This means the end for Prosecutor Princess!
This upcoming drama has had a lot of its own backstage drama, with schedule shifting and Kim Nam Gil and Han Ga In‘s sicknesses. However, they have forged ahead, and now will be premiering next week (since Prosecutor Princess ends this week). At the press conference were Kim Nam Gil, Kim Jae Wook (Coffee Prince), Han Ga In (Witch Amusement), and Oh Yeon Su (The Queen Returns, La Dolce Vita).
Kim’s character Shim Gun Wook was once mistaken as the heir to Haeshin Group that was abandoned when a baby. He lived the good life until a DNA test proved that he was lying. He was kicked out again, and Gun Wook decided to swear revenge against the family. He comes up with a plan to be the perfect man, and approaches Haeshin Group’s youngest daughter, Hong Monet (played by Jung So Min). Monet’s older sister Tae Ra (Oh Yeon Su) despises Gun Wook at first, but the more she meets him the more she develops different feelings towards him. And on top of that Moon Jae In (Han Ga In) is an average girl who dreams of wealth – through Hong Tae Sung (Kim Jae Wook), the actual heir to Haeshin Group.
But then of course – there’s also the possibility that Gun Wook and Jae In will fall in love too.
The following is an excerpt of their press conference. (Kim Nam Gil sounds like a fun joker – he just has some gem lines that are way too cute and unexpected from his image). Everyone but Oh seemed to get the message that they were supposed to wear black-and-white to the event. The only maddening thing is, everyone looks fine when they take a picture from the waist up, but when you look at the whole ensemble it’s just… blegh. And Kim Jae Wook’s hair! Kim Nam Gil’s cropped pants!
10: Character Shim Gun-wook is introduced as a ‘Mr. Perfect.’ I think it would have been inevitable to keep telling yourself that while in shoot. Was there anything in particular that you prepared for this character?
Kim Nam-gil (Kim NG): To be frank, Gun-wook is the type of person who has gained his abilities by working hard at them, instead of being someone who is just ‘good’ at everything, and they include things such as sky diving. I liked the action in “Queen Seon-deok” and “Lovers” and I enjoyed it too so I think people thought I was good because I didn’t really pull back from doing such scenes. But for this production, I’m planning on focusing more on my acting abilities rather than such external elements. I think no matter what I do, I can’t break away from my role in “Seon-deok” and it’s a bit sad that I have to be talking about myself like that but I want to act with depth because this job doesn’t accept excuses. It’s the same for the other actors as well. Everyone is working really hard because Han Ga-in is returning to dramas after a three-year hiatus, I want to break away from my previous character Bidam, Oh Yeon-su wants to go beyond her role in “La Dolce Vita” and Jae-wook wants to break out of the gay image.
LOL – so I guess Kim Jae Wook was very aware of his image.
Han Ga-in (Han): I’ve been getting less sleep because the premiere date is just around the corner and I’m very worried because it’s been three years since I’ve acted. I met with director Lee Hyung-min during the time I had kept thinking to myself that ‘I have to do this now’ and I really liked the role and synopsis of the drama, which was unlike any of my previous work and I decided to take the role after I found out Kim Nam-gil was going to star in it as well.
Kim NG: I heard that lately you’ve been regretting it…(laugh)
10: Your character Moon Jae-in was always first place in school and graduated from a prestigious college which fits right in with the image the audience have of you.
Kim NG: I think Han herself probably thinks that way too! (laugh)
Han: Ah…I did study hard with a goal of getting into a good school. So I agree. (laugh)
Kim NG: That is why there is this big gap whenever we talk. Han worked really hard in high school to reach her goals of going to a good school while as for me I’m far from that…
10: Oh Yeon-su, you mentioned you might want to break away from MBC’s “Sweet Life,” but in a way, the two shows could be seen as having similar flows.
Oh Yeon-su (Oh): It is same in that I fall in love with a younger man but it is completely different as well. My character Yoon Hye-jin in “Sweet Life” was a boring woman who loved her husband too much and lost her place. But Hong Tae-ra is a strong woman. She’s the kind of woman who has never fallen in love and got married out of convenience but after falling deeply in love with Gun-wook she feels this emotion where she would be even willing to abandon her family and child.
10: Kim Jae-wook, you play a strong character as well, unlike your previous roles.
Kim Jae-wook (Kim JW): The gay character I played had a much long-lasting effect than I had expected it to, to the point that I thought ‘Did I really seem that gay.’ (laugh) So I was looking for an opportunity when I was given this role. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel any pressure about my gay image but it wasn’t that bad. I felt it was more important to pull out what I have inside me through “Antique” and this production instead of trying to solidify my determination to break away from the gay image. The show is called “Bad Boy” and no one is certain whether Gun-wook or Tae-sung is the bad boy. It will be fun creating this character because there has never been a role where the two men are similar and different at the same time and who have worked with many women.
10: Gun-wook and Jae-in are determined to climb the social ladder and Tae-ra wants to love. What kind of person do you think Tae-sung is and what does he want?
Kim JW: I think the most important thing that Hong Tae-sung wants and needs in life is love — he is desperate to be loved by a family in particular. But he is unable to obtain love no matter how much he desires for it and causes trouble like an attention-deprived child by expressing it in extreme ways like biting everything, similar to a dog that is left home alone. That is why those around him grow further away from him and that is when he slowly begins to approach the smart and charming Jae-in who is unlike any of the other girls he has met in his life. Of course Tae-sung doesn’t know that is was set up by Gun-wook and I think unconsciously he believes that through Jae-in, he can heal himself and be able to show his family a new image. He’s not the kind of person who calculates things so in the long run, I think he just wants love.
10: I recently heard that during the shoot, Kim Nam-gil and Han Ga-in were sick.
Han: I was rushed to the emergency room during the shoot because I had a very bad stomachache and then I heard two hours later that Kim Nam-gil was diagnosed with having a hernia. I heard he hadn’t even been able to walk properly and it would have affected our shoots if we were in the latter half of drama but it hurt before we started, as if I had the measles.
Kim NG: The director and cast had been hoping to make a film-like drama but things are busy on set because the premiere date has been moved up and Han and I were sick. And it was when I had my hernia that I was invited to attend Jang Dong-gun and Ko So-young’s wedding. I couldn’t not go because they called me directly to invite me to the ceremony but if you see the pictures I have a scowl which made it seem like I was jealous of them. (laugh)
Q: I think you’ve lost a bit more weight. Is it because of the hernia?
Kim Nam-gil: Hm, because director Lee gives me a hard time? (laugh) I actually slept after eating ramen at five in the morning so it’s a relief to hear that. (laugh) I lost weight once for film “Lovers Vanished and just didn’t have to gain weight after shooting “Queen Seondeok” for six, seven months. I’m not trying to lose weight but I just do and there are also scenes where I have to take off my clothes so…
Q: How was it working with director Lee Hyung-min?
Kim NG: I miss director Park Hong-kyun from “Queen Seon-deok.” Park was someone who is into the details but director Lee is also like that but to the extent that I felt like I was suffocating. So I called director Park recently and told him I miss him. (laugh)
Q: There are articles mentioning your military entry. How do you think this will pan out?
Kim NG: I don’t know yet because nothing has been set. There are cases where the actor has to leave mid-way but I need to wrap up the drama and I’m in a situation where I can’t say exactly when I’ll be going.
Q: Kim Nam-gil, you’re working in a melodrama with married women again. It was like that last time too when you were in “Queen Seondeok” with actress Lee Yo-won.
Kim NG: I was very happy upon hearing Han Ga-in was cast. She’s every guy’s dream so of course I was happy but I find myself maintaining a distance from actresses who are married, despite my desire to be involved in a scandal and experience the feeling of dating my acting partner. Han actually hates me calling her ‘ajumma [Korean term for middle-aged woman].’ I said it as a way of complimenting her easy-going and warm personality but she didn’t like it. (laugh)
Q: Han Ga-in, many male celebrities pick you as their ideal woman. Does it bother you in any way at all in the sense that you feel that you should take care of your image?
Han: First of all, I thank those of you who picked me as your ideal type of woman.
Kim NG: It sounds like you’re delivering an acceptance speech. Sounds like you won the ‘Ideal Woman World Cup.’ (laugh)
Han: I’m actually very happy every time I win that. And of them, there are some who I too think are very good-looking but I’m afraid they’ll no longer have a fantasy over me so I think it would be better that we don’t meet. (laugh) I’m more grateful than careful of the fact that they like me. I would like to work with them if I get the chance.
Q: Oh Yeon-su, you’re 10 years older than Kim Nam-gil. Does this bother you?
Oh: I worked with Lee Dong-wook in “Sweet Life” and he was 10 years younger than me but I have a young mental age so it didn’t really get to me. It rather felt like he was an older brother and I don’t feel that Kim is young either. I’m not saying this to make myself look younger — I’m just immature. (laugh)
Q: Did you feel any pressure over having to shoot ‘passionately romantic’ scenes? And how did your husband Son Ji-chang respond to them?
Oh: I haven’t shot them yet but I had been feeling the pressure because there have been articles written about those scenes since a while ago. But there is a limit to how much you can show on television and Hong-tae is not someone who would love someone in a lukewarm attitude because he is a character who will risk his everything for his love. I think that’s why it’s being expressed in such a way. My husband hasn’t said anything about it in particular because he doesn’t really mind what I do but he did talk about “Sweet Life” two years later. He said I “overdid it a bit back then.” That’s how I knew he had been bearing it in mind. (laugh) My husband actually doesn’t mind it that much but he said people around him were asking how he felt. I think it’s strange that they would ask such questions. What kind of response do they expect to hear? No matter how much my husband tells me that it’s okay, it could still get to him if he keeps getting asked that question. But acting is my job so I don’t think we’d ever fight because of it.
Q: Kim Jae-wook, you’ve mostly worked with male actors in your age range in your previous works such as TV series “The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince” and film “Antique.”
Kim JW: Everyone is a female this time except for Kim Nam-gil so I’m very happy. (laugh) I couldn’t be any happier about going to set. Most of the people I had worked with before were guys.
Q: I actually meant to ask you about how your chemistry is with Kim Nam-gil. (laugh)
Kim JW: He is just such a great actor to start with so when we went to shoot on location in Japan, I went to watch his shoots even if I had none. There are so many things to learn from him and we talk to each other a lot even while we’re in shoot. But I can’t quite seem to be able to figure him out — he’ll be serious one moment and be joking around the next — so he’s like a time bomb. Oh, but in a good way. (laugh)
Q: The expectation level for “Bad Boy” is high but it could also easily seem like a heavy subject. Do you have any premonitions or expectations about how well the show will do in terms of ratings?
Kim JW: Ratings are very important but a drama is all about the story so if what we’re trying to relay to the audience is something that could easily be considered a heavy subject, then I think it’s only proper that we let it stay that way. And when it’s done in the right way, I think the show would steal people’s hearts, regardless of how heavy or light the topic is. I think such a belief will help us be more confident too.
Kim NG: It’s impossible not to become increasingly greedy about the ratings for the show as the date for the premiere nears but I also think it’s difficult for an actor to get the chance to work in a drama which has ratings as high as “Queen Seondeok” — you’re lucky if it happens even once during a lifetime. So rather than the ratings, I want to hear that I did good acting in a good production.