action, romance, optimism, kindness

Ji-won: Yes, those would be interesting challenges. I’m open to any role that would challenge me, but I’m not ready yet to give up on action-type roles. After all, men perform in those roles well into their fifties, why not women?

Lover: I can’t argue with that, but I have to be blunt, I’m not really into action movies – though with you as the hero I’d comfortably make an exception. But I find James Bond, for example, the most insufferably boring character on the planet. Scenes of violence in movies either bore me (when they’re meant to be exciting) or cause me too much real pain (when they’re meant to highlight human cruelty). I can’t watch war movies, for the same reason that I could never join the military. Violence sickens me, and I’d be happy to put my queer shoulder to the wheel to find alternative solutions. I prefer dramas with complex characters and clever language. Dilemmas, moral complexities – and of course romance.

Ji-won: Well, romance is a pretty strong theme in my work, but often I find it hard – even harder than action stuff. Love and loss, and all the uncertainties… It can be very draining, emotionally. And even when it ends happily, the series or the movie ends, and the character I fell in love with vanishes.

Lover: And your own character vanishes and you’re back to being good old Ji-won.

Ji-won: Well you know that’s one value of being single – I’d hate to put a partner through all my anguish regarding my relationships with other characters!

Lover: Ha you really think deeply about others, even imaginary others! I’d love to talk more about your singlehood, being as I’m in love with you and all that, but it’s a scary subject and I don’t want to lose your trust, so let me talk more about your work, both as an actor and as – well, as a celebrity, in relation to your fans. I know you found celebrity difficult to deal with in the early days, and yet you seemed to actively seek it. Can you talk about that… contradiction?

Ji-won: Well, mmmm… [ long pause] I don’t think I was seeking celebrity, what I wanted was to be successful in my career, the best I could be. I didn’t really make the connection, not consciously, that success in this business would lead to celebrity. Then I started getting fan letters, and they were really touching and caring, and really supportive of me, and so I wanted to succeed for their sake in a way. To make myself worthy of their support. Also, celebrity became a kind of challenge for me, to move in that kind of spotlight world and yet be myself, or to try to be my best self in that world. Not to lose myself. And also I want to use celebrity for good and not badness ha ha.

Lover: Well I think you’ve promoted the cause of strong, independent women, both in your roles and in your off-screen life and activities, but you’ve also promoted, through your personality, a lot of other positive values, such as optimism and enthusiasm, a strong work ethic, sensitivity and care for others, team spirit… I’m sure I could go on ha ha.

Ji-won: That’s enough, thank you, haha, you’re very kind.


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