It feels like he’s Cha Do-hyun, it seems like he’s Shin Se-gi, but he’s not Yo-na..he’s the actor Ji Sung.
Because they’re all the images of the actor himself.
Kill Me, Heal Me (KMHM) taught Ji Sung (JS) how to love and cherish himself more. He was someone who didn’t know how to love himself; instead, he was more considerate of others than his own self, but through KMHM, he has learned to be more confident in himself and decides to concentrate on his acting rather than having other thoughts. By having confidence in himself and being considerate for fellow actors acting with him, JS thought that the strength he wants to show would be conveyed properly to the viewers.
It was painful and difficult when he was filming the series, but he loved it despite having to cry and cry for his scenes. He has never thought of getting the Daesang while filming and the award was not important to him; instead, the reaction of the fans made him thought that he still has his worth as an actor, and he feels as if he has received a grand prize from the fans. He promises to show more improvement in a future project like this drama. The positive reviews by the reporters encouraged JS to go through the filming, and he used to think whenever he read all the praises for other actors, “Will I be able to receive such compliments and positive reviews?” He won’t forget all the compliment and vows to improve himself further.
JS chose the song for his OST and he picked Violet as his track, because he felt that the song could convey the message he has for the characters in the drama. The lyrics symbolizes his wish for them to be well, and just like how the drama gives so much excitement, happiness, and comfort to many people, he wanted to tell the characters that they have done everything that should be done, and they can take a rest.
As we all know, KMHM wasn’t offered to JS in the first place. The script was passed from one actor to another before ending up in JS’s hand. By then, it was late and he was pressed for time when he’s preparing for the role with seven personalities. Strangely enough, JS didn’t feel burdened back then, even when he had to portray seven personalities in one drama. Back when the synopsis was publicized, he thought that he could do it well even before they offered the role to him, and he thought that he had to accept it once he received the script. Instead of worrying about the alters, he decided to pay attention on how to play each alter and what message he wanted to convey through each of them. The short time made him abandon all greed and decide give his all, focusing only on acting comfortably for the role. Each alter was developed with utmost devotion, thus they all became precious to JS and he will continue to remember them for a long time.
KMHM is a precious project to JS. He is happy to learn that he received lots of appreciation and strength through the drama from lots of people. The directors gave him the opportunity to act, with the Heavens watching over him silently from above. The drama is a work which gives a meaning to his life. The drama didn’t only heal the audience’s hearts; it was also a project which allowed him to heal his own heart. Looks like he has mixed feelings too after completing the drama: satisfied but still sad to part with it.
JS jokes that it’s a rare chance for him to wear a girl’s school uniform and use eyeliner, but he did so in the drama. When he is asked about how he prepared for each of the alters, he hesitated a bit and said that he was actually worried about continuing with his real life after the drama ended. But then, thanks to Do-hyun, he had no problem of portraying the characters.
Underneath the multiple alters with different personalities, there was a gentleman that was Cha Do-hyun; the pessimistic and suicidal Yo-sub, the bubbly Yo-na, the father figure Ferry Park, the uncontrollable homme fatale Shin Se-gi, the abused young child Nana, and Nana’s father X; these alters described who Do-hyun was. Thus, even when he’s portraying the funny Yo-na, JS didn’t laugh because he knew how she came into existence and what made her acquire such traits.
The interview brought back memories of Yo-sub, and JS wanted to convey the hope and reason to be alive to the children with difficult lives through his portrayal of Yo-sub. Even the bitter Yo-sub gained hope through Ri-jin’s help. He was reminded of the last line by Yo-sub (the poem by Paul Valéry): The wind rises. We must try to live. Even when he didn’t know the meaning behind the poem at first, JS teared up when he acted out that scene.
Of course, one can’t simply forget one of the famous lines uttered by JS: Se-gi’s “Remember, the moment I fell for you.” He said that he kept repeating the line when he met the fans and the staff, and he’s truly enjoying the cheesiness!
One of the running theme through the drama was child abuse. The memories of being abused as a child caused Do-hyun to be broken into separate alters of himself. The scene in which the grown up Do-hyun recalled the memories of getting abused was the hardest one for JS, because he had to act with the child actors, and witnessing the scene was a big shock to him as it was like a real life scenario. He cried so much that he almost passed out after filming the scene. JS remarked that there are so many bad things happening in the world, including the childcare center case (children were abused by the childcare center staff in South Korea). He thought that children should receive lots of love, and the recent case increased the respect he had for the drama. He also expressed his wish to see more dramas highlighting the real issues instead of the makjang drama produced purely for entertainment sake, since dramas can be used a medium to convey good message to the people watching the drama.
It was not easy for an actor to let go of his character because of the amount of feelings invested in a particular character. Back in 2011, JS only had one month to spare between filming Royal Family and Protect the Boss and the pressure caused him to fall into depression. Portraying Cha Ji-heon who suffered panic disorder affected him even after the drama ended. He wanted to go to Hawaii back then and thinking that it would be nice to have a retreat and relieve his stress, JS left for the island right after wrapping up the drama. However, he only stayed there for a night before returning to the country. He couldn’t forget the awful feeling he had there: feeling lonely and having no one beside him in the unfamiliar Hawaii.
Thankfully, it was okay for him this time around. It was probably because of the family beside him: his wife Lee Bo-young (LBY) and the fact that he’s going to become a father soon. After the final shooting ended, he went to have some drinks with the staff but he couldn’t stop himself from feeling sad. He went home and broke down in tears when his wife asked whether everything had ended smoothly and slept. He woke up later feeling more confident. With his wife watching over him, he didn’t feel lonely anymore. As the head of his family and a soon-to-be father, he had so many things to do and he couldn’t waste his time being depressed.
Sharing his excitement of being a father soon, he tells the reporter that he wanted to see the baby as soon as possible but the time seemed to crawl slowly these days. He also said that the baby’s growing well and he’s amazed that he could see the baby’s eyes. LBY is expected to give birth in June (22th June to be exact) and JS feels that he will cry on the day his child will be born. He doesn’t hesitate to share that his first child is a girl, and the fetus name the couple gave to their daughter is so adorable: Kwak Bobe, from JS’s family name, LBY’s name, and the word baby (‘곽’태근 + 이’보’영 + ‘베’이비). Bobe also sounds like bobae, which means treasure in Korean 🙂 He has not decided on the name for his baby girl and thinks that there’s not many name that fit with his family name, Kwak. When a reporter suggests Kwak Yo-na, he jokes, saying that it sounds good too!
When asked if he has any plan to appear in variety program with his baby, JS he explains that he doesn’t have any, and he wishes to draw a line between public and private matters. He doesn’t want to bring back work to his house and dreams of becoming a normal father once he returns home while working normally when he goes to the set. He plans to raise his child himself by taking turns with LBY; if she’s working, then he will be the one who will take care of the baby, from changing diapers to making formula. JS doesn’t want to leave his child in another person’s care, and he’s currently practicing his cooking skills to become a good father to his baby.
LBY liked Yo-na the most among his alters and wished to see the filming of the scene where JS had to run on the street, so she went to the site. He thought that his wife would be enjoying the sight Yo-na running cutely like a teenage girl but she ended up crying to witness her husband sacrificing his pride for the sake of acting. JS said that it turned out for the better, because from that day, LBY never failed to pack him some food when he went out filming for the drama. Awwww they’re so adorable, really! A reporter throws a question whether he’s thinking of acting alongside LBY in a drama and JS says that they couldn’t even keep a straight face while taking a picture together, so he’s also curious how it will turn out if they end up in in a drama together. I hope the day will come for them to be reunited in a drama!
He doesn’t hesitate to praise Hwang Jung-eum (HJE) too. He knows how hard it is to work on two consecutive projects like her, who wrapped up her previous drama Endless Love just a month before they started shooting the first scene for KMHM. He was extremely grateful to have her as his partner in this drama, since he realizes how important it is for the actor and actress to have chemistry between them. It is pointless for an actor if the partner he’s acting with can’t provide a good reaction to his acting and for JS, it wasn’t an easy feat since he had to act out different personalities, but thanks to HJE, he could act well because they matched with each other well. He expressed his wish to work together with the amazing actress HJE again in the future. He quoted her words that she would like to star in a project with him again, but only after she got married to her boyfriend. She planned to get married when she turns 34, and I hope she won’t make us wait for too long!
It’s his second time working alongside HJE in a drama after Secret (2013) and their chemistry was well-received, causing the fans to coin the cute term “if it’s Ji Sung, it (has to be) Jung-eum” (지성이면 정음, from the saying 지성이면 감천, meaning sincerity moves heaven).
Some tidbits about the scenes:
- The peck between Yo-na and Ri-on was an accident! Ji Sung says that he suggested to pretend as if he’s kissing Park Seo-joon but they ended up bumping into each other during that scene, and Yo-na ended up stealing a peck from Ri-on. He thinks that Park Seo-joon is cute and thanked him for receiving Yo-na well.
- The secret behind the line “Don’t show your teeth!” by Yo-na: it was an ad-lib during the scene! When they filmed the scene in which Yo-na first appeared in front of Ri-jin, they didn’t do any rehearsal beforehand and HJE was so astonished when JS changed into Yo-na that she couldn’t give a proper reaction. She was trying not to laugh, so JS just said to her that line.
- How about Yo-na’s lip tint which was so popular that it was sold out after the episode was aired? JS was shocked to read the news about it, but he felt good although he was not a woman. The lip tint was like a ‘weapon’ for Yo-na and it became more natural for JS to apply the lip tint. HERA, the lip tint’s brand, also gave it as a present to him but of course JS doesn’t wear it himself!
- Most of Yo-na and Ferry’s lines were actually JS’s ad-libs. Writer Jin Soo-wan wrote the framework for the scenes and JS felt that it was his duty to make the scenes even more entertaining. Ferry’s final scene contained lots of his ad-libs. JS confessed that he wasn’t an actor who could do ad-lib. He used to wonder how other actors did so, but he realizes that it would come out naturally when he concentrated on his characters. He was happy that he got to do it to his heart’s content this time, expressing the lines straight from his heart.
JS’s manner hands had become a hot topic after Se-gi protected Ri-jin’s head in the fifth and tenth episodes. He was initially embarrassed to talk about it, but then explained that even his wife didn’t know about the back story. It was something he learned from his mother, who told him that it is natural for a woman to receive love from a man. He did the same thing to LBY and she asked him about the reason but he kept silent about it.
Talking about his popularity in China, he is being cautious since he does feel the pressure. Although the drama has not yet aired in China, KMHM has been leading the search ranking in the country’s sites, but JS states humbly that he will see how it goes after the drama has aired in China. He thinks that the popularity of Korean dramas in China and Japan increases the foreign interest on South Korea, and even if he becomes popular in China, he feels that it’s not because of himself but his responsibility of an actor, spreading the wonders of his country to others. He wishes that KMHM will receive as much love as it got in Korea and felt proud that lots of Korean actors are good in acting, contributing to the popularity of Korean dramas overseas.
JS realizes that the popularity he received was on the level of an idol because of the drama’s popularity among the younger audience and he feels lucky and thankful to receive lots of love from them. Kim Amy, the child actress playing the younger Ri-jin, even asked him what she should call him: brother (oppa) or uncle (samchon)? He told her to call him oppa without thinking much about it (although he was actually older than the kid’s father) and he was delighted when the girl promised to call him Ji Sung oppa forever. That’s so cute! Although he’s not sure when the idol treatment will come to an end, he’s accepting it with open arms.
He doesn’t feel burdened with the expectation on his next project, because he chose not be burdened with it. It is normal to feel nervous, expecting what kind of project he will get next, but he will concentrate on it once he feels that this is the project for him. He avoids having thoughts of pressure and expectation, because just like climbing a mountain, life also has its ups and downs. He’s ready to go down coolly, but wishes that KMHM will remain in the fans’ memories for a long time. As for JS himself, he wants to get over it as soon as possible so that he can concentrate on his next project.
P/s: Please pardon the spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes and the translation mistakes! Heeeeee I thought it would take a short time to browse through the news and do a summary of Ji Sung’s interview, but I ended up crying while reading the excerpts. LOL I only have myself to blame for being such a crybaby! So it turned out to be a long post. Anyway, enjoy~! ^^v