s enter “The Days” which now shapes the both of them.
[skip unrelated part]
Walking slowly in life
“Annyeonghaseyo!! (Hello)” Ji Chang Wook arrives with a lively greeting and stands in front of the camera shortly after changing his clothes. Once the shoot began, he was immediately in form without any need for a warm-up, showing us one pose after another. Thanks to him, the shoot was completed swiftly. The key point of his poses, which were natural and filled with confidence, is his eyes. Within those eyes, the bright spirit of a youth and the relaxed attitude of an adult strangely co-exist together.
Those peculiar eyes of his have kept him rooted in his past journeys. We were introduced to his handsome face through TV dramas, but instead of mini series that other actors of his age are doing, he starred mainly in daily dramas that are filled with older veterans. At the film set, he who was still a novice in acting got scolded over and over again. “I was immature and couldn’t act, so I was scolded everyday. Thinking back now, I think I really learnt a lot.” He did not succumb despite the scoldings, and he who absorbed the essence of acting grew quickly within a short period of time. During this period, he also struck up a proper relationship with musicals through “Thrill Me”. “It was very tiring then. After filming ‘Smile Donghae’ at Yeouido (*that’s where the KBS building is located), I had to rush to Sinchon within 15-20 minutes to perform ‘Thrill Me’. After the performance was over, I had to return to Yeouido again.”
He, who enjoyed success as a drama star that drew attention, returned to the stage again 3 years after that. It was then that his relationship with Mu-Yeong began. As though dispelling worries about him returning to act in musicals after so long, he personally proved his talent as an actor through the musical “The Days”. That’s why, the performance is important to him this time round. Although he could just immerse himself in his character during the first run, he has to show an improvement this time round. But he is not too anxious about that. Compared to showing an upgrade in his acting, he has learnt something deeper through the experience he has gained all this while. What he thinks is important is the actors’ chemistry with one another. “Just like last year, I was always with the other actors and the director in the practice room so we chatted a lot, and we could only find a solution while practising.”
He also naturally coincides with Mu-Yeong, a totally action-oriented person who believes in using the body instead of the mind to personally experience things and make judgements. This is the secret to why he was chosen as the cast member who had the greatest resemblance to his character during the first run. However, he is not a hopeless romantic like Mu-Yeong. “Honestly, I don’t think it’s possible for me in reality to die for the sake of love. Although I may do such a thing in a situation where a problem needs to be addressed immediately, but if I can help it, I will just negotiate and overcome it, right? (laughs)”
He is about to turn 29, and people who are about to enter their 30s tend to have many thoughts about the future. Although he continues to ponder about becoming a good actor, he is still unable to find a definite answer to it. But he will personally decide what are the things he should not do. For example, behaviour that make ordinary people feel uncomfortable because he is an actor, or creating a wall for himself and hiding behind it.
“During the time when I was acting in ‘My Too Perfect Sons’, we went to a haejangguk (*hangover soup) restaurant after filming and Son Hyun Joo hyung suddenly disappeared. I wondered where he went to, but it turned out he was drinking and chatting with some strangers at a table behind. I was greatly enlightened after seeing that.” Acting is a job that involves acting out the lives of people, and that was the moment where he first discovered the doubt about leading a life separate from the lives of other people. “Before being an actor, I am first and foremost a human. I did think about how I should live in order to have fun and be happy. The conclusion is that I will become unhappy if I shut myself up. From then onwards, I walked around freely alone without my manager (laughs).”
We do not know if there is anyone who sees him like someone who became a star overnight, and there are probably people who think he took a short cut and became a famous actor “in one single try”. However, he personally does not think of himself as someone who was once “hot” or a high-teen star (*meaning a star in his late teens). According to his words, he bore insults at the film set and ascended one step at a time towards becoming a TV star. The weapon that he came to possess after all that suffering are his “eyes”. “Looking at seniors who were capable of changing the atmosphere of the show with just the look in their eyes, I could feel the years and experiences that they have. If I also live my life working hard, feeling and experiencing the lives of many people, then won’t I become that kind of ‘actor with good eyes’? He is slowly walking on the path of an actor, and he says calmly that he will continue to do so in the future. But from his eyes, we can already see a depth that is unlike that of someone in his 20s.
Translated from Korean to English by Gabby. Please do not reproduce or edit the English translation.
The Musical magazine