In the midst of their splendid youth, actors Yeo Jin-goo and Cho Yi-hyun are ready to love with all their heart.
Twenty Six, Twenty Four
In the movie Ditto (동감), which will be premiering in November, both of you only communicate with each other through the walkie-talkie. Has it been a while since the last time you meet each other in person?
Yeo Jin-goo (YJG): It has been a while. Has it been a few months already?
Cho Yi-hyun (CYH): It has been two months since we wrapped up filming. Even during the filming, we actually did not have that many scenes together, so we could not meet frequently.
Despite that, both of you seem to be quite close with each other, right?
CYH: Sunbae-nim has been in the industry for a long time, doing various dramas, movies, and even variety shows, so he is more like a celebrity to me. (laughs) I also had great time watching his projects, so it is such an enjoyable moment to be able to act together with such a great actor like him.
YJG: Why does it sound like you are teasing me? We don’t have that much of an age gap, right?
CYH: I still remember something: he gave me his phone number and then asked, “You aren’t saving it as sunbae-nim, are you?” Actually, I was already writing down ‘sunbae-nim’ at that moment. (laughs) I am the type of person who is shy, but he approached me first and made me comfortable to approach him too.
The project that brings the two of you together is a remake of the 2000 film of the same title, Ditto. When you first received the script, what was your first impression?
YJG: There was a time when I frequently watched melodramatic movies from the 1900s and 2000s. The script turns out to be based on one of those movies. I think, ‘I’ve never imagined that I’d get to do this kind of project.’ I really wanted to do it, since it would be a chance for me to portray the image of a young and innocent student in his 20s. I think that this will be a project that brings out a mixture of emotions from the viewers. It might be a chance for people to reminisce on the past and look back on the present through this project.
CYH: After doing strong character like in All of Us are Dead, this projects felt like a gift to me when I was looking for a project in which I could act comfortably. As I read through the script, I fell in love with the unique characteristics of the project, namely the warmth and the softness of it, so I said yes without any hesitation. I also thought that I had to do a good job since the original movie was a hit.
The situation is reversed compared to the original, which is what makes it interesting. (Yeo) Jin-goo portrays the character Yong living in 1999, while (Cho) Yi-hyun acts as Mu-nee in the year 2022.
CYH: Mu-nee is someone who knows how to express herself clearly. She is full of determination. Even when she decides to forego love and agonize herself over it, she still leads herself to make an effort in solving the issue. As someone who is living in the same era as her, I can relate with Mu-nee and feel some similarities with her.
YJG: Yong might be the character that is the closest to my real self among the roles I have portrayed in the past, not only in terms of personality but also how he socializes with his friends. I also loves the background in which he lives, the 1990s. Although I only got to experience the era indirectly through this project, I was happy to be able to explore the era I am always curious about. Perhaps, it is as if I come back from my past life back then? (laughs)
What are the things Yong and Mu-nee talk about through the radio?
YJG: They talk about things that every 20-year-old worry about: love, dreams, and career path. Rather than providing a solution to their problems, their existence as someone who lends an ear to each other is enough of a reason for them to be the source of strength for each other. They believe that it is a miracle for them to be able to share their thoughts beyond their respective eras. As I went through the filming, I also thought that it would be great if I got to experience something like that too.
CYH: The anonymity between two strangers might be the reason why it is easier for them to be frank in sharing their worries with each other. There are times when it feels so difficult to tell someone close about something, yet it is so easy to share your worries with someone you are not familiar with. Yong and Mu-nee maintains that very distance with each other throughout the movie.
Are you the type of person who expresses your thoughts or lends your ears?
YJG: No matter how you look at it, sharing your concerns also involve give and take. (laughs) If there is someone who is willing to hear me out, then I want to be the person who listens to their worries. I think I am someone who does not feel any burden for being in either position. It is also one way of building attachment with someone when both have something to share.
It seems like you do not have any fear of showing your inner struggles to anyone.
YJG: In the end, you will be getting along with the person you share your worries with for a long time. Of course, there is also the need to be cautious in expressing my innermost thoughts to others. But then, isn’t it less of a burden to think that expressing yourself is also a way of sharing your feelings with the other person? It might be helpful to approach our movie with this thought. This story is the medium born out of such bond.
CYH: As for me myself, I am the type that lends my ears to others. Perhaps it also has to do with me spending most of my time at home, so they would come finding me when they have anything that bugs them. (laughs) On the other hand, I like to put aside my worries or let it pass, thinking, ‘Time will solve all’.
How do you react to those who tell you their thoughts?
CYH: Most of the time it is just ‘I see’ as I listen to them until the end. That might be the reason making it more comfortable for them to talk to me.
Jin-goo said in one interview that you became a love coach to many of your friends. These days, what kind of things you hear from your friends?
YJG: There are a variety of them; of ordinary and trivial feelings experienced by those who are in love. Rather than talking based on my own experience, I share what I have learned and felt about various types of love that I encountered through my projects.
Coincidentally, you are also portraying a romanticist who is true to his feelings. What have you learned through Yong this time around?
YJG: Watching Yong and his love stirs something deep in my heart. I think that these days, I put the emphasis on reality rather than romance. Looking back at it, the 20s are the time when one will go through thick and thin in the name of love, but I wonder if it is really the right thing for me to keep focusing on building my spec as I live through my 20s.
CYH: I also have the same thought. What I feel throughout the filming was the love I wanted to have was a relationship where I would be willing to bet my life with. My heart is filled with the dream of experiencing such cool love only seen in movies, but on the other hand, I also think about the fact that career and friends are more important than love to me at the moment. (laughs)
YJG: Although there are different tendencies to it, love might be the reason for change in oneself. We might endure something for the sake of someone we love, and we might discover a new side to it in the process. Love might seem like something common but with different facets to it, and that is probably the reason why it is such a difficult emotion.
It would be so nice to have someone over the radio giving love and relationship advice.
YJG: It would be nice to hear a romanticist’s advice for once. Since I started acting from I was very young, there is this feeling that my life itself has become some sort of a career. Just like what Yi-hyun said earlier, sometimes I think to myself, ‘Will I be able to throw everything away for the sake of love?’ If I am to choose between love and career, will I be able to choose love? Thus, I wonder if having someone tell me, “You should be in love at all cost” will give me the confidence that I need.
You would not lose your career just because you choose love.
YJG: That is right. What makes my heart stir is that point exactly. Well, career is something that can be achieved at any time as long as I make an effort for it, but love is not something I can find when I want to. Hence, that leaves me thinking why have I been putting it aside until now. I want to experience the weight of love now, but I do not know if it will work out.
CYH: Love is not something that you can do at once although you want to, and that is the problem, although I really want to find love right now. (laughs)
YJG: That is exactly my case. (laughs)
CYH: I have so many things to do right now so it might be pushed to the back, but I want to be able to love if there is an opportunity to do so.
Do you have a vague imagination of love in your mind?
YJG: There is this one dream I have since a long time ago. I want to live in a house with a yard. I even have the plan for children: son, daughter, daughter. (laughs) I think that even to my wife, having two daughters is better than just a pair of son and daughter.
CYH: Girls talk, that is nice.
YJG: Seeing them together will definitely make me happy. I also want to raise a huge puppy in the yard. I have this dream, but there are just too many things to be done before that. (laughs)
CYH: There is this thing that married people always say: “I have never imagined that I would be married to that person.” Aside from imagining the dream marriage, I always think that I might be able to marry him at once if such person ever appear in front of me.
YJG: This is such a romantic thought, but the marriage does not just happen when you decide to marry, but rather when you meet the person you want to marry and the confidence you have towards that person will be the reason for the marriage to take place.
Both of you seem to believe in fate.
CYH: I strongly believe in it.
YJG: Me too. Fate seems to exist in life.
The present is the brightest moment, for both of you and also Yong and Mu-nee, who mature through their radio encounter. How do you want this moment to be remembered?
CYH: I really love spending time at home. On the days off, I mostly spend my time on the bed. One day, when I look back at these days, I hope that I won’t regret lying on my bed. (laughs) There might be times when I really need a good rest, so it will be great to have me thinking to myself, “You made the right choice back then!”
YJG: I will be fine even if I cannot recall this exact moment. It will be remembered as the time I continue to do my best without being too tied up or feeling comfortable in my 20s and my youth. ‘What did I do when I was 26? I think I lived diligently just like now.’ It would be nice to remember it just like that.
Not forgetting loving with all your heart too.
YJG: Of course. (laughs)