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Interview from the drama set with Song Hye-gyo
by | October 6, 2008 | 25 Comments

With Song Hye-gyo gearing up to come back to television, she’s again in the spotlight (not that she’s ever really out of it) after taking some time since her last project, the high-budget flop that was the film Hwang Jini. (Her performance was seen as passable, but the movie itself was not a success.)

DongA.com conducted an interview with the actress while on set for her new KBS drama The World They Live In (director Pyo Min-su, writer Noh Hee-kyung), co-starring Hyun Bin.

With her thirties approaching (she’s 28, Korean age), she mentioned that she’d likely be turning her thoughts seriously to marriage once she’s in her thirties. She said up-front, “t would be nice to have a boyfriend. I think I’d like best someone I could connect with through conversation.” Of course, she recognizes that as a top star, this is easier said than done, with one’s every action under the strict scrutiny of others.


This is, in fact, something she’s learned from her past experience as part of a high-profile star couple (she dated Lee Byung-heon after the two starred in the drama All In). “The viewers suddenly learned, while in the midst of watching a drama I was acting in, that I was somebody’s girlfriend. In the end, this was an obstacle and only served to create a sense of dislike among viewers.”

Now she’s learned to draw a clear line between private and public life. Furthermore, she’s changed her outlook on projects, saying that while she’d previously chosen her projects thinking of overseas exposure, “now I won’t hesitate to take risks. I want to be a prolific actor and work in a variety of genres and characters, and experiment as much as I want.”

 

 

It hasn’t seemed that long, but it’s actually been four years since you were in a drama.

“Maybe it’s because the dramas are re-aired. In the summer it’s always Full House, in the fall it’s Autumn Fairy Tale, and All In in the winter. Cable television keeps airing them.”

In this drama, your occupation is a drama PD.

“I’ve because I’ve seen this as keeping a promise with director Pyo Min-su, whom I worked with on Full House. Joining with him again was a clear choice, and I’d always wanted to do something that scriptwriter Noh Hee-kyung had written. I like her writing so much that it makes acting more difficult, and I’m more careful for fear I won’t do well.”

Through your work in the drama, you’ve seen the perspective as a PD. Have you wondered what it is that a PD desires of the actors?

“Isn’t it enough to act well?” [Laughs.]

What kind of change will we see in twenty-eight-year-old Song Hye-gyo as an actor?

“If I stay up all night even once, I’ll have dark circles under my eyes. As an actor, I think my sense of responsibility has grown stronger. I’ve also come to want to achieve more in my acting.”

You look like you’ve lost some weight and matured.

“I think so too, say if I watch the drama Autumn Fairy Tale and compare myself with how I am now. Back then, it was like I was practically bursting. [Laughs.] In the end, constant exercise is the answer. I run, cycle, and do a lot of outdoor exercise.”

Song Hye-gyo shines more in dramas than in movies.

“Wait and see. I’ll show you more in my film work.”

When you finish this drama, you have John Woo’s film 1949 awaiting you.

“Starting in February, filming will begin and I’ll be going back and forth to Taiwan and China to cities like Shanghai. I’ll be swamped as I work on the drama and study Chinese at the same time. This drama will go on record as being the drama with the most amount of dialogue that I work on in my life. Or in other words, it’s one hurdle after another.”

Your Hollywood debut film Make Yourself at Home was invited to this year’s Pusan International Film Festival.

“It’s an independent film. It’s marketed as a Hollywood debut, which is a very big burden. I’d merely thought of it as a plot I liked, combined with my desire to try something in the English language.”

What is the everyday Song Hye-gyo like?

“When I’m not working, I travel, hang out with friends, and take the chance to learn things I’d been wanting to learn. I cook at home occasionally. I can do most Korean food pretty well — my mother says that my cooking is better.”

Via DongA.com, and DongA again.

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25 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Kobe

    Nice interview but it’s sad to hear she thinks she was fat back in Autumn Tale :(

  2. belleza

    @Kobe,

    “Nice interview but it’s sad to hear she thinks she was fat back in Autumn Tale”

    She was also considered very stocky in All In. And of course Kim Sun Ah was “obese” in My Name Is Kim Sam Soon.

    Which is to say, we often say Korean actresses are anorexic. But what do Koreans think of us? :(

  3. Jessica

    @ belleza

    Not just Koreans, but all Asians seem to feel this way. In the States everyone says I’m so thing but whenever I go back to Taiwan my relatives all comment on how “lucky” I look :(

  4. belleza

    “Not just Koreans, but all Asians seem to feel this way.”

    Oh you’re right. Most young people I know in Tokyo are almost as thin as Jung Ryeo Won (whom yes looks dangerously underweight to me.) I hate to say this: we as a country in no position to judge other nations for being too thin.

  5. Miki

    I’ve always found her so pretty…. And I remember distinctly that I liked her back then because she was still gorgeous, but she looked strong. Both personality-wise and physically.

    Kim Sun-Ah is gorgeous. Six 6-8 is not obese, and some people are healthier that size than say, size 0-2. I have no problem with Koreans being that size (I recognize they’re usually more petite) if they’re healthy, but it’s sad to hear that they think they looked “bursting” and need to lose weight at size 4-6.

    @ Jezzica- Better than me. I’m not thin by any means, but I’m pretty healthy, at size 4 or so. But when I go to Asia, they all say… “How… big you’ve grown!” and joke about it. They’re not mean about it, so it doesn’t bother me, just that they view people size 4 as too big. Then again, my SCHOOL l views a lot of people size 4 as “too big”, regardless of their actual health…. not just idiotic boys but the girls as well. So who are we Americans to say?

    “Healthy image” is just the perception of the intelligent people, but come on, how many can you say are really intelligent? Just look at all the idiots in the fashion business turning down girls for being too fat, and THEN turning down (as the new trend) plus-size models for not being “fat” enough, and in the right places.

  6. Kobe

    Asians tend to have very unhealthy body images, but to be fair, we are naturally skinny so it’s not really our fault. Back when I was younger it took me years of weight training and force feeding just to gain a bit of weight, but then lost at all when I started working full time. In the West, if you’re a man and thin, you’re considered weak and feminine.

    Thin Asian girls don’t have it as bad as the petite look suits them, but I still very much prefer the “practically bursting” look that SHK had in Autumn Tale :P

  7. mily2

    thank you sarah.. i love SHK.. can’t wait for her new drama!!

  8. popcorn

    I guess the perception of thin/fat depends upon each country. Women in the west are usually taller and more volumnated in size but in actuallity some of the models I seen on T.V. are really anorexic. The trends of fashion can be scary…

    In Asian countries because most of the women are skinny it’s harder on women in the west to maintain that similar perception with the dfference in eating and exercise. it’s actually pretty tough on me because when I look at all of my Asian friends which are skinny, even the guys too, I feel like I’m quite “chubby” in comparison. However, some Americans consider I’m average. I’m working hard thought to “exhibit” myself as “skinny” though. haha

    I think as long as you look healthy it doesn’t matter what your weight is. Weight is just a number the more important thing is to look and be healthy. : )

  9. belleza

    Back to the article . . .

    Tone seems still a little unsure and defensive. She seems pretty assured of her popularity, but you can tell she wants to prove her worth as an actress, and that it is still a sore point for her. You can still sense her ambivalence over Autumn in My Heart; she herself felt that the role was a real struggle for her. She, who had never led in a proper drama before, was meant to do another role in the drama before Kim Hee Sun dropped out of the project. She wasn’t happy with her performance (or how she looked then), and so it must be difficult for her to be both made famous and then typecast from that show

    I don’t know . . . sometimes I wonder how she’d be today if she just had worked through her 4 years in drama exile on TV projects and waited to establish herself as a serious actress.

    ““It’s an independent film. It’s marketed as a Hollywood debut, which is a very big burden. I’d merely thought of it as a plot I liked, combined with my desire to try something in the English language.”

    In another article, she commented on this was a misunderstanding between the Korean press. The director went at lengths to emphasize that this was a Korean movie (not a Hollywood movie) with mostly a Korean crew, shot in the States. However, 80% of her dialogue was in English. And she expressed a desire to do Hollywood someday.

    “This drama will go on record as being the drama with the most amount of dialogue that I work on in my life.”

    Yeah, that doesn’t sound good. I’m sure she’ll be overdubbed, but it will hurt her performance greatly if there’s a lot of Chinese to trip over.

  10. 10 iaia-chan

    what’s that about “Korean age”?

  11. 11 Jo

    I hate it when people judge people because they are too skinny-skinny people can feel shit about themselves too.

    idk if that is random. But really. shut up. If I could gain fifty more pounds I would, but my stupid metabolism gets in the way.

  12. 12 lovin it

    looking forward to the songhyekyo’s drama! love her and hyunbin!

  13. 13 belleza

    @ iaia-chan,

    “what’s that about “Korean age”?”

    When Koreans are born, they start at age one. Plus, they arrive at their next age during the first day of the year, not on the birthday. If you watch K-dramas (say 9 End 2 Outs) or films about characters hitting 30, you’ll notice that the story often makes a big deal about Chrismas/New Year. That is why.

    This used to be the custom for Chinese and Japanese as well. In addition, most Asians used to celebrate their B-day on the lunar calendar. This was a major pain in the butt for me whenever I tried to do a chart for my parents. I’m still not sure whether my dad is a Taurus or a Gemini! :D

  14. 14 Paula

    Thanks for this interview :) I am looking forward to seeing Song Hye Gyo in a new drama, I enjoyed Autumn in my Heart, but I really fell in love with her in Full House. Haven’t seen All In . . . She sounds a little sad in the interview, but she seems so sweet and I love her look :)

  15. 15 Toya

    A little off topic but funny:

    I forget who brought up asians and thin women at my birthday party last week but my aunt said to me (my aunt and I are voluptuous beauties BTW) that her Chinese in-law said if she wasn’t married, and he was a few years younger, he’d dump his “stick” wife for her (hinting at her big breasts) any day.

    … Dunno thought it would have been funny…

  16. 16 Jessica

    @ belleza

    > sometimes I wonder how she’d be today if she just had
    > worked through her 4 years in drama exile on TV projects
    > and waited to establish herself as a serious actress.

    Do you think a lot of actors and actresses think this way? That films are always superior to TV dramas?

    I know some do and that’s disappointing for me. Like they keep their “best acting” only for films and just coast through the dramas to make some side money…

    Personally I prefer dramas over films, because in films you aren’t really given the time to know the characters and so I don’t really relate to or care about them.

    ( Of course TV dramas need to have a limit in length. This is why I prefer Asian entertainment overall since it actually ends! The one thing that turned me off to American TV series was how long it lasted and in order to keep the storyline going they had to change the characters personality so much! Spike & Buffy? Seriously!? )

    > This used to be the custom for Chinese and Japanese as well.
    > In addition, most Asians used to celebrate their B-day on the lunar calendar.

    They still do this in Taiwan as well. I hate it now because it makes me older :(

    But growing up it was great. In an effort to introduce some Chinese culture to me, my parents would celebrate BOTH my lunar and Gregorian birthday :)

    Also, the lunar birthday is important if you go to a Chinese fortune teller… so my mom told me to always keep it a secret! kekeke :)

  17. 17 anastassia

    Ok. I seriously can’t wait for this drama. It has been a long time since I finished any Korean drama. Most of it I will watched half of it and skipped it or stopped half through it. But since I loved SHK even though I haven’t finished Full House-not intended to do so- and thinking Hyun Bin is a talented actor I would like two of them work together. Many complaints SHK is not a great actress but she is one actress that made me watched Korean drama and has been capturing my eyes since I first caught her in Auymn In My Heart or Autumn Tale. She is not that perfect yet but she is promising as an actress. The one whom will develops her skills and I want to see the different her in this drama together with a great actor. Hope the best for her. I will not considered myself as her fan, but I really adored her beauty and her character in real life.

  18. 18 belleza

    “Spike & Buffy? Seriously!?”

    Spike > Angel! S&B forever. :D

    “Do you think a lot of actors and actresses think this way? That films are always superior to TV dramas?”

    Most actors prefer film because the hours are more reasonable. K-dramas, especially sageuks, are a grind. Also, most actors feel frustrated with live-shoot, because they get scripts at last minute and don’t have adequate time to rehearse. Of course, most actors do both, since TV pays better and protects your visibility. For example, you’d have no frigging idea that Jeon Do Yeon was a brilliant transformation artist if you’d seen just her TV work, where she’s mostly known as, well, The President’s Daughter. :D

    “Like they keep their “best acting” only for films and just coast through the dramas to make some side money…”

    Yes, but it’s also not their fault that most Korean dramas are trendy romances (which we love, of course.) And it’s not like everybody gets to play king in a sageuk. That said, Kim Myung Min (who has a lengthy career in theatre) has passionately defended TV as a viable art form. MBC occasionally runs one or two episode specials (a la Fuji/TBS tanpatsus) and KBS runs its own anthology series. And there’s cable. I love the shows that Yellow Arts Entertainment produces, which play like a fusion of Japanese and K-drama tropes. Also, the acting and art direction in those shows are much improved.

    Problem with Hye Kyo is that she stopped acting regularly when she was 23. She resented the pure girl roles she was handed (you’ll hear professional disappointment from almost every show she did due to this issue), yet she also felt deeply insecure about her acting skills. She wanted to take chances, but her handlers advised her to protect her fanbase/image. So she ends up doing neither, stagnating as an artist, only doing 2 movies since, and watching a generation of actresses born from 79-84 take over both TV and film. She’s an iconoclast now, associated with a pre-fringe/bangs natural beauty image and pre-My Girl/Goong/SamSoon Hallyu. She (like Jeon Ji Hyun), who may have had risen too quickly into her popularity, now seems so much older than her same age peers.

    She’s vaguely out of date, and yet poised for an awesome comeback. For Hallyu fans, she’s a bit like the princess coming out of a long sleep and remains kind of a bridge between the previous and current generations of K-drama fans.

  19. 19 Carina

    belleza, let me just say that I love and really appreciate your posts. You always seem to know what you are talking about and seem very well-informed. :-)

    About the interview, yes she seems very sad, and I think she was prettier all “bursting” in Autumn Tale than now. I’m not really looking forward to this drama.

  20. 20 Jessica

    @ belleza

    > For example, you’d have no frigging idea that Jeon Do Yeon
    > was a brilliant transformation artist if you’d seen just her TV work,
    > where she’s mostly known as, well, The President’s Daughter.

    Oh… yeah, I see what you what you mean.

    In films they do get to take edgier and riskier roles—especially because most profitable dramas need to be aired during prime time so they need to fit certain ratings and “standards.”

    So I guess I can understand that they’re afraid of being typecast (but at the same time, I’m really eager to typecast the ones I like! :) )

    Do you know if k-dramas are the only ones that do live shoots? Because I think most Chinese, HK, and TW dramas are done beforehand. What about Japan?

    I can definitely see how this might affect the creativity. I remember there were a few cases where TW-dramas had to re-shoot the ending due to fan complaints though! kekeke :)

    I do wonder how the quality of Asian dramas might change if they were given more creative freedom and had a better distribution channel (like premium-type cable).

    And I agree with Carina, I love reading your thoughts :)

  21. 21 sang hee

    i liked her in Autumn Tale & didn’t find her to be heavy — just healthy perhaps but she sure doesn’t need to lose anymore as she’s just fine! i’m happy to hear she’s back on camera & who better to team up with than hyun bin – my other favorite Korean actor! i can’t wait to see them in this drama or movie! God bless!

  22. 23 neg

    wow .. haven’t seen her in ages … glad she’s back.

    i am impressed that she can cook … not many women cook these days; not to mention to do it well, it’s like a dream come true for who ever she’s dating or marrying in the future. lucky guy … ah .. she’s also a hottie; thus making her the “perfect” 10 .. at least for me…lol

  23. 24 zhao-wei

    she has many talents in work & at home. the lucky man need more than perfect score to match. not easy to find quality man. too busy working no time for dating, poor girl. hope a good man crosses her path soon, she is longing to get married at 30..

  24. 25 alma ronda

    she’s amazingly beautiful and smart. You rarely see beautiful faces matched with good brains…and song hye gyo is one such beauty and brains stuff. congrats on your TV drama.

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