[Interview] Kim So Eun Says Bright Characters Have Changed Her Personality
The world is a balance of brightness and darkness. The same goes for dramas, which link together stories that could happen in real life into a string of episodes, because if the air of the story sways only to one side, viewers can be easily tired out from watching it. The writer keeps this in mind and works hard to keep the balance between the incidents and the characters.
The role Kim So Eun plays in MBC’s drama A Thousand Kisses, which is full of affairs, divorces, secret histories and sad love relationships that will never work, is, in these terms, on the ‘bright’ side.
The drama continues on its sad way, but once the Woo Joo Mi (Kim So Eun) and Woo Jin (Ryu Jin) couple appear with their sweet love antics, viewers find themselves smiling along with the characters.
Kim So Eun resembled the character Joo Mi. For the entire time we talked in a café, we continued to laugh thanks to her characteristic brightness. More than half of the recording of our conversation was full of laughter.
17 Years Younger than Her Partner
One thing that made issues since A Thousand Kisses held its first press conference was the age difference between Kim So Eun and Ryu Jin, who would be acting as lovers in the drama. Their characters were set to be nine years apart, but in real life Ryu Jin, at 39, is 17 years older than Kim So Eun, who is 22 years old. Many were worried on whether they wouldn’t find it hard to act like lovers, because Kim is almost young enough to be Ryu’s daughter.
“He’s so caring. I’m much younger than him, but he always treats me in such a friendly manner that I keep forgetting, so I’m thankful. When I’m cold, he takes off his jacket for me, and when we’re filming next to a road he lets me stand on the inside of the sidewalk… He cares for the little things. That’s why our acting [as lovers] comes so naturally.”
She chose as the most memorable scene as the one in which Woo Jin had to lift Joo Mi in his arms with an IV attached to his arm. The scene looked so sweet on TV, but she said the scene was only perfected after tens of no good tries and an hour and half long shoot.
“He had to lift me up with an IV on his arm, and we kept making mistakes because the line kept getting tangled. Ryu Jin had to lift me up more than 20 times. I was sorry because although he didn’t try to show it, I could see he was exhausted.”
Wants to be in Real Love
In her previous piece, the KBS1 drama Good Days when the Wind Blows, she married and divorced a man 10 years older than her. In A Thousand Kisses, she’s wed Woo Jin, and is already caring for their baby she’s pregnant with. The real Kim So Eun, however, is still a 22 year old college student.
“I always want to be in love, but because my situation won’t let me, I’m satisfying myself instead through Joo Mi. Since I only go back and forth between the set, then my house, then the set, then my house again, there’s no chance for me to get a boyfriend. I want to ask people who still manage to be in relationships under these conditions how they do it. Ryu Jin says he doesn’t remember. (Laugh)”
Because she’s acting out marriage, which she has never experienced before, she always tries to get advice from Ryu Jin and is also always led by him. She found it easy to act, however, because she likes doing lovey-dovey things like Joo Mi does when she’s in relationships.
“I have experience in relationships. When I was in a relationship in the past I used to make cakes and plan events for my boyfriend. Now…. I really want to be in love."
Continuing on with Bright Characters
It’s already been six years since she made her debut in 2005 with the MBC drama Sea of Sisters. She’s continued to clear a path for herself with many dramas, films and commercial films, but she still feels she can do better.
Starting with Choo Ga Eul in the KBS2 drama Boys over Flowers, which won her the Rookie Award at the KBS Drama Awards, to Jung Yoo Jin in The Man Who Can’t Get Married, Kwon Oh Bok in Good Days when the Wind Blows and the most recent Woo Joo Mi in A Thousand Kisses, she’s continued to act in slightly different yet similarly bright characters.
“I’m actually pretty cold, but I think acting in bright characters for about three years has made my personality more outgoing.”
She started out as a child star, went through important supporting roles and in the end grabbed a lead role for herself, but she’s in no rush.
“I’m usually relaxed and positive. I don’t think ‘I have to get an award’ or ‘I need to succeed’. I just think if I keep stepping up a step at a time, good things will come my way. I want to hear people say ‘I watch that drama and that film because an actress named Kim So Eun is in it’. I also want to be acknowledged as a humane actress.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Gwan
Translation credit: Erika Kim