It’s not just Lee Minho and Kim Soohyun who can hold up half the sky on their own in the Korean entertainment circle. There’s also them.
He was probably born with a charm that is able to capture the hearts of many and no one can withstand it. He is like this both on screen and off screen. I’m talking about, Ji Chang Wook.
He already stood out in “Smile Donghae” in 2010, but it was because of “Empress Ki” in 2013 that he became popular. Never mind that he loved her and she loved another man, there was only one Empress Ki in his eyes. He worked hard to better himself, transforming from a puppet emperor to a true sovereign, and even sacrificed his life to help her get rid of her political enemies. It’s not possible that one isn’t moved by that, especially for female audiences.
In 2014, he transformed into the coolest courier in “Healer” who accomplishes his assignment without fail. He played around with disguises and had a dual identity as a cowardly reporter, making audiences laugh.
Being lovable, is definitely not entirely because of the role.
On “Running Man”, he wasn’t able to understand the game rules, appeared silly, and didn’t even know how to tell lies to cheat. His feelings were written on his face, and it was cute seeing him show his true nature. His face immediately froze when he was made to sit another round of the hellish roller coaster as punishment, his face was pale with fear in mid-air and he loudly yelled for…his mother. Ha.
We got to meet him when he came to Singapore earlier as a brand ambassador of Shokubutsu. Seeing him, he had a bright smile and gentle voice. The 15 minute interview, I found it too short.
You left a deep impression when you appeared on “Running Man” previously. You seemed very innocent, one who doesn’t really know how to “bend the rules” when dealing with people or matters, and you weren’t even able to tell a harmless lie in the game. Is it very difficult for someone like you to survive in the entertainment circle?
I was too nervous when I appeared on “Running Man”. I think I was supposed to lie, but I just couldn’t do it, and Gwangsu seemed a little unhappy with me, haha.
Everyone seem to have some preconceptions of the entertainment circle, and the general perception is: The entertainment circle is not suitable for those with a stubborn personality and those who cannot deal with situations in a clever and smooth manner. But I still think that the real battle is always with yourself. My competitor has always been myself, I wish to become better and find a place that belongs to me in this circle.
What is the most difficult thing about being in the entertainment industry?
I think it is work. In order to do well in this acting job, I need to do proper analysis of the character, story etc.I need to be very hard-working, and that is the most difficult.
You displayed different qualities such as innocence, romantic and mysterious on screen, so how is Ji Chang Wook like in reality?
I’m very shy, but if I become closer to people, I will become very playful. I like the feeling of having fun with everyone. I’m also very mindful of the feelings of those around me, so I will take care of them and make sure that they are doing fine.
What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
My biggest strength is my enthusiasm, I always want to do my best and continuously improve when it comes to matters that I love and care about. As for my weakness, I’m unable to do many things at once. I’m a very simple person, I can only think about things in front of me, and I can barely care about anything else.
Jumping between rooftops and chasing after bad guys in “Healer”, it seemed like nothing was ever too difficult for you. In reality, is there anything that you are unable to do?
I don’t think there’s anything that I can’t do, haha. I guess, no one will ask me to do things that cannot be done by man right? I’m not particularly afraid or against new things either.
But there were many action scenes in “Healer”, I had to be strapped to a wire and jump from one building to another; the height was probably about 3 or 4 storeys high. Although I knew that safety precautions have been taken, I was very scared at the moment when I had to take a step forward. In my mind, I could see myself running and jumping, but once the camera started rolling, I just couldn’t do it. It was like this several times, but I only got used to it gradually and completed my job eventually.
You have a fear of heights?
No. But when I have to complete action scenes like that, I just had the feeling that the height was even higher than in reality, so it wasn’t easy.
Ha, when “Running Man” went to Taiwan to sit the roller coaster, you shouted very loudly…
I’m not good at playing such things. It wasn’t fun at all, hahaha.
Are there any other things that you are not good at? Some people can’t really do housework, some people can’t cook…
Ha, that’s right, I really can’t cook; it’s not something I’m good at. But I’m very qualified to do a good job at this — I can eat anything deliciously no matter what you give me, ha.
What I cook best is ramen (instant noodles). Haha, you must be thinking that anyone is able to do such a small thing right? But there’s still a slight difference between cooking it well and cooking it just alright. I’m the kind who can cook it well, I’m very confident of this. I cook noodles with total sincerity, there’s my sincerity in it, haha.
In “Empress Ki” and “Healer”, you were prepared to give up your life to protect your love. In reality, what foolish things would you do for love?
I think it is difficult for most people to experience such deep love once in their lifetime. But the audience may dream of having such love because of the drama, and I’m happy to have fulfilled everyone’s romantic fantasy…haha. Frankly speaking, I don’t think it’s possible for me to experience such love, because it’s too unrealistic. But even so, I still fantasize about love, not just the audience.
Perhaps…I hope this wish comes true one day.
Are you the kind who gets easily besotted when dating? Or are you the rational kind?
I think I’m both, I would get blinded by love when I was younger, and I would also do many things for love, but as I grew up, I became more rational.
What is your biggest frustration now?
How to act well, and do my best.
When you are stressed, how do you relieve stress?
I try to meet my friends to have a meal or drink coffee together. Being with the family and friends I love is something that I care about a lot. When I’m with them, my stress will be greatly reduced.
After “Healer”, you starred in a musical, and you also released a Chinese album in China earlier. Is that your interest? You have a talent for this that no one knows?
Previously, I often held fan meetings in China and other countries, and there would always be people approaching me to release an album. I thought it would be a good collaboration, so I decided on it. Singing in an entirely unfamiliar language is actually very challenging, but I thought it was a very rare opportunity. I gained a lot from this totally new experience, and I enjoyed it a lot.
What is the standard of your Mandarin? Are you able to go shopping or order dishes at a restaurant?
If I were to use age as a standard, then my level would be that of a three-year-old kid? The way I speak Mandarin is like a child.
What do you say? The Chinese words that you use most often are…
“Gei wo (give me)”, “wo xi huan (I like)…”. Oh, and “chi fan (eat)”! Hahahahaha.
Source: iWeekly magazine and iWeekly Facebook
*iWeekly (i周刊) is a Chinese language entertainment magazine published in Singapore.
Scans and translation by Gabby. Please share with credit.