Park Shin-hye is tired but happy
The following is an interview with Park Shin-hye in Movieweek about her role as the crossdressing nun (apprentice) in You’re Beautiful. I think she, like Jang Geun-seok, had shown a lot of potential at a young age but sorta glided by in average performances for a while. But in this spunky trendy drama, I find both are really bursting with personality, and it sounds like the fun is alive both in front of and behind the cameras.
You’re Beautiful‘s Park Shin-hye: “I have dark circles under my eyes… The new challenge is thrilling!”
MOVIEWEEK: I didn’t know you had such a bright side.
PARK SHIN-HYE: “I’ve taken on a lot of quiet, sad roles till now. That’s why a lot of people have told me that they’re seeing a new side to me in this drama. But actually, Go Mi-nyeo is a bit like me. We’re similar in how we bump into things left and right, and how we mean well with good intentions, but end up causing accidents and trouble.” (Laughs)
What was your biggest reason for taking on the role of Go Mi-nyeo?
“The roles I had taken in the past were mostly older than my real age. [Park is 19.] In Radish Kimchi [깍두기], I played 23 years old [when she was 17]. Since I was playing twentysomething adult roles since high school, I wasn’t able to show my true personality. When I received the synopsis to this drama, Mi-nyeo was so lovable, and she was my age, too. I thought that I would be able to bring her to life. I read the script without putting it down, like I was reading a manhwa book. The biggest reasons were that I would be able to show a different side to my acting and that I would finally be able to act appropriate to my age.”
Said the manager next to her, “This was the first time Shin-hye said she wanted to do a project as soon as she read the synopsis.”
PARK: “Before that, when a project came in, I deliberated a lot over it, thinking, ‘Will I be able to perform this role well? She’s older and has a soft image…’ But as soon as I read this synopsis, I thought, ‘This must not go to anyone else. I absolutely have to do this.'” (Laughs)
Did you feel the burden of having to dress as a boy?
“Honestly, a little. Dressing as a boy usually means you have to speak with a lower voice and swagger and trudge along. Maybe that’s why after the first episode aired, there was a lot of talk about, ‘What kind of boy-acting is that?” A lot of people said, ‘Her voice is high and the way she talks and acts is like she’s trying to be cute.’ However, I think of it not as me as Park Shin-hye trying to act as a man, but Go Mi-nyeo trying to act as a man. Mi-nyeo is really cute and lovable. She has to act as her twin brother Go Mi-nam, so if we get rid of her feminine side, I think Mi-nyeo would completely disappear. So although there was a lot of that kind of talk following the first episode, the nun’s grace that Mi-nyeo possesses can’t change overnight just because she is forced to act as a man to take her brother’s place. I think the important thing is to mix these particular characteristics of Mi-nyeo’s.”
Visually, you’ve undergone a big transformation. Did you feel sad to cut your long hair?
“In Episode 1 when Mi-nyeo cuts off her long hair with scissors, I was really cutting my own hair. Because of that scene, the director wouldn’t let me cut my hair for a while. However, in the filming schedule we shot Mi-nyeo with her short hair first, so in some scenes I used a wig. That’s why there are some scenes that look a little awkward. But I’d already cut my hair short when I filmed Radish Kimchi. Back then, I did cry back in the salon. (Laughs) The end of my nose is roundish and I have a dimple in my chin. Maybe that’s why when my hair is short, I think I look androgynous.”
You’re getting a lot of envy from female viewers because you’re surrounded by such pretty men as Jang Geun-seok, Jung Yong-hwa, and Lee Hong-ki.
“That’s why I thought I would gain anti-fans. But if you look at the drama homepage, there really are no anti posts at all. Or maybe they don’t see me as a girl. (Laughs) In any case, I’ve gained a ton of female fans. On my personal homepage, there are really a lot of posts that say, ‘Shin-hye unni!’ or ‘Ms. Shin-hye, I’m a few years older than you…’ It makes me think all that much more that I chose well with this role.”
From the recently released photos of the filming set, it looks like you’re good friends with the actors.
“The news has already spread that our shooting atmosphere is great. We really don’t have any unsociable people. Even if we’re all tired and have dark circles under our eyes, we laugh as we film. (Laughs) Geun-seok oppa and I have been close since shooting a cosmetics CF together. It was hardest to become friends with Hong-ki. Contrary to his appearance, he hides his feelings well. We’re the same age, but at first we didn’t really communicate easily. But then, as we were talking about something, it’s like we totally hit it off with a bang. So now Hong-ki says to me, ‘Shin-hye, I think even if I went on a trip with you, we wouldn’t cause a scandal.’ He means we’re good friends, but still, it made me wonder if he didn’t see me as a girl.” (Laughs)
It’s only in the drama, but how does it feel to experience life as part of a popular pop group?
“I’d always wanted to try living together [with other group members]. You can do as you like at home, but no matter how friendly you are with your group members, they’re still not family so there’s a line you can’t cross. While filming, the thing I felt most was, ‘If we don’t look out for each other, we can’t stay together as a team for long.’ If you look at the groups that have stayed active together for a long time, it’s really amazing. I’m sure they have personal ambitions, but they learn to compromise with each other and stick together as a team.”
You sang songs yourself for the drama, didn’t you?
“Yes. In Episode 1, there’s a scene where Mi-nyeo sings in front of Tae-kyung [Jang Geun-seok]. That song is my theme, and I sang it myself. It’s a style of song I like and it seemed to suit my voice, so when that scene came up, I felt glad. This is the first time I’m participating on a drama OST. People who know that I had initially wanted to debut as a singer think that I have a really good voice. But although my dancing was okay, my voice was lacking. (Laughs) It turned out that I got another chance to change my path and act, and I’m glad that I’m able to show a new side to myself this time.”
Do you have any thoughts of pursuing singing activities in reality?
Phew, I don’t think I could do it. Hearing from Hong-ki, it’s pretty tough. Plus, I get to sing on a drama OST like this. That’s why I think, ‘Ah, I’m happiest here, right now in this spot. Let’s not get greedy.’ (Laughs)”