Part 1: ‘Considerate man’ Ji Chang Wook
Actor Ji Chang Wook, who does not see his relationship with the staff as a conventional one between actor and staff, but regards them as fellow hyungs and noonas and wishes to bridge the gap between them in “Healer”, is just like the considerate man we thought he would be.
With a big heart and considerate actions, Ji Chang Wook meticulously took care of not just the people around him but even all the drama staff, showing his affectionate side.
At a round table meeting held at a cafe in Apgujeong on 13 February, Top Star News met Ji Chang Wook who passionately starred as Seo Jung Hu in the drama “Healer”. Ji Chang Wook was also considerate towards the reporters.
Ji Chang Wook showed an expression of regret as he spoke about the recently concluded drama “Healer”. One can tell his disappointment from his words and expression, and he confirmed this when he said, “While I was doing this project, the lack of time was a great pity.”
He continued to think about his own conclusions and ‘define’ the drama as he spoke about it,”This was a project which I thought that bridging the gap with the staff would probably be a good thing for the drama,” showing his affection for the show.
“I looked back again and the various complex emotions that I’ve felt since my previous project came to mind again. I think that’s probably my pride towards this work. Actually, because it was very tiring at the film set, I put in a lot of effort to set the atmosphere at the set. I wanted to create a fun working environment,” he said, proving his nickname as a “Jinergizer”.
Ji Chang Wook recalled the filming atmosphere that he created himself, “I also wondered if I was the only one who had fun,” he said, bursting into laughter. After laughing for a long time, Ji Chang Wook said, “I do think I should have given more thought to consider if I was the only one having fun or whether everyone was having fun,” showing a smile once again.
“Towards the finale, we were almost in live shooting. If there was a little more time, we could probably produce a higher quality piece of work. Such a regret remains,” Ji Chang Wook said with a look of genuine regret in his eyes mixed with longing for the drama, making his deep eyes look even darker.
Part 2: ‘Passionate man’ Ji Chang Wook
Actor Ji Chang Wook is a man filled brimming with passion, just like how we saw him, felt, and thought he would be. In the drama “Healer”, Ji Chang Wook passes through high places and does not refuse any action scenes, showing his unique passion for the drama.
In reality, Ji Chang Wook does not like high places, and doesn’t enjoy going to such places either. “Now when I think of it, everything was interesting,” he said, showing the burning passion he has for his own work.
In the drama “Healer”, Ji Chang Wook had to frequent many high places in particular. Because Seo Jung Hu is “a character who likes high places”. Important action stunts and scenes often took place at the rooftop. Ji Chang Wook said as he started to recall the situation then, “Basically, it was cold because the place was so high up, and the filming conditions were poor.”
In particular, dangerous action stunts or important romance scenes with Park Min Young were also done at high places. Ji Chang Wook gave a witty explanation about the filming and laughed, “To be exact, we went to a certain place in a certain part of Bucheon the most.” He began to speak about that location in detail and explain the filming environment.
Speaking about the rooftop they went to most often, “It was made of something like acrylic panels. Was it the 37th floor? Seems like it. It was 1 floor below that. That place was the scariest. Well, of course it’s interesting when I think of it now.” Ji Chang Wook spoke naturally, and chose the scene that left the greatest impression on him.
The romantic rooftop kiss scene between Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young was famously known as the snowflake kiss scene. “It was written in the script ‘The two kissed as snow started to fall beautifully on them.’ I really pondered a lot about how to communicate this emotion to viewers,” Ji Chang Wook spoke about the scene and one can see that he’s an actor who values each scene.
Also showing his affection towards the character Seo Jung Hu, he said, “Actually, the writer initially explained the character Jung Hu as ‘an example of the young generation who grew up without adults’. This became a very big guide for me. It was really good when the characters Moon Ho and Jung Hu were placed together.”
Speaking about his last scene with Yoo Ji Tae where he called Moon Ho ‘uncle’, “It did not directly explain ‘I understand’, but the single word seemed to suggest that they understood each other, which was very interesting.”
Part 3: ‘Romantic man’ Ji Chang Wook
Actor Ji Chang Wook who has just completed “Healer” is a romantic guy who says he wants to work on a typical *new-age drama (*refer to note below). Even though his drama has just ended, he has wonderfully adjusted back to normal life again.
As Ji Chang Wook counted the many genres that he wants to work on for his next project, he already showed a huge desire for the work that he wants to do.
Ji Chang Wook, who greeted the reporters with a bright smile, readily answered questions with honest replies. Although his answers were given without any preparation at all, one can understand the reason why he has moved the hearts of so many women from the strong intellectual appearance that he exudes.
When asked in which field does he wish to expand his range in the future, he said, “I want to try doing a typical melodrama. I want to try doing a drama where the man falls deeply in love with a woman, he then contracts an incurable disease and loves her passionately, but ends up dying in the end.”
Dramas of this kind of melodrama genre are always very well-received on the small screen and big screen. “Actually, this kind of melodramas are always very popular, and they are continuously being aired,” said Ji Chang Wook with sparkling eyes that are already burning with enthusiasm.
Ji Chang Wook who chose romantic melodrama as the first genre that he wants to try, said that there are many genres that he wants to try out. “I also want to try doing a **queer project (**see note below). I think I will be able to do it really well,” he said, making the reporter very surprised. Although it is a genre that is rather difficult for male actors to meddle with, he showed confidence, saying, “It will probably be interesting.”
“I want to do more different kinds of projects in the future,” said Ji Chang Wook, proving that he is a man with a really warm enthusiasm for acting.
He also explained his involvement in his current musical “The Days”. “It was a piece of work that I wanted to do since young. Actually even if I did well, I thought I would be a musical actor or an actor who stands on the theatre stage. It was my dream to stand at that kind of place, and I was doing it at some point in time,” he said, showing his humble side.
“When I saw myself standing on that stage, I felt a very strange feeling,” he said, showing his love for the stage like no other.
Part 4: ‘Good actor’ Ji Chang Wook
Actor Ji Chang Wook, who chose “good actor” as the line that he wishes to hear most, still gave fun and intelligent answers and created a warm atmosphere despite the sudden question-and-answer.
Ji Chang Wook gave honest and interesting answers to eight very, very short questions posed to him. He chose “good actor” as the line he likes to hear most and also a phrase that he wishes to be remembered by the public, showing his passion for acting.
Ji Chang Wook, who showed a bright appearance from start till end, even asked again after blurting out his answers in response to the quick questioning. Because of this, the interview with the reporter was filled with laughter, making it a fun interview.
In response to the first question “Your closest friend among celebrities?”, Ji Chang Wook answered very resolutely with “None,” and burst into laughter. Ji Chang Wook added, “My closest friend is not a celebrity,” and started to give his explanation.
Speaking about his closest friend, he said, “It’s not that I do not have any close friends among celebrities. Actually, my closest friend is not a celebrity. My friend who isn’t a celebrity is my closest friend.”
He also answered that the word he liked most was “Healer”, and the word he hated most was “the Elder”, showing that he was still immersed in the character Seo Jung Hu in “Healer”, drawing laughter.
When asked “If you did not become an actor, what do you wish to do?” along with the question “If you did not become an actor, what will you definitely not do?”, he answered “office worker” to both questions.
Ji Chang Wook said, “I grew up that way since young, and if I walked along the same path like others, I would probably have become an office worker. And because I hated becoming that kind of office worker, it was actually the reason why I became an actor.”
When asked “What do you like to hear most?” and “What kind of actor do you wish to be remembered as among the public?”, he answered “good actor” to both, showing his love for acting.
Ji Chang Wook said, “When people call me a ‘good actor’, I feel very happy. Although I always say this, I still do not exactly know what it means to be a good actor. I am continuously pondering and thinking about it. Without stopping, I am continuously having new philosophies, and I hope they keep on changing.”
In response to the question of what words he disliked hearing the most, he replied, “I don’t like to hear that I’m lazy”. Ji Chang Wook said he is actually very lazy himself. “I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t be like that, and I tell myself that while I work hard,” proving that he is a hard-working person.
Part 5: ‘Hard-working man’ Ji Chang Wook
Actor Ji Chang Wook, who doesn’t change suddenly because of certain factors, but thinks he is steadily growing in a good direction, is a hard-working actor indeed.
Although he has received love from many female fans through his many projects all this while, Ji Chang Wook has securely captured attention for himself as a hard-working actor who does not get swayed by anything, and does not let himself be greatly influenced or let his mentality be changed by anything.
From “Smile Donghae” to “Empress Ki” and the recently concluded “Healer”, actor Ji Chang Wook has recorded consecutive hits with the dramas he has starred in. “The things that influence me start from things that are very minor, so there seems to be a lot,” he said.
Ji Chang Wook spoke about his own acting career. “It has never changed in a split second. Just like a stone that steadily becomes rounder, I have been changing gradually. There was never once where I made a 180-degree change because of something. Because of this and that, I have been changing steadily bit by bit,” he said, showing the humble actor that he is.
He continued to speak about the path he is heading to in his own acting career. “I don’t know if I am growing well on my own. But I am intending to do it well. I am continuously thinking about that and if I look at the things that I am pondering over, I am probably doing well in my own way, I’ve been thinking,” he said, showing his unchanging and unshakeable belief despite having many hit shows under his name.
In addition, Ji Chang Wook who showed much affection for the drama “Healer”, said about his drama, “It is a project that is over. It is a project that has passed, and I will think of it as a memory.”
This time in the drama “Healer”, Ji Chang Wook has even been highly praised as an actor who cannot be substituted. “Last time, I always thought that a project will become something big to me. But I now know that there is no such thing.”
He continued, “Although ‘Smile Donghae’ did very well, my life did not change after that. Although ‘Healer’ did not change my life, I don’t know if there will ever be these kind of projects again.”
Finally sending “Healer” away, Ji Chang Wook said, “It is a good memory, and a project that has passed. Rather, it was a project where I could be more calm. It is a project that I just want to leave as a good memory.”
We have seen a new side of actor Ji Chang Wook who has been rediscovered through “Healer”. We hope that he will prove his acting abilities through many more projects in the future and fill up his filmography with different kinds of projects.
*New-age genre: Ji Chang Wook used the term “shin-pa (신파/新派)” which literally means “new age”. It is a Korean term in film studies used to describe “new-age” melodramas inspired by Japanese theatre, and this genre began in 1910 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule (Source). This genre often involves very sad tragedies and exaggerated plot to evoke strong emotions and tears from audiences. Ji Chang Wook probably used the term “shin-pa” since he majored in film and theatre studies. For the rest of the article, I replaced the word “shin-pa” with the more commonly used term “melodrama” for easier understanding.
**Queer: In South Korea, the “queer (퀴어)” genre refers to films that deal with sexual minorities such as homosexuals. Most films of the queer genre are what we know as “gay films”. These are not mainstream movies, but there are film festivals in South Korea specifically for movies of the queer genre. Ji Chang Wook has starred in projects of the queer genre before, even before his debut.
Translated from Korean to English. Please share with proper credit.