Intense Attraction: “Thrill Me” Ji Chang Wook and Kim Ha Neul
After its first staging in 2007, “Thrill Me” returns for the fourth time this year. We met up with the two people closest to the lead characters. It’s not simply because they are of the same age as their characters in the musical, but because of their very powerful look of confidence at having made it to the stage, and the wavering look of uncertainty in their eyes about their unforeseeable future. Now at the time where we look at them anew, stands Ji Chang Wook and Kim Ha Neul.
Note: Actor Kang Ha Neul’s birth name is Kim Ha Neul (not to be confused with the actress who shares the same name). Kang Ha Neul is his current stage name.
Ji Chang Wook as Richard
After starring in both dramas and movies, Ji Chang Wook takes his next step towards the stage. The youngest son with a soft heart (drama “Sons of Sol Pharmacy”), a master of flattery (drama “Hero”), a teen with a bright gaze after inhaling gas with a woman who is pregnant with her stepfather’s child (movie “Sleeping Beauty”), and this time he’s a dangerous elite who thinks highly of himself. He is Richard.
“He’s an extremely bad person. Because he killed a child. He’s wicked and angry. He’s a proud person who thinks he is perfect. He’s actually very smart. He’s a genius. He really believed in that, so he got caught by his own mistakes and was manipulated by Nathan (played by Kim Ha Neul). Richard always believed that he was more superior than Nathan, but I think Nathan was actually smarter.”
“Actually he’s also aware. That he’s not perfect and very weak. I think he tries to hide that fact by pretending to be better. He’s probably driven to a corner because of an unfortunate family history. He’s a weak man. A small dog barks more than a large dog. I think those with inner strength are really strong people.”
“I was very confused during rehearsals at first. I’ve never experienced this before, but practices for ‘Thrill Me’ at the start were almost similar to filming a movie. I was a little lost. The day after starting rehearsals proper, Ha Neul helped me out a lot and I’ve now found stability. I need to do well. I like it a lot now. Practising is fun. The pressure has lessened. It’s like having found a colleague.”
Baby idol pair?
JCW: Actually we are not babies (laughs). Maybe because my age is more similar to my character’s age in the musical. We are fresh and spirited because we are young.
KHN: I think hyung is really strong. He doesn’t bark. (JCW: I don’t bark, because I’m not a dog.) (Both laugh) He doesn’t keep harping on one matter. I think he’s very strong.
JCW: I really like the song “My Glasses” from the musical. It shows the psychological warfare between Richard and Nathan. That’s probably the charm of this musical. And “Roadster” too. That scene where he tempts a child with a smile on his face is really chilling. In the actual case in real life, I heard that he didn’t kill the child at once. It’s really terrible.
KHN: In the scene where Nathan says “Thrill Me” at the end of the musical, (actor) Kang Pil Suk hyung also said that was the highlight for Nathan. He told me to always take a breath for 3 seconds before saying that line. That was a cool scene.
JCW: I hope to work on a variety of activities passionately in the future too. I won’t be picky about whether it is a drama, movie or musical if there is a project I like (laughs). Before this, I would think a lot about the character, but these days I want to do a piece of work that the audience will think “This is really interesting” when they see it as a whole. I’m acting not because I want to survive on my own.
This article was first published in May 2010. Some segments not concerning Ji Chang Wook have been omitted.
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. This interview was translated for the sole purpose of providing English content to international fans. No copyright infringement intended.