[Interview] Jung Eun Ji Understands Her Fans Better Now through ‘Reply 1997’
If you didn’t know who Jung Eun Ji was, or that this girl is a member of the idol group A Pink, you could take her to be a very skilled rookie actress.
From her sorrowful sobs to her antics as a crazy fan of H.O.T., every act she puts on makes her seem like an actress who’s received a lot of training.
Jung Eun Ji, however, is a first-time actor who has never been taught how to act, and yet she’s doing well with her role as Sung Si Won in tvN’s Reply 1997. Her teamwork with her partner, Seo In Guk, is also very good.
“I’ve never received proper acting classes. I only attended one class before I auditioned for Reply 1997 because I told my agency I wanted to take lessons. I’m originally from Busan, so my dialect helped, and my real personality is similar to Si Won’s. That’s why it was more comfortable for me to act.”
Now, the drama’s making issues here and there and is fairly popular, but before it started up, Jung Eun Ji said she had been worried out of her wits. She was especially worried that she would be criticized for her acting.
When she found that she was being praised, however, Jung Eun Ji said, “I’m so thankful. I didn’t expect the reactions to be like this.”
Jung Eun Ji’s role Sung Si Won is a high school student in 1997 who’s crazy for H.O.T. Jung Eun Ji herself is the member of an idol group, which made it more interesting to see her act as a fan.
“It was actually hard for me to relate to the crazy fan acts because I’ve never loved an idol like that. [There’s a scene in which] Si Won climbs over a wall surrounding H.O.T.’s home, opens their front door and says, ‘Oppa, I’m from Busan,’ but the H.O.T. oppas say ‘I’m from America’ and close the door on her. Si Won, however, blames herself, saying that she ‘made the oppas more tired.’ I wasn’t able to understand such scenes, but now that I’ve stepped closer to Si Won’s feelings I can now understand.”
In the process of understanding Si Won, Jung Eun Ji is also slowly starting to understand her fans more.
“I still don’t have fans like Si Won. One fan, though, once saw me and started crying. I wondered why the fan had cried, but after acting as Si Won I started to learn that fans could feel that way. I’ve started to watch my fans more closely, and I’ve started to understand them, too.”
Jung Eun Ji was also worried that her idol fan role would make it seem as if she was making fun of fans.
“I thought a lot about how I should make [Si Won] lovable. I kept an eye on our fans. Thankfully, she didn’t turn out to be an obnoxious character. My fans liked her, too. I believe they think I’ve started to understand how they feel.”
Because her first act was successful, Jung Eun Ji has fallen for the charms of acting.
“Acting is so much fun. I feel great that I’ve taken a successful first step. I still think, though, that I need to study more acting. For this piece my dialect was a strength, but if I want to continue acting I need to fix it.”
When told she was a successful idol actor that followed in the footsteps of Im Si Wan and Suzy with her first piece, Jung Eun Ji shook her head and said that was a huge bit of praise for her.
“Nineties retro is the trend these days, and I was lucky because I have a dialect. I should work harder. I’m just thankful that you thought set my name alongside big issue-making seniors such as Im Si Wan and Suzy.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan, tvN