Ji Chang Wook who is both a “master of action” and “master of kissing”. For a while, we won’t be able to meet this man who channels both masculinity and youthfulness, this man who mesmerises women with his sweet expressions. One day in late summer prior to his enlistment, we have our final chat with Ji Chang Wook on the set of the CF filming for Fossil.
Congratulations on becoming Fossil’s model for Asia. You participated in the shooting for “My First Fossil” advertising campaign today. How was it?
It was interesting. But it’s not easy to demonstrate the various functions of the Fossil third generation touchscreen through photos. It’s a bit of a pity that many interesting functions could not be expressed through the photographs.
Now that you’ve used the Fossil third generation touchscreen yourself, what do you think of it? Which function do you think you will be using the most?
I will probably be looking at the time most often since it’s a watch? Haha. I think I will use the smart features often for listening to music and taking pictures. It’s fun and interesting to use a watch for listening to music and taking pictures. It has many features that are very convenient.
Looking at the campaign name “Fossil Firsts”, we are curious about an unforgettable first experience of yours. What kind of first experience will the readers of “1st Look” get to hear?
My first shoot. I participated in my school’s short film when I was twenty, and I had no particular role then. My senior told me “Stand here for awhile” so I just stood there. But I didn’t expect that small experience to change my life. After that, I followed my seniors around and I got engrossed with the creation of short films.
Are you able to reveal your first dating experience?
It was during my high school years that I got a girlfriend whom I can consider as having “dated”. I really liked it even when I think back now. That was my first love. We were both so young and our relationship fizzled out, but I really liked it.
Are you the kind who will approach a woman first?
It depends on the situation and person. There are times where I am very proactive, and there are times where I worry more than necessary. My image will change depending on the person I’m meeting.
Picking out your “firsts” together with you is very interesting. When was the first time that you were frustrated?
The first major frustration that I remember was during the time I was acting in “Smile Donghae”. I thought I had no talent for acting so I was wallowing in despair. It was a period where I had no faith in myself. I had many worries thinking “Will I be able to do well?” I think I overcame it well. I had my family, friends and seniors by my side, and they helped me overcome it. I also worked hard not to lose my dignity as an actor and persistence.
This is the final “First” question. We wish to hear about your first success story. When do you think you first received recognition as an actor?
I think I received recognition as an actor through the drama “Empress Ki”. Even when I look back now, I think I received love from many people and was recognised as an actor at the same time. I felt a sense of fulfillment. I was excited everyday during filming.
You’ve really been recognised as a top actor now. According to the July 2017 results from the Korea Business Reputation Research Centre, you even ranked first on the drama actor brand reputation list. Actually, we thought you will have a bit of rest after “The K2” but you immediately selected “Suspicious Partner”. Usually if we are Ji Chang Wook sshi, we will choose to take a break right? Was that drama that attractive?
Although the drama was interesting, its genre as a romantic comedy also attracted me greatly. I also had the greed to do one more project before leaving for the army. If we compare before and after enlistment, there should be slight differences in my acting, so I was happy to be given the opportunity to act a romantic comedy character with my current acting style.
You took your first step into romantic comedy through that drama. As an actor, what do you think is the taste of a romantic comedy like?
A subtle taste. I’ve mainly acted as characters who were embroiled in huge cases, but I got to act out the love, break-up, opinion differences and small conflicts between a man and woman in “Suspicious Partner”. The level of detail in conveying these subtle emotions was key. Instead of a dramatic love confession, confessing using ordinary words such as “Let’s eat” was very attractive. The line “Let’s eat” meant “Please spend time with me” instead of “Let’s eat since we are hungry”, and this was an expression of concern. I found this task of expressing such subtle emotions in a way that was nether excessive nor lacking to be very interesting.
Before “Suspicious Partner”, you mainly played characters that displayed your action skills. What is the charm of action?
Thrilling and refreshing. As an actor, the process of acting out such manliness was interesting. Don’t you feel catharsis when watching an action drama or action movie?
That’s right. We feel very refreshed especially when watching Ji Chang Wook’s action. Do you invest a lot of time in practising for action?
I do practise action a lot, but I think of action as a kind of emotion too. Humans do not fight or hit someone without any emotions. There’s a reason in every fight, and basic emotions also come and go. Whether someone was hit by a fist, or action was taken using a weapon such as a gun or knife, I think of the action as an emotion in itself. So I am usually greedy to express emotions when acting in action scenes. Besides action scenes that require a huge picture, when I’m filming action scenes that require expression of emotion, I will make a request to the director “Please remove grand action scenes” and tell him “Please make it look more emotional” instead.
Your manliness stood out especially in “The K2”. Has there been any changes in you?
That’s right. I think so too. Time-wise, I met “The K2” when I turned 30. Very strangely, I merely turned from a 29-year-old to a 30-year-old, it was only a difference of 1 day, 1 minute and 1 second, but my 29-year-old self felt different from my 30-year-old self. I thought “I’m now 30 years old. I need to become a man now” and became determined. I also started wondering about what kind of masculinity I possess. I also wanted to show the charm of “the man Ji Chang Wook” through “The K2”.
You acted as a character who is a “handsome man with a difficult personality” in the Chinese drama “Mr Right”. Majority of the roles you’ve played have a difficult personality. Why is that so? (*Translation note: the “difficult personality” in this context should be interpreted as being “fussy and hard to please”.)
When I approach a role, the most attractive aspect I feel is his complex. I get attracted to the complex, deficiencies and the slightly twisted aspects of the role. For example, a person who says “I will never drink coffee” definitely has a reason for disliking coffee. Each of the characters in a drama have their own conflicts, and within that conflict lies things such as their complex, wounds and trauma. That complex is one of the factors that shape the individual’s own characteristics. That’s why I can feel the fun of meeting and acting a character with a complex. Regardless of who I meet in reality, I’m curious about things like “What could be that person’s complex?” Because everyone has a complex.
What is Ji Chang Wook’s complex?
It’s a secret. Haha. Something that can be expressed easily is not a complex. I’ll just say one thing. I have many complexes.
Continuing from “The K2 ” to “Suspicious Partner”, you’ve had consecutive successes. You must be getting a proper sense of fulfilment as an actor these days. Do you still have a dream?
I do. I dream of becoming a happy person. When I was younger, I never thought about the human Ji Chang Wook. I think I’ve only dreamt about the “actor Ji Chang Wook” for the past 30 years. I’ve been chasing after my goal as an actor and the characters I want. But at some point in time, I began to recognise that I may be an actor, but the actor Ji Chang Wook is also a person. I thought “I am someone’s son, friend, and I will be someone’s husband and parent in the future.” And I got the answer. I want to live happily. I want to live coolly. I want to live happily and coolly such that when someone looks at me, he/she will think “I want to spend time with that person.”
It’s a pity that we won’t be able to meet Ji Chang Wook for a while. We can’t afford not to ask you about your thoughts prior to enlistment.
While doing interviews with the media after filming “Suspicious Partner”, I ended up talking a lot about the army. I even worried if I was making it too much of a big deal. If I really need to talk about my feelings before enlistment, I am calm about it. Because this is the start of a new life. I believe in myself that I will be able to adjust quickly. But the regretful thing is that I won’t be able to spend time with the things I like and the friends I like for a while.
The time spent in the army will also become another life experience for Ji Chang Wook. We look forward to (seeing) the actor Ji Chang Wook after discharge.
I want to be a good actor. If you were to ask what it means to be a good actor, it will be hard to answer. Because my answer keeps changing. While drinking with (actor) Kim Rae Won hyung not too long ago, we had a discussion about what is a good actor. Is a good actor an actor who can act well, an actor with a good personality, an actor who is considerate to the staff, or an actor who makes a show successful? We rambled on about this but could not arrive at an answer. The important thing is that I never stop pondering about what it means to be a good actor. I hope there will be a point in time where I will look back on myself and think “Seems like I’ve really become a good actor”.
Masculinity and youthfulness, actor Ji Chang Wook who suits both of these adjectives. During his final CF shooting before enlistment, our editor was worried that he would be anxious and sensitive, but contrary to her worries, he appeared looking brighter than ever and full of energy. The photo shoot this time was done together with Fossil’s smartwatches. He meticulously scrutinised all the functions of the watch with his curious eyes, and his intelligent acting skills used to express the functions of the watch in various ways was more impressive than the times where he worked with any other actor. Sometimes he will take selfies with an expression that was full of mischief, or he will enjoy a rest while listening to music with a peaceful expression. The reason why he was able to finish such natural shots was his perfect understanding about the shoot. Otherwise, this would not have been possible. Another reason was probably the perfect chemistry with photographer Kim Do Won, who is a close friend of Ji Chang Wook. We hope this photospread will be like a gift to fans who will be waiting a long time for actor Ji Chang Wook. Missing You!
Translated from Korean to English by Gabby. PLEASE DO NOT REPRINT, REPURPOSE, SCREENCAP, TRANSLATE INTO OTHER LANGUAGES, OR OTHERWISE COPY OUR CONTENT WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.
Credit: 1st Look Magazine