Celebrity News
Interview with Answer Me 1997’s Jung Eun-ji
by | September 17, 2012 | 60 Comments

This girl is adorable. I’m pretty sure it’s 99.9% her character in Answer Me 1997 that makes me love Jung Eun-ji so much, but hey, that gruff swear-first-ask-questions-later attitude has to come from somewhere deep within, right? If she weren’t an idol, I’d have put my money on gangster’s daughter, ’cause she’s a badass, and I love it. As of tomorrow it’s curtains on her first project as an actress (WAIL), and in a photo spread and interview with First Look, the 19-year old rookie actress talks about the origin of her thick regional accent, the chemistry on set, and which brother she’d pick if she were Sung Shi-won.

Jung’s greatest asset in the drama is certainly her original Busan accent, because it’s 100% her natural speech, which she purposely never corrected even after moving to Seoul because her agency didn’t strictly require it. She says:

My nickname as a child was ‘elderly kid.’ When I lived in Busan I would just sit next to the neighborhood grandmas as they talked about this and that, and I guess that way of speaking rubbed off on me… I didn’t know it but I had adopted grandma-speak. It’s not the accent normal kids have. Haha.

She says that Shi-won’s drama parents (Sung Dong-il and Lee Il-hwa) were originally supposed to both be from Busan as well, but it was Sung Dong-il who tossed out the idea that Dad should be from Jeollado and Mom from Kyungsangdo, setting up their colorful little southern-province-Romeo-and-Juliet backstory. But after praising him she adds, “But the funny thing is, Sung Dong-il sunbaenim is a Seoul native!” Ha, as if it’s a crime? She sounds just like Shi-won.

She describes the mood on set:

From the director, writer unni, to the cast — they were the best. It was my first drama so I didn’t know. I thought all drama sets had great moods like this, but I heard that that’s not always the case. I’m thankful for meeting a team like this one. It’s because the director led us so well.

When asked whether she ever wanted to be more made-up in the drama, she says that she and Shi-won are similar in their tomboyish ways, and describes the reasoning behind the character:

The Shi-won that I think of doesn’t know how to make herself up. No, it’s that she doesn’t know how lovable she is. If Shi-won thought herself pretty and purposely acted cute, she wouldn’t have been lovable at all. The director said that — that there’s nothing more lovable than a woman who doesn’t know she’s pretty. I didn’t feel the need to be made up. I thought she should be the most natural and innocent and lovable. She was someone who had the love of two men.

That’s just a surprising awareness from a 19-year old newbie. She’s far from a skilled actress, but it’s clear she thinks about character in a meaningful way. I’d say her weakness is lacking more range in her facial expressions, but man can she rattle off pages of dialogue like nobody’s business. She always sounds conversational and natural, and never like she’s reading or memorizing something.

When asked about Yoon-jae vs. Tae-woong and which brother is closest to her ideal type, she said:

I like Yoon-jae’s type. He’s the same age as me but then sometimes seems like an oppa. Sometimes we’re really like two friends, but then we fight like siblings. As of now I think I prefer a person I’m more comfortable with.

About her very natural inclination to always swear at Yoon-jae, and whether she’s similar to Shi-won:

No never! I’m not that aggressive. I mean I have to maintain my A-Pink concept. (Laughs)

The final episode of Answer Me 1997 airs tomorrow on tvN.

Via First Look

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60 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Miss D

    Now I like her even more!

    Love reply 1997. So sad it’s about to end TT.TT what will I do with my life????

    • 1.1 Kelinci Biru

      Yeah, my reaction too.
      What would I do without 1997 crack on Tuesday? I’m going to have major withdrawal!! *noi’mnotanaddict*

      • 1.1.1 pabo ceo reom

        I’m already in serious denial. I absolutely love this girl. Probably my favorite rookie actress this year :)

    • 1.2 lhyn04

      same sentiments.

  2. bisco

    The drama pinned me to her and A Pink even more…She`s cool like that..Love it~

  3. queencircles

    I love her! So cute.

  4. Fasiris Fay

    baaah, I am so sad it’ll be over tomorrow! She’s so cute and natural, love her.

    Hope it’s a good finale tomorrow!

  5. Iviih :)

    I love her way before it because I saw her debut’s group and every performance she is smiling so briglty! Every single one. And her smile is just so loveable and nice.

    I really like her on their show too, Apink news.

    I like her tomboyish side.

    • 5.1 Iviih :)

      *brightly

    • 5.2 hajae

      I agree completely. She really stood out to me cause of her smile. It made her so loveable in my eyes, but also approachable and it seems like she really enjoys performing on stage. Gotta love that.

  6. John

    Jung Eun-ji ! Jung Eun-ji !

    Squee…

    • 6.1 JoAnne

      ah, John, you’re getting to be as cute as uri Ricky!

      But I agree. This girl is about as adorable as you can possibly be and I LOVED her portrayal of Shi Won. I really hope she will do more acting because I think she has a strong natural talent that will only continue to improve with experience.

      Wouldn’t it be fun to see her and Ha Ji Won in something together? Unni/doengseong bickering? Yesssssssss please make it happen.

      • 6.1.1 ricky trh

        Joining John in that “squee….”
        But I’ll add a wiggle too.

        • 6.1.1.1 JoAnne

          AH you are the prince!

  7. Ella

    I think Eunji is really an unsung hero in answer 1997. She made an easily dislikeable character absolutely lovable, she deserves so much more praise than what she’s getting for this role (comparatively to the overwhelming response to Seo In-guk’s performance).

    • 7.1 Lazy Goose

      I agree. I’m a straight girl but I can see why 2 men would be in love with Shi Won.

  8. hi-there

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dcjv7NV5TXg

    ^ this made me love her instantly. <3 (and then her dorkiness/toughness on APink News XD)

    she's definitely one of my favorite-biases from girl idols. :)

    • 8.1 girlatsea

      Wow, she has a great voice!! I’m only on episode 11 of AM1997, so I’ve purposely avoided her duet with SJK.

      She’s so talented!! It’s obvious as to why she debuted as a singer first. And as an idol, she’s lucky enough to be able to do both.

  9. poppal

    I definitely think she’s got shiwon in her actual personality. I don’t keep up with A pink but I do remember in her debut days she was on The Quiz That Changes The World and she got a bit of attention because of her satoori. Long story short, her and Simon D who is also a Busan boy had a bit of a satoori conversation and my god was she spunky! The stuff she was coming out with was so sassy, especially for a newly debuted idol whose girl group was relying on the old kpop style sweet and innocent image.

  10. 10 KStyle

    Oh Answer Me 1997! Why you leave me :(

    I heart Jung Eun-ji. I really didn’t know she was an idol and I still can’t tell. She is an awesome actress already and I can’t wait for her future projects.

    Hint hint Idols: This Is How An Acting Debut Should Be, FLAWLESS!

    Oh I will miss AM97 so much and yes for TvN for having such awesome shows!!!

  11. 11 Kelinci Biru

    She’s adorable!! A-pink image? Just go and switch to acting, Eunji-ya..

    My first impression of her was “Love Day” duet with Yoseob. It was cute and she has some screen presence. Especially their live performance, its really cute. I keep imagining she’s singing this song with In Guk.. Do some more duet, will ya?

    See, I can’t make up my mind. I love both her acting and singing.

  12. 12 Rayanne

    I m loving all the outfits! Having major outfit-jealousy!Wannnt!

  13. 13 myra

    it’ll end…sad…but what’s next?…there’s no news anywhere…and i don’t think in this case no news is good news :((

  14. 14 Quinze

    Aww, I love her! I don’t follow idol groups but she seems like a rare exception of a personality.
    I can just picture her hanging out with the grandmas and picking up grandma-speak. It’s adorable!
    I loved her character and I hope she acts more!

  15. 15 Chintu

    i’m not sure if fans of jung eunji will take this as an insult, but her mischievous-smile-expression totally reminds me of goo hye-sun’s similar expression and iu’s in dh1 and hyorin’s in dh2… since there seem to be many anti-fans of goo hyesun these days and iu and hyorin are not really actresses, this might be misconstrued as an insult, but it’s actually just an observation because i find all four of them their best at mischievous smiling expressions, which comes naturally to them…

    • 15.1 JoAnne

      No, I see what you are saying. I don’t think much of GHS acting although I admire her interest and drive in other areas and think that personally she’s probably very interesting and not meant to be pigeonholed in cute roles in front of the camera –

      I found IU and Hyorin cute in the DH series. Actually…Hyorin…I wanted to see more from her. Not that she held back but that they didn’t do anything much with her. I think she has a different kind of take on the cute/sexy mix than most idolettes and I like her quite a bit. And IU…well, you would pretty much have to hate kittens, puppies, baby chicks, rainbows, chocolate, and gumdrops to hate that kid.

  16. 16 Chintu

    Off-topic:

    did girlfirday, javabeans or any of you watch the original trailer for faith with kang jihwan? It has been posted at koalasplayground.com…

    i love the current version of faith airing now, but i have to admit, the concept originally envisioned and conceived does seem more fantastical, action-oriented and adventurous, as what we expected from the current version, whose strength is in the characters, build-up and relationships but not its scale, grandeur or execution… the other one does seem to have it all…

  17. 17 lovepark

    I was blown away by her portrayal of Shi-won especially since this was her first time acting in a drama. She’s not perfect, but she has this natural and alluring charm that really is the solid, rock foundation of the show. The acting all around is wonderful and some are better than others, but, in honesty, if Jung Eun-ji wasn’t as good as she is now, the show wouldn’t have been as cracktastic or wonderful as it is now. It just goes to show you that all the parts of the production have to blend well and work whether it be directing, writing, acting, music, lighting, etc.

    Sigh, it’s a bittersweet moment to think the show is over tomorrow.

  18. 18 Suzi Q

    She deserves here praises. The actor’s Busan accents were distracting at first, but I got use to it. She was the perfect Shi-won, and I can’t believe this is her acting debut! Eun Ji and Seo In Guk were a wonderful couple and really made this drama so cute and adorable.So much fun to watch!
    Seo In Guk is already signed his new drama. Does Eun ji have a new drama in store for her too?
    Going to miss this drama…..and all of the fabulous actors too!

  19. 19 heodang

    Such a darling kid. Even Kim Soo Ro is in awe of her, and I don’t blame him. Hopefully everybody in the cast and staff continues to find success in their respective fields.

  20. 20 Iviih :)

    Dramabeans off topic but ohlala couple teaser is out! ^^

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTCe3SeMBio

  21. 21 j

    She’s might not be the most skilled actress, but she’s so natural and comfortable in her role that I just can’t imagine anyone else portraying Shiwon!!

  22. 22 Sajen

    I personally think she’s a fantastic actress and personally think her performance is 100 times better than Seo In-guk’s. That being said the whole cast is fantastic but, want to see them in something else to see how much of that is their acting and how much is their awesome characters, writing and story

  23. 23 whatis

    Love this girl! ahhahaa Can’t wait for the last episode!
    WOOOOOO!!

  24. 24 graceface

    Gahhh. Love her. Eunji unni jjang! She’s not the type of person you find everyday in the celebrity world, and I hope she’ll stay this cool forever. Sometimes I wonder how genuine actors/singers are on and off stage because who knows… The could just be creating and maintaining thier image. I hope eunji never loses herself because SHE IS AWESOME THE WAY SHE IS.

  25. 25 mizweng

    Love her…she’s so adorable in her bad ass way…and she made Busan accent lovable…. And boy, what a singing voice she has…. this kid is just plain talent in the rawest form!!!!! I wish her more projects to come and that she remain humble and true as time goes by… :)

  26. 26 Lemon

    Aw I really adore her.

    Couldn’t believe she was in A Pink at first, since my impression of that group was cute, pink, girly, sweet, innocent- you get the idea- while Eunji is so spunky..

    Then I decided to watch some of their live performances- and that made me love her more. She’s hands down the most energetic and smiley member on stage, plus she dances with gusto and is obviously the best singer by far. She’s really underrated!

  27. 27 asianromance

    I wasn’t that big of a fan of A Pink, but did notice Jung Eun Ji since she the only one whose vocals caught my attention. They’re strong and distinctive. And you can actually pick her out from a sea of girls.

    Love her in this drama. I agree with those who said that she made the Shi-won character so lovable. Now I love her even more from this interview!

    This drama (and a drama like White Christmas) showed how important writing and directing can be. Both are dramas with young rookies and you can’t really tell the super rookies from the actors if you’ve never seen all of them before. The writing and directing is such that the actors don’t have to try to be their characters, they absorb and embody them.

  28. 28 peony

    love her and love 1997.. this is a perfect example of how a hit drama can make you fall in love with the leads :)

  29. 29 pigtookie

    She has a great personality and has had an awesome drama debut. I don’t know much about A Pink, except she’s a powerful singer, but who knew she’d deliver so well on Shi Won?
    She’s limited in acting, but i would never have noticed that she’s had almost no training – she has such a natural presence onscreen and delivers her character with warmth and spunk. I don’t know what she’ll do down the road in her acting career, but this is a great role for her, and vice versa. Great job, I’ll stay tuned to her future news but I’ll miss her Shiwon. (How about that badass H.O.T. performance?)

  30. 30 jane

    What i like about the character actors of answer me 1997 is that their acting does not look so forced and professional but how do i put it they made it natural like you are watching how most people react? i dunno if everyone got that feeling.. i never knew most of them are rookies but dang they are good! and maybe that attributed to the drama set atmosphere. like when you are comfortable at a certain crowd you tend to relax and be more natural.

    btw does eunji at times resembles GG Sooyoung?

    • 30.1 jane

      oh yeah its about her interview.. i like her take on her character shiwon she may be annoying most of the time and bratty but you cant help it but love her XD

  31. 31 MeeisLee

    God, I love her. Love herrrrrrrr. Omg. I started listening to A Pink since they debuted because their songs were catchy but that sort of bubblegum pop I thought was just contrived commercial fluff. It also means I didn’t both to learn about the group outside of that but gosh she’s made me into a fan. Her character portrayal is so natural that I’ll have a hard time believing she’s not Shi won. Now every time I watch her do her cute/innocent aegyo thing w/ A Pink, I’ll be thinking she secretly wants to curse or punch someone.

    • 31.1 badmarkz

      lol at the last line; i’ll high five for that :D

  32. 32 Ace

    I watched tvN Taxi feat. Seo In-guk & Eun Ji-won and it cracked me up so hard when they called Jung Eun-ji up and asked her how she felt about SIG’s “I Love You” message and she replied that it was too burdensome. Heh. Shi-won would’ve approved of that reply. :)

    I am so gonna miss this drama.

  33. 33 Abbie

    She seems so cool. I really don’t want Answer Me 1997 to end, but it must, and I hope with a satisfactory ending.

  34. 34 Village Mrembo

    Aah its here, the beginning of the end ; ( thank God for hype cuz i would have never watched this drama otherwise thinking it was just overrated and stuff!

    As for EJ & SIG music careers, thing is i started listening to and enjoying SIG’s music after this drama and dude can ‘saang’! With Eun Ji tho…babe i think ur adorable and got a killer voice but just from the name, A Pink aint my kinda thing ; ) very cool of her tho, “am not agressive,” gotta maintain that idol angel facade hey?!!

  35. 35 bd

    I agree w/ GF that Jung Eun-ji needs to work on displaying emotions via facial expressions; that’s something Shin So-yool has down pat.

  36. 36 saranga

    she’s really adorable. ironically, she was the a pink member i’d originally thought stuck out most like a sore thumb in the group. i honestly don’t keep up with any/any of the new idol groups, but i’d checked out a live performance of theirs on youtube while they were promoting “my my” to see if they deserved any of the hype. she shouldn’t stick to the a pink concept is what i think! :)

    i’ve been marathoning this series due to all the hype, and am really enjoying it! but i’m quite sure that those who can actually relate to this era are enjoying it EVER so much more than i ever could. i was 10 in ’97, but i had no knowledge of kpop or any of the incredible fandom that’s shown in the series……. and i’m genuinely bemoaning it!! i pick up on the references only with my head. i’m sure there’s so much more i could enjoy… sigh…

    an aside, i really love saturi in general, even before this drama. there’s something so warm and friendly about it to me, although busan-ers are (in?)famous for their brusque-ish speech. i like to practice my saturi on my mom, who finds the entire notion ridiculous. haha.

  37. 37 eternalfive

    Omgsh, I love her. She’s got a fantastic voice, and she’s so cute. Someone I can imagine hanging out with. But gah, I don’t want Answer Me to end!!! What will I do without it?! T_T

  38. 38 Gom

    Thank you for this!

    The only thing wrong about this interview is that I wish it was longer. I want to know more about her!

    Answer Me 1997 is on the list of my dramas to watch. I wanted to binge-watch all the episodes just like I did with Dream High. I’m so excited!

  39. 39 dapinaymrs

    Bravo! Stay grounded, sweets! :*

    An idol rookie actress who pulls off a character 15 years older than her–I love it! And the fact that she’s a 1993-liner that makes her so precious.

  40. 40 neener

    I watched Answer Me 1997 without knowing any of the main characters but GOSH! they’re very good!

    Eun Ji is definitely gonna have a bright future in dramaland and I can’t believe we’re same age!!!!

  41. 41 Seoinguk

    NOOOO WHY DOES IT HAVE TO END TODAY. THIS INTERCIEW MAKES ME WANNA HOLD ON EVEN MORE T.T. I love Seo in guk and Jung eun ji sosososo much and everyone in this drama. Thanks dramabeans for all the recaps ^_^

  42. 42 Dlover

    I absolutely love her character! Can’t believe she’s a newbie! She’s a great actress already!

  43. 43 Cam

    Ooo…aw, she’s really adoooorable & she’s nineteen years old now, fufu. I am about three years older than her ^_^ Ah, I still haven’t watch this drama ‘Answer 1997′ because I have to do a lot of thing during college. I recently heard that some people say that this drama is really good and fun to watch. I will watch this if I have time!! :D

    Keep it up, Jung Eun Ji!

  44. 44 nk

    I’m behind on all my shows this week but I can’t wait to catch up on the final ep tonight.

    As for her range in facial expressions, I have to disagree. Busan or more specifically Gyeongsangdo people are known to be very inexpressive even though their manner of speaking is colorful. Anyways, I loved this drama and even more I’m impressed with her acting. I’m not sure how she’ll be playing a different kind of character but she’s playing a version of herself for Shi Won so it works.

  45. 45 kaye

    I love this kid! I’m delaying gratification ’cause I only have a few episodes left. I’m not yet ready to say goodbye to the show and its characters.

  46. 46 myrahEeeeeeee

    I love Jung Eun Ji! I recently watched A Pink’s videos because of her and I am so proud (like a mama bear) that she is the main vocalist and does the vocal gymnastics every time they perform! woot! I hope she’ll have more drama projects in the future. :D

    I am still waiting for the subbed videos of the finale. TT please come soon! but then I don’t want it to end..

  47. 47 Sabah

    Charming!

    http://youtu.be/PhbyQfgL4Qs

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