[INTERVIEW] Lee Jieun and Yeo Jingoo in the August 2019 issue of ‘Marie Claire’ (Part 2)
Q. Although it isn’t shown in the drama, as you understand your role better, do you make guesses about his/her past and background?
LJE: There’s a bit of history about Manwol in the first few episodes. Manwol was stuck there for 1000 years, not being able to die and it was all because of something that happened in the past, so she’s filled with wrath and resentment about the rest of the world. As well as self-hatred. Over the 1000 years, she tried everything but could not have things go her way, so she’s left with a nasty, sarcastic and tough demeanour. But in a corner of her heart, she still misses someone, regrets what has happened and desperately wants to end it all. I think she’s someone who hides her weakness in the deepest place, so that others will not find out about it.
Q. Many people are confused as to whether Manwol is a ghost or a human. Based on your response, it seems Manwol is a human.
LJE: Many people will think Manwol is a ghost. One of the lines that captures Manwol’s identity is “I’m not dead or alive, I just exist”. So if I have to give an answer, I would say she’s closer to being a human.
Q. Have you thought about Chansung’s past too?
YJG: Chansung goes through a transformation after entering Hotel Del Luna. Up until now, I’ve acted as many characters who matured over time, but it’s the exact opposite in the case of Chansung. Putting the character of Chansung aside, I think there’s no need to ask exactly what kind of person Chansung is. Instead, I asked myself firstly, ‘Why be a hotelier?’ Possibly growing up with a father who is a thief, they were on the run and he always felt more comfortable in a hotel or motel than a house and naturally wanted to become a hotelier. Having suffered with his father since young, he probably also had ambitions to become successful. That’s how I went about understanding the character I play.
Q. Everyone wants to do a good job when they start a new project. When you feel this way, do you behave in a certain way or with a certain attitude? Or do you just let nature take its course, instead of having such resolve?
YJG: I waver between two thoughts. I think to myself ‘I have to do a good job’ and yet ‘If I try too hard, I am overwhelmed by my desire to do well and my acting could become too stiff, so I should forget about that thought’. I’m the kind who reads the script a lot and if I don’t try many different ways, I feel uneasy. That’s how I suppress my inner turmoil.
Q. You’ll need a lot of time to prepare then
YJG: Yes, it does. The more time the better.
LJG: For me, I think to myself ‘I have to do a good job’ though. I have a habit of not trusting myself. If I go too easy on myself, I start to become idle. I’m the type that needs to be held tightly.
Q. Has pushing yourself like that felt stressful for you?
LJE: Yes, often so. When I was younger, it was even more serious, but when I turned 25 or so, I think it got a lot better.
Q. I think there’s something in common between both of you. Being described as ‘precocious’ or ‘matured beyond your age’ when you were younger. Do you still hear people say that these days?
LJE: I think it’s been awhile since anyone said that to me though? When I was younger, I heard that a lot, but maybe I’ve become less matured? Perhaps I’ve found my age and let go a lot more too.
YJG: People say that to me because of my (young) looks. When I have conversations with people, I hear that too. But not these days though.
LJE: I think Jingoo-sai is really matured. He’s the same age as my brother. In the past, when someone says he’s a 97er I would think of my brother right away, but the two of them are really different. I even think to myself ‘97ers can be this mature, why is my brother like that?” Haha. There are many moments that he is even more mature than me, which took me by surprise. Indeed, he’s different.
YJG: I’m the same. What’s different?
Q. What do you hear people saying recently then?
YJG: They call me ‘chansung-ah’ or tell me they’re looking forward to ‘Hotel Del Luna’.
Q. Are you trying to promote the drama through your response? (Laughs)
YJG: I’m serious. That’s all I hear around me lately.
LJE: It’s because the previews turned out well. Not that I want to spit in my own face but (my acquaintances) have been telling me that I’m like Man Wol, even though she isn’t the kind and upright type of character.
YJG: True, you’re indeed like Manwol.
LJE: Hey! Haha.
YJG: It’s a compliment.
LJE: From the start, the director told me that even when I’m resting at the filming site, I should rest like Manwol does. He wanted me to get used to the way Manwol speaks. He probably knew I’m shy and take a long while to get closer to people, so he gave me such directing. So these days, I’m enjoying going around to make fun of people. The staff is really kind and cool about it, so I keep doing that and after speaking to some people, I really seem to be like Manwol.
Q. What’s the satisfaction indicator of ‘Hotel Del Luna’?
YJG: What I like about this drama is that although everything is limited to one place, I get to deal with many episodes of various characters. Over here it’s significant how one character meets another. Besides the relationship between Chansung and Manwol, there are lots of other stories as well. You might cry or laugh or get angry or find it a pity, as you watch the other characters in the drama. I think each of these characters who immerse in their role will become the satisfaction indicator for the show.
LJE: No matter how others acknowledge my work, if I don’t like it myself, it’s of no use, so I myself have to be satisfied with it in the first place.
YJG: That’s for sure.
LJE: But that’s the most difficult thing to do. You need to keep on reflecting on yourself. You have to face up to your best moments and your ugliest moments too. Having gone through all that, finally if you feel that you’re satisfied, I think that’s the best thing ever.
Translated by squishy with love