‘Samal’ Jung Woo-sung, after 13 years of waiting, “I finished my long homework…now it’s time to rest” [Interview summary]


[OSEN=Reporter Kim Na-yeon] Actor Jung Woo-sung, who waited 13 years for ‘Tell Me I Love You’ to be released, shared his feelings about showing the work to the world.

Jung Woo-sung, who recently conducted an interview ahead of the end of Genie TV’s original drama ‘Tell me I love you’, said, “There has never been a drama that required this much concentration,”and responded, “I didn’t even think about that, but it was an unintended result.”He added, “I don’t act in childish language. “I had no idea that it would be a work that required such concentration,” he said with a laugh.

‘Tell Me I Love You’ is a classic melodrama about the silent love between painter Cha Jin-woo (played by Jung Woo-sung), who speaks with his hands, and actress Jeong Mo-eun (played by Shin Hyun-bin), who listens with her heart. It is based on the Japanese TV drama ‘Tell Me I Love You’ (written by Eriko Kitakawa, produced by TBS Television), which aired in 1995.

It is known that Jung Woo-sung purchased the copyright to ‘Tell Me I Love You’ after seeing the original work a long time ago. When asked why he chose the work, he said, “I watched the original drama 13 years ago. The main character’s narration appears at the end of Part 2, and that sound felt like it had stabbed me in the chest. At the time, I had a desire to create a drama that I could think about slowly. “It is true that I had such a personal desire because I was losing the ability to look and think in calm silence,” he confessed.

He continued, “Sure enough, when I said I would produce it at that time, the broadcasting station said, ‘If the main character acts silently for 16 episodes, people won’t watch it. He said, ‘Why don’t you open your voice around the third part?’ This was a request that could not be accepted as a proposal. There is a theme to this drama, and an actor named Jung Woo-sung from that era said he was doing a melodrama, so that was okay, and the content was changed so that it was only imagined as a love story between a typical street painter and a man and a woman who dream of becoming theater actors. So, I thought, ‘I can’t do it yet,’ so I submitted the work,” he said. “As time passed, another opportunity to buy the copyright came before me. Even back then, I knocked a lot here and there. “Then I met my current production company and prepared for several years to present it,” he explained.


He said, “Aren’t there things that are constantly being requested for the purpose of following the patterns or trends of dramas being consumed? There should be a lot of incidents, a lot of conflict. However, the conflict in the relationship in ‘Tell Me I Love You’ is due to differences in position, and discovering that my opinions do not match each other’s feelings is a big event. “It is a drama that contains many elements such as the method of communication, the seriousness of communication between us using spoken language, and whether the depth is justified, so I tried to continue to protect it with the thought that it should not be undermined.”

He continued, “As I met director Kim Yun-jin and actor Shin Hyun-bin, we continued to confirm that we agreed on that direction and that we had faith and trust in each other. Even after the script came out and we had meetings, it was a continuation of the work where we kept looking for what emotions would suit ‘Tell Me I Love You’ rather than ‘Couldn’t there be a more interesting element?’ “I tried not to miss it until the end, and I’m glad and happy that it seems to have been conveyed well to the viewers,” he said, pointing out the attractive point of ‘Tell Me I Love You’.

He also told a story about sign language acting. Since Cha Jin-woo is hearing impaired, Jung Woo-sung had to communicate only with his hands from the beginning to the end of the work, except for the narration. He said, “The first thing was to rule out reactions to sound. Of course, sign language was a new language that I had to take, and I calculated that Jin-Woo’s facial expressions should be restrained,” he said. “It was a really difficult act to use sign language while talking with Ki-Hyeon (played by Heo Jun-Seok) and Seo-Kyung (played by Kim Ji-Hyeon) rather than me. Sign language has different word order from the language we use. As a result, it was an act in which they suffered even more. “All I had to do was learn by changing the written lines into sign language, change or delete the lines to fit the sign language expressions, then memorize the lines again and act,” he said.

In the story, Cha Jin-woo had to face misunderstandings several times due to his inability to hear. Jung Woo-sung said, “Jin-woo lives in a situation where voices shared by the majority are excluded, so there is more room for misunderstanding. But even among us who speak the same spoken language, there are so many ridiculous misunderstandings. In fact, in some ways, I think Jinwoo’s hearing impairment is a metaphor. “It is a work with a thematic awareness that seeks to convey communication between humans, rather than a love story between a man and a woman or the opposite sex,” he explained.

As the main character is a deaf person, the use of subtitles is high in ‘Tell Me I Love You’. Jung Woo-sung said, “I briefly heard the idea of ​​including voices (in sign language scenes) through the director, but it was not seriously discussed. At some point, didn’t we unintentionally develop a culture in our society of adding subtitles to all videos and recognizing the situation through subtitles? “That’s why I thought it would be possible to reduce the burden of conveying it with subtitles.”


When asked what role he thought the quiet and static atmosphere throughout his work played, Jung Woo-sung answered, “Concentration.” He said, “Our drama deals with a character named Cha Jin-woo who is in silence, but isn’t that why the small volume of sound during silence is really meticulous? I thought every sound in this drama was important. I like watching dramas that contain the sounds of passing cars, insects crying in flower beds, and leaves blowing in the wind. “I kept telling the director that our drama should be like that,” he emphasized.

Also, regarding the character Cha Jin-woo, “Rather than what kind of life Cha Jin-woo would have lived, I thought about the current world and what his mindset would be like when maintaining relationships with the objects in front of him. Cha Jin-woo is a person who does not let go of past emotions and holds on to them. He doesn’t throw it away just because it hurts, and just because he has it, he tries to keep it without trying to dwell on it. “He is a person who tries to do his best at what comes in front of him at every moment.”

He said, “The world is busy making regulations. Isn’t this a society that continually forces us to make choices based on dichotomous thinking about what is right, what is wrong, what is good and what is not? Then, the complete individual life disappears. I’m running out of time, so I feel like I need to come up with an answer quickly and reveal it. “I think ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ is a drama that shows that there is no need to do that,” he said.

When asked whether the concerns he has as a member of society affect his work as an actor or production company, he said, “You cannot approach a work with only a sense of the problem. “I am also a human being, and my thoughts are bound to be reflected in the project, so I think it will have an impact little by little, starting from the smallest details,” he said, “but I do not approach my work with a sense of responsibility to raise awareness of the problem and share it with the world. “That can’t be possible,” he said. “Isn’t the message I want to convey through my work an expansion of thinking, whether it’s information, a book, music, or a painting? “I don’t give it away and think, ‘Everyone should see this and get the feeling I want,’” he said.


Jung Woo-sung, who debuted in the 1994 film ‘Gumiho’, celebrates his 30th anniversary this year. He, who has been busy going back and forth between the screen and the TV, confessed, “I’m going to take a break now.” Jung Woo-sung, who said he was busy preparing for the release of ‘Spring in Seoul’ right after finishing the last filming of ‘Tell Me I Love You’ in October last year, said, “When ‘Tell Me I Love You’ aired, I thought, ‘I need to take a break now.’ In particular, after producing and airing a work that I had been involved with for a long time, I felt like I had solved a problem. He expressed his feelings of relief, saying, “I feel like I’ve finished a chapter.”

At this point, ‘Spring in Seoul’ surpassed 10 million viewers, earning Jung Woo-sung the title of ‘10 million actor’ 30 years after his debut. In response, Jung Woo-sung honestly said, “It’s a burden.” He said, “I don’t think I did it, it’s because of ‘Spring in Seoul’. In fact, for the film industry to be healthy and the market to be active, there must be a lot of movies with 3 to 5 million viewers. However, it has become difficult to make movies worth 3 or 5 million. “But that doesn’t mean we can keep making movies with the mindset of winning 10 million in the lottery,” he said, expressing the bitter reality.

When asked, “What do you want to do while resting?” Jung Woo-sung replied, “I want to start exercising again.” I lost so much stamina. Also, I gave up all my hobbies so I have nothing to pursue. “A lot of actors play golf, so I’m thinking about learning it too,” he added.


[Photo] Studio Genie, Studio & New

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