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Ji Chang-wook’s slow-and-steady philosophy

I’m not exactly sure why an interview was done with Ji Chang-wook (there wasn’t any talk of his upcoming project Healer), but if every actor comes across as likable and grounded as this one, I won’t ask questions, just happily translate. He wrapped shooting on Empress Ki at the end of April, and made an impression on viewers with his portrayal of Emperor of Yuan, Ta-hwan, but seems to be unaffected by all of the fame.

“People said Empress Ki would mark a turning point in my life, and of course I am thankful to the show. I really enjoyed filming it. However, each of my works is precious to me. Regardless of whether they were successful or not, in my heart, each project is given a similar weight. Among those, of course, is my first lead role in Smile Again.”

Ji is amazed that, even after Empress Ki’s conclusion, ajummas still call him “Donghae,” his Smile Again character. “I even seriously thought about changing my name to Donghae! Everyone is so used to calling me Donghae, I thought I might as well. Ultimately, I decided not to—I figure that as time goes on and I take on more characters, eventually viewers will probably call me by a new name,” he laughed.
 
Ji’s played several characters and has received much critical praise for his performances, but he’s embarrassed by the accolades. “When I hear positive feedback, I’m very embarrassed and shy about it. I’m very grateful when I read a favorable review or receive a nice phone call, but I also don’t know how to respond.”
 

While viewers applauded his turn as Ta-hwan, he said he doesn’t feel the need to erase [or one-up] his Empress Ki character from the minds of the public. “I’m of the belief that when a script is released, it is the actor’s job to really know the material. Memorization is a given, and isn’t it also true that the actor should think about how to interpret and how to move in scenes? If I play a psychopath, I would need to show that person’s crazed lunacy accurately and clearly. I need to have a complete understanding of a character first, if I want that character to resonate with audiences.”
 
He has a special relationship with Empress Ki costar Ha Ji-won; the actress is his university sunbae. He’s admitted that it was hard to get close to her at first—although he doesn’t look it, he is very reserved. He says it was only after much thought that he was able to finally get out the words, “Noona, you were in the 98th class of our university, right?” While he had trouble uttering the single question in the beginning, after working together through 50 episodes, the two are at ease with each other now.
 
He also got along really well with Jo Jae-yoon, who played Gol-ta on the show. “Even when we were ad-libbing, I found that we were on the same wavelength and we had a lot of fun. I’m very satisfied because I think that fun came across early on in the show.”
 
While Smile Again, Warrior Baek Dong-soo and Empress Ki each achieved high viewership, there have been others that have concluded more quietly. Bachelor’s Vegetable Store is a painful memory for him. It had poorer ratings than expected, and although he sometimes did let that get him down, he learned that being able to clear all of that out for his next character is a requirement of an actor. He says each project teaches him something different, and shows a maturity beyond his 27 years.

 
“It’s a bit presumptuous for me to say, but if I have an acting philosophy, it’s that if you cling to popularity, your resolve falters and acting becomes difficult. Of course you can’t ignore it. Everyone wants to be liked. But I don’t want to be a weak person who reads and gets swayed by every single online criticism. If your resolve falters, it diminishes your sense of self, and even the character you’re playing disappears. You become an ambiguous person. What’s for certain is that each person has different tastes, so you can’t please everyone. I can’t cater to every individual out there. I have to go where the road takes me, but without discarding external influences—I need to be sensible.”
 
In surprising news, Ji was among the top five students of his class in high school. His teachers had told him that if he didn’t study, his life would be ruined. Believing them, he says all he did was study. There wasn’t any subject he wanted to study in particular, and he’s amazed that someone like himself even got into acting.

“I think it’s fun that we never exactly know where life will take us. I don’t have any lofty goals. I just hope to build a film career that’s appropriate for my age. I don’t want to overstretch, but want to take things slowly. By moving slowly but deliberately, I feel as though I’ll be happy with the results. I’m looking forward to the next day.”
 
It’s really fortunate for the rest of us that he did fall into acting, and I can’t wait to see more from the actor. Ji Chang-wook, fighting!!

Via TV Report

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He looks sooo much better with his mane of glory!

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oh my gosh, what a sweetie! Grounded is right!

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Thank you, awcoconuts!!
JCW is always like that, humble, deliberate and deep-thinker and passionate on acting. I knew him first in BVS then grow to love him more, especially after Empress Ki drama. In my opinion, he's one of the best actors in his generation.

Empress Ki was a hit project for him and I'm thankful he took Ta Hwan's role. Maybe if not him, I won't be able to watch the drama.

He's actually just confirmed for Healer yesterday. So yay!!

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I was soo impressed with his acting in Empress Ki. I hadn't watched him in anything else, but he really did such a good job acting up against Joo Jinmo and Ha Jiwon.

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He was pretty awesome as the lead in Warrior Baek Dong Su, i hope he does other historical drama like it.

I wont watch Empress Ki despite Ha Ji Won is big fav of mine.

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He's such a great guy :3

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Yeah, we were all scratching our heads over why this interview was released so late. Trying to capitalize on his "newfound fame," TVReport? (Oh who am I kidding... give us more squee-worthy pictures!!!)

So happy and proud that My Precious is finally seeing some good press after all these years of watching him struggle through both good and bad dramas. Can't wait for the new "Healer" drama to ramp up... and I'll see you in November, sweetie!!! :D

AJA AJA AJA JIBAEWOONIM FIGHTING!!

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Still PO'd that SBS set aside his Mr Baek project for the creeptastic Rain-Krystal drama.

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@alexis, actually Ji Chang Wook declined the offer for drama 'Mister Baek' already. It's official that he accepts drama 'Healer', and the airing date will be around mid December. He will star in musical 'The Days' again in October. His movie project 'Two Constables' has been delayed due to investment issue, but they didn't cancel it. We still can have hope for it, but 'Mr. Baek' is off the list!

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Thank you for translating the article!!! I discovered Ji Chang Wook through Empress Ki, and he is now one of the actors I adore most. He is such a humble person. I am very excited for his new project, "Healer" and movie "The Two Constables" (it got delayed but I think they will film it someday).

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Ditto every word.

I love him in Empress Ki. His acting there is impressive.

That paragraph after the 2nd pic, wish bad actors and actresses would memorise it and take it very much to heart.
"....I'm of the belief that if a script is released...."

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Me too, I know some "actors" of his generation who should sit down and watch him carefully...

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Still looove him. Hope his next project is really likeable. Heart, Ji Chang-wook!

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Awesome actor,can't wait to see you new drama Healer.Changwooksi Fighting!

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The first thing I read was his t-shirt. Lol

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What a nice young man, but yeah, the tshirt.

One teensy bit of advice for him would be to avoid wearing items that were designed to be insulting....and untrue.

But he's so thoughtful in all other regards.

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I really want to see more Ji Chang Wook too. Though, it's sad for me that he declined Mr Baek.

I heard he's confirmed to Healer. I don't like Park Min Young but I'll give this drama a try.

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One of my favorite actors. He conveys vulnerability so well in his acting…so emotive. I wish him much success and happiness.

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His features are a bit too delicate. He doesn't look like this in real life, right? Just photoshoot I take it?

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Well, he can look manly. Just watch WBDS and you'll know how manly he is... So yes, I think it's because the concept of the photoshoot :)

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See my post #18 down below. If you watch my recommendation you won't think so anymore.

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He's still in my memory as the youngest brother in Sol Pharmacy House. Sounds like a well-grounded guy. Wishing him futher success in his career!

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I like him a lot as an actor. Like always, I take those interviews with a grain of salt. They have to be diplomatic & basically just say something...
What bugs me is him passing from Ha Ji Won to Park Min Young: I hope he is ready for the heavy lifting on the emoting part cause that woman won't help him one bit.

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I agree 100% with you, let's hope he can handle going backwards in terms of his partner. At least let's hope she could learn from him.

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Yoo Ji-tae who is a talented movie actor is also one of (or) the main lead. What bugs me is the lack of equally good main lead actresses.

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Completely by accident I found in YouTube "Kara Secret Love Drama Episode Park Gyuri." It has 2 parts. In it Ji Chang Wook plays a grouchy angel that comes down to earth to help a girl fall in love. If you have not seen it and you have a couple of hours just go to YouTube and look it up. It's a light fluffy rom com. It was nice to see him as a romantic lead after Empress Ki. I hate to sound like a pervert, but I also need to point out that at some point he is naked (of course you can't see everything, this is Korea after all). But from what you can see, he looked awesome... There are also other episodes with the other Kara members (don't let this turn you off if you are not a fan) that are also cute and sweet. One of them (the one with Seungyeon) has Yeon Woo Jin as the lead actor (he is currently the lead in Marriage, Not Dating). So if you have not seen them and you light these kind of 1-2 episode dramas check them out.

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I already watched it and it's a nice job, very well done and he looks gorgeous. The only thing I'll add is this episode was made before Empress Ki, it seems there were some issues with distribution and it was released later.

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He's awesome in this minidrama. Love him as a guardian angel :)

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This confirms my ahjumma status because I totally call him Donghae in my head too. Donghae just sticks, maybe because that drama was 100+ episodes long, it was his first leading role and it was the first time I watched him in anything. Plus he looks like a Donghae. I'm glad he has a sense of humor about it though.

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Loved this guy. He did not reach my radar till Empress Ki. I was so moved by his acting on the first episode of Empress Ki, that I replayed several times. The way he said that he loves Ki, I was sold!

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I adored him in Empress Ki. Ta-Hwan was a hard character to work with, I think, given his vulnerabilities and cowardice, but Ji Chang-Wook somehow managed to make him a great character, and he had really good chemistry with Ha Ji-won!

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I'm actally JUST in the midst of re-watching Empress Ki and yesterday I watched his episode of Secret Love(*) ...

... and I have to say that I am utterly and completely in love with his upper lip!

This is why he should take on all the on-screen projects he can get, so I can swoon silently. Needless to say that "The Healer" is now on my towatch-list. Haha.

(*) Which a-l-m-o-s-t had a great unexpected, funny ending, but then went back to iffy romance ._.

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I was looking forward to Bachelor's Vegetable Store so so much and the result was a disappointment so so big. Sigh. I learnt that making sure a drama doesn't contain 'makjang' in its genre is super important.

I missed him since Smile Again. I was gonna watch Empress Ki but was turned off by the 50 episodes count. Reading the good reviews here makes me wanna watch it now

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enkeys ~

Bachelor’s Vegetable Store had promise then veered into Crapjang territory. It wasn't his fault though.

He sure is a handsome fellow. He did a god job in Empress Ki, though his character wasn't likable.

Getting to kiss both Ha Ji-won and Park Min Young, you lucky dog.

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not even makjang but crapjang? kkk

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Good boy...loved him since " Sons of Sol Pharmacy " days back in 2009...keep humble and hardworks...all the best JCW...

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Good man...loved him since " Sons of Sol Pharmacy " days back in 2009...stay humble and hardwork...all the best JCW.

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I totally searched this out and read this because if Healer! I love finding out that the real-life actor behind your beloved character is even more awesome off-screen! I really respect his down to earth attitude towards life and work. I also find it super cute that he was that shy towards Ha Ji-won! <3 I'm definitely going to check out his future works!

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ha,,, Healer ,,, I wanted to read about interviews after healer, but before healer is good as well.

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Wow, highest respect and appreciation to you, JCW! Keep make us proud! Love you a lot in Healer...

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