Korean star Gong Hyo Jin, who won a huge fan following in China based on The Master's Sun, recently arrived in Shanghai for a fashion event, and had an exclusive interview with Sina Ent. regarding her work and life. She spoke frankly of her gorgeous male co-stars, including So Ji Sub, Cha Seung Won etc, and her impressions of "It's Okay, That's Love" co-stars Jo In Sung, Lee Kwang Soo and EXO's D.O. With the current wave of onscreen noona romance, Gong Hyo Jin expressed her interest to work with younger actors Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun, but could not help but be concerned about jealous fans.
When asked about her impressions of China, Gong Hyo Jin described it as "amazing". She has been communicating avidly with her fans via her recently launched Weibo account, and while she does not understand Chinese, she could make educated guesses based on the emoticons. With the wave of Hallyu stars into China, Gong Hyo Jin also made are list of names she wishes to collaborate with, and is especially keen on working with Stephen Chow on a comedy.
The following is the transcript of the interview.
Sina: Gong Hyo Jin will be starring in "It's Okay, That's Love". Please give a brief introduction to your role in the drama.
GHJ: In the drama, I am playing the role of Ji Hae Soo, a doctor with two years experience, who thinks the world of her own brilliance, but has a lot of psychological issues. Compared to my previous roles, this one is more mature, intellectual. While most of my previous roles were being taught by others, this time, I am the one doing the teaching.
Sina: In this new drama, you will be collaborating with Jo In Sung, Lee Kwang Soo and EXO member D.O, respectively a male god, a comedian and an idol. Please share your impressions of these three men.
GHJ: You assessed them accurately. Yes, Jo In Sung is the ideal of many women, but even more so, the envy of men. Men look at him and think "He is very handsome", like a god, yet very friendly, putting people at ease. This is my first time working with Lee Kwang Soo on a drama. We previously met on "Running Man" but have not seen each other since then. At the time, we ran the entire day, were extremely tired, and had to protect each other - I feel he is an amiable, interesting person. This time, Kwang Soo's character lives under the same roof with mine, has Tourette's syndrome, and is very amusing. During rehearsals, the moment he says his lines, everyone starts laughing. I have not formally met D.O. I should not have any scenes with him, because there are no scenes in the drama where our characters meet. However, after meeting him, I understand why he is the idol of young girls - being cute and handsome.
Sina: Your previous drama Master's Sun enjoyed immense success. Did you expect it? Did you enjoy great chemistry with So Ji Sub?
GHJ: Lately Korean dramas are enjoying huge success all over Asia, and Hong Sisters are extremely well-loved in China, so its popularity was expected. In addition, having a ghost story in summer is a novelty. I enjoyed great chemistry working with So Ji Sub. Initially, because So Ji Sub has a quiet personality, while I am very outgoing, many people thought it was not an appropriate pairing. After its broadcast, they felt that these are two extremes in character, and really liked it. However, I did not expect that the audience would love this pairing so much. This outcome could only have happened when two people enjoy great chemistry during filming.
Sina: The scene in Master's Sun where Joo Goon embraces Tae Yang is a classic. How did you feel filming it? Did it feel childish? Were you affected?
GHJ: Yes. In that scene, I did not know what to do after seeing ghosts. Although it was acting, my feelings were still stirred, having a tall CEO holding me, allowing me to hide. Later when I watched that scene, that emotion really came across, and I thought it was no wonder that the women love him. When you are afraid, he rescues you, while in reality, the probability of this happening is really little. The men must also really wish to do this for the woman they love, so that she would love him more. After watching the drama, I felt that it was different from when we were filming.
Sina: So Ji Sub, Cha Seung Won are Korean A-listers who are very well respected. In your eyes, what are they like?
GHJ: Cha Seung Won sunbae-nim is an interesting man, who sometimes really feels like Dokko Jin, because he is much older and experienced than me. He has a lot of male charisma, and is extremely meticulous. As an actor, you cannot survive in this industry without being meticulous. He keeps encouraging me to do better, and is extremely tall - much taller than So Ji Sub sunbae-nim. As for So Ji Sub sunbae-nim, intially I thought he was a untalkative, quiet man who only hung out with his family and friends. In actuality, he loves to laugh, and loves to crack jokes... definitely much more talkative than what I imagined.
Sina: Currently noona romance, maternal love are the rage in Korean dramas. Do you have any intention to try such roles? What kind of roles do you wish to play?
GHJ: Of course. Noona romance is not bad, but acting in one may incite the jealousy of the actor's fans (laugh), so I don't intend to do something so dangerous. (laugh) Of course there are many younger actors such as Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Min Ho, Lee Jong Suk who are much younger than me. I do wish to act with the hoobaes, but collaborating with older sunbaes would be even more beautiful and adorable. (laugh) I don't want to be targetted by the actors' jealous fans.
Sina: Recently, you set up a Weibo account. How does it feel to interact with your fans via Weibo?
GHJ: It is amazing, to see words like "unni", "oppa". As it is in Chinese, it is not easy to understand, but when I see emoticons like red hearts or smileys, I try hard to guess the contents. Recently Master's Sun was broadcasted in China, so fans will send letters/messages in Chinese or English. Some even came to Korea just to see their idols. I thought can this be true? It is really amazing, to think that Korean dramas are enjoying such popularity. Since everyone was saying how popular they are, I decided to see for myself, and so I set up a Weibo account.
Sina: GHJ is a well-known fashionista. What is your definition of fashion?
GHJ: Fashion. It's hard. Every time I am asked this question, I have no idea how to answer it. Sometimes, when asked what style is in, I would always reply that I am not sure. Since I am not a professional, I do not know how to respond to such questions. I believe fashion is something to be continually studied and analysed.
Sina: You are here in Shanghai for a fashion event. What is your impression of China?
GHJ: It is too near, to the extent that I was almost airsick. If the distance was further, I generally won't be airsick. To arrive in another country within 1.5 hours is amazing. My recent trip to China, I found a lot of similarities to Koreans. Due to the popularity of Korean dramas, the fashion is very similar to Korea, which feels like home. In the past I used to be able to distinguish between Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, but now it is difficult to do so. I visited Xintiandi - it is very beautiful, with a lot of great eating places.
Sina: Nowadays, many Korean stars choose to break into the China market. Do you have any intention to do so? Who are the people you wish to work with?
GHJ: I really like director An Lee. His works have a strong Chinese influence, but he does not look Chinese. China has many excellent directors. When I was young, Hong Kong movies and music were at its peak, and wildly popular during my student years. The fact that I am now in China doing an interview, is a magical feeling. Previously, I just knew about the popularity, but due to the distance, I never experienced it for myself. However, this time, seeing the fans reception at the airport, is really amazing - although there is a language barrier, they still came because they like me. I am very envious of the Korean actors who have activities in China, and also curious how they work. I wish to meet everyone up close and come over often. I still love actresses such as Maggie Cheung, Tang Wei. I also particularly like Stephen Chow and hope to have a chance to work with him on a romantic comedy.
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Vietnamese translation: here