This magazine was first published in October 2014. Although much of the content is old by now, there are still some interesting bits. (P.S. If you wonder why his eye looks swollen, it’s because Ji Chang Wook was having a sore eye when he had his pictures taken)
The most lovable emperor in history has arrived!
Following the success of “Empress Ki” in Taiwan, Ji Chang Wook who played the Yuan emperor Shundi in the show, has left a deep impression on many Taiwanese fans through his deep and passionate acting. Hoping to let everyone know more about him, Ji Chang Wook decided to have an enjoyable time with lots of interaction with everyone in his first fan meeting in Taiwan. Before his fan meeting, he also had a small meeting with us!
A meeting with Ji Chang Wook one sunny afternoon
Ji Chang Wook has given audiences an emperor who is the least domineering in history, and has also successfully created the most adorable emperor in history. The similarities between him and his character? They are both affectionate with no regrets… As “Empress Ki” has achieved high viewership ratings, the main actors have received offers to visit Taiwan one after another to conduct promotions and also to thank fans for their support at the same time. Ji Chang Wook who acted as the emperor made a quick visit to Taiwan in late August, and even brought his mum along. Although his schedule was very packed, he still took the time to “travel incognito”, and he visited Ximending, tasted pig intestines with vermicelli and starfruit juice. Actually, this wasn’t his first time in Taiwan, as he had already visited the island previously to film “Running Man”, and he has also toured Taiwan in private with a friend who was studying here. Not many people recognised him back then, so he was able to take the subway freely and eat at roadside stalls, but although he has lost that kind of freedom today, he says that the warmth shown by his fans make him happier, moved him, and has made his visit to Taiwan an unforgettable one.
The differing charms of the Nation’s Son
“The vermicelli yesterday was really delicious,” Ji Chang Wook said, “Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with Taiwanese cuisine, so I want to try anything that is famous.” Initially, filial Ji Chang Wook wanted to accompany his mum to walk by the seaside and get away from the noise of the city for a while, but it seems like that is going to be impossible. “I don’t know where my mum has ran off to. She went off to play on her own!” he said cheekily. Although he is now considered a big star, Ji Chang Wook still exudes a shy personality that cannot be removed. Looking like his face will turn red at any moment, this is in stark contrast to his handsome looks and he possesses a unique charm. No wonder he managed to charm so many grannies and mothers, earning himself the nickname of “Nation’s Son”.
After “Empress Ki” was aired, countless young women couldn’t help but fall in love with the gentle and affectionate emperor in the show, eventually becoming fans of Ji Chang Wook. “This is a character who had many changes in his personality, so it was very interesting to act as him.” He explained, “Speaking as a whole, although the story of this drama is fictional, Ta Hwan was a real historical character who existed, so I made references to historical records and added on some of my own ideas, so I was able to present an emperor who was very different from the usual. I think that is worth watching.” Besides focusing on acting out his character, what Ji Chang Wook was most concerned about during filming was actually what he should wear to keep warm. “This show can be considered a fight with the cold,” he laughed. “Because the weather was too cold, I kept thinking in my mind about what I should wear to keep warm, but without looking too bulky at the same time.”
He’s actually satisfied with his own singing
Working in Heng Dian (*part of Empress Ki was filmed at the Heng Dian World Studios in China) was definitely a brand new experience for Ji Chang Wook. “The process was very different. I was actually quite nervous.” He said rather shyly, “For instance, the audio is not recorded at the same time when filming in China, so even if there was a lot of noise or construction in the surroundings, they would not affect much.” The huge scale of the Heng Dian World Studios was also an eye-opener for Ji Chang Wook. “It is even more majestic and bigger than Korea’s!” He exclaimed, “The filming environment was really great, and the set was also constructed very realistically.” A scene that was filmed in front of the square of the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian/太和殿) was especially memorable. “I was wearing a grand imperial robe, and there were so many extras when I looked across the square.” He recalled, “I thought to myself, did the emperors in the past live their lives this way? For a moment, I really had the illusion that I was an emperor. It felt quite amazing.”
Besides displaying his acting skills, Ji Chang Wook even contributed a touching song for “Empress Ki”. Fans should know that he has been asked to sing for drama OSTs several times, and he has even starred in several musicals. Regarding his own singing, Ji Chang Wook made such an assessment, “Haha! Honestly, I think my voice is not bad, and I’m also very satisfied.” He loves acting in dramas and musicals, the only difference is the broadcast medium. “On stage, I’m directly facing the audience, you cannot stop once you have started until you reach the end, and this is the greatest charm of musicals.” He said, “Unexpected situations are inevitable of course, such as singing the wrong lyrics, forgetting the lines, or problems with the sound system and so on. I have even fell on stage before; it was so embarrassing. Sometimes you cannot simply rely on practice. You need to be able to react quickly on the spot. After I knew how to react to such situations, I am not so flustered any more. The most important thing is to avoid disrupting the flow of the whole show. As for the charm of acting in front of the camera, even the slightest shiver of the actor will be captured by the camera and shown to the audience.”
Will probably be an affectionate but busy boyfriend in real life
The Ji Chang Wook on screen is always so affectionate, who quietly gives his all without any complaints or regrets, and has won the “Best Couple Award” several times with his female co-stars (*hmm, is that so???). This big boy, who likes to laugh, is warm, and whose face easily turns red; what kind of woman does he like in real life? He laughs and replies embarrassedly, “Truthfully, I didn’t set any criteria for external appearances. What I will consider is ‘Will I be happy if I’m together with her? Do we chat well with each other? Does she understand what I’m thinking?’ To me, these are the most important.” He also admitted, if he is in a relationship, he will totally give priority to his partner and accommodate her. But looking at his current workload, he will likely be a very busy boyfriend. As far as TRENDY knows, Ji Chang Wook is currently practising for a musical which will be opening soon.
From “Smile Donghae” to “Empress Ki”, audiences have witnessed the growth in Ji Chang Wook’s acting. He has become more detailed, the level of his acting has gotten deeper, and he now gives people a more fuzzy feeling. He is definitely not an actor who has only one side to him. “Change is for the sake of advancing towards a better direction.” He said, “I am someone who thinks a lot. I often worry about a lot of things, and I’m continuously thinking about how I can take my acting to the next level.” Currently, he thinks that one should give careful consideration when choosing a type of role, and his main goal is to accumulate more acting experience. “I want to try taking on various roles that I’ve never played before. Perhaps five or 10 years later, I will probably become an actor who will leave an impression on people?”
MTV Idols of Asia Behind-the-Scenes
The emperor is here! His good nature is exceedingly good.
Ji Chang Wook came to Taiwan for a fan meeting following the popularity of “Empress Ki”, and the production team scrambled to get an exclusive with him. The TV crew tried all means and ways to get the emperor into the studio, gave him top quality treatment, specially invited Master Wu Bao Chun (*he’s a famous baker in Taiwan) to make an award-winning bread for him, and even rolled out a red carpet to usher in this big celebrity. The two emcees also donned periodical costumes to welcome him, making Ji Chang Wook feel really flattered.
Besides having a grand welcome ceremony, which was very memorable for the production team, what gave an even more favourable impression was Ji Chang Wook’s friendly and courteous attitude. Although there are many stars who are also friendly towards others, a certain feeling of distance between the star and ordinary people will still exist somehow. But Ji Chang Wook does not put on airs and does not request for any special treatment. Even at break time during the interview, he chose to drink water and wait at the side instead of running off to the lounge. His easygoing attitude is entirely different from the willfulness of the Yuan emperor in the drama, which makes people admire him.
More scans from the magazine:
First published in October 2014.
Scans and Mandarin-English translation by Gabby. Please share with credit and link.
Do not edit the pictures.