Jung Ryeo Won’s Interview (SportsSeoul)
Jung Ryeo Won sat down with SportsSeoul for an interview to promote both her current drama, Ja Myung Go, and her new film, Castaway on the Moon. Keep reading to find out how much she weighs and why she sends over 400 texts daily.
On her personal life:
1. There’s a lot of talk on internet boards saying Jung Ryeo Won ‘is too skinny’ and ‘doesn’t look like she’s even 40 kilograms’. Do you not gain weight? Is there a reason you’ve appeared thinner lately?
It was for my character in Castaway on the Moon. While filming the movie, I truly didn’t want to eat food. Once the film wrapped, I got cravings for food. Therefore, I really eat a lot these days. (Laughs) Thanks to that, I gained a lot of weight. Recently I gained around three kilos so I go up and down between 47 to 48 kilograms. I’ve most definitely never gone below 40 kilograms.
2. Then how do you manage your body?
I really like exercising. I consistently work out at the health club, and these days I’m going out of my mind learning Pilates. There’s no time because I suddenly began shooting the drama. I’m going out of my mind from horseback riding daily. Since it’s a historical drama, there are a lot of scenes on horseback. One day I road without a saddle and ended up with my legs bruised black-and-blue all over. I feel the importance of a saddle these days. Haha.
3. [You] seem to have many close celebrity friends. You’re close with Han Ye Seul, Park Ji Yoon, and Park Min Young who you appear in [Ja Myung Go] with. Do you think there’s a reason that you’re always surrounded by a lot of people?
Actually, living as an entertainer is a career where you can become acquainted with lots of people or not. I’m the type to [make the first step in] approach[ing others] to get close. Min Young tends to keep to herself so I approached her first. Beginning with text messages, we then became connected through [Cyworld], and [now] phone often. She is such a good dongseng. Because she’s such a lovely child, [I/you] want to keep being good to her. Ye Seul and Ji Yoon are also among my celebrity friends. We tell each other our personal troubles. Ji Yoon rushed to my film’s press conference holding a bouquet of flowers on a day when she had her own showcase [earlier].
4. There’s a widespread rumour that one gets addicted to Jung Ryeo Won’s text messages. What’s that about?
Ah! Everyday I text people around me Bible verses. I’m practically addicted to the Bible. I send the text messages because I want to share good messages with those around me. [Once] in the morning, [once] in the evening. But as the number of people I know gradually increased, the number of text messages I send also increased. Since I send them on a daily basis, I get phone calls if I skip a day, asking why I’m not sending it. This is the addicting effect of Jung Ryeo Won’s text messages.
5. How many people do you send [the daily Bible verses] to?
The number keeps growing since my acquaintance increase with each production I do. I recently counted 211 people. Every morning and evening I send text messages to 211 people. Because of that my texting fees come out to more than my call feels. I recently changed my mobile phone plan.
6. I’m guessing Daniel Henney is among [those people]. You send them to him when he’s abroad as well? Besides him, there’s probably some surprising people [on your list].
Of course. Henney is a friend with whom I talk about projects and text often. I’m also intimate with Teacher Jang Mi Hee (of Mom’s Dead Upset). (Laughs) Teacher Jang Mi Hee even advised me about Castaway on the Moon. When I first got cast, she even read over the screenplay. She told me, “Capture your character early on.”
7. Is Daniel Henney still not good at speaking Korean?
Actually he understands most things and converses well. However, we usually converse in English when we talk. Since he’s a perfectionist, don’t you think he’ll speak in Korea when he has perfect command [over the language]?
8. After becoming a genuine actor, I think you occasionally said, “I disliked being active as a singer” and “I will never sing again”. Has there been no change to those thoughts?
Back then, I thought I couldn’t do it no matter what. But as time flows by, those thoughts changed to “If the opportunity arises, I could do it” and “I can sing also – why did I [say] that then?”. Although there probably won’t be a career change to a singer, I think I could sing on an OST for a drama or movie that I’m in. If there’s an opportunity (laughs).
9. To be honest, there’s a lot of talk on [Ja Myung Go's] viewership slump. It could cause distress.
Not at all. When I hear such talk, I think to myself, “What kind of talk is that!? This is just the beginning…”
10. What do you do while resting?
Read the Bible. [Go on my] minihompy. Meet up with friends. But recently there’s been no time to spare from shooting the drama. But I still live with the Bible by my side.
On her work:
1. Seeing Castaway on the Moon, I had the thought that the casting was a dream. [The character, Miss Kim,] was free and had a mysterious charm. I felt that it suited Jung Ryeo Won really well.
Doesn’t it? I thought, ‘This is mine”. Everyone will know the detailed contents and why I’m saying this if they watch the movie.
2. Please briefly explain about the movie.
It is the story of a wandering Mr. Kim (Jung Jae Young) and a Miss Kim (Jung Ryeo Won) who is observing him. You will feel warm-hearted.
3. Your first movie in a leading role, Two Faces of My Girlfriend, was an industry failure. I think that’s why this movie is more important.
Yes. What you say is correct. I don’t think people watch a movie just because ‘Jung Ryeo Won is starring’. The production is important. Nevertheless I have no regrets [about Two Faces of My Girlfriend] since it’s a production that I poured all of my energy into. Same with this movie. To be honest, I hope this movie will do well (laughs).
How do you feel about having done a movie with Jung Jae Young, who is often [referred to as] an ‘actor who is blessed with female co-stars’?
Jae Young obba is not an ‘actor who is blessed with female co-stars’, it’s the actresses who work with him that are lucky. I certainly felt that this time. His impression is great and he’s someone who makes his female co-stars shine. If I were to describe him as a food, I don’t know why but, he’s a person like soft tofu stew (순두부 찌개).
Was there a difficulty you faced while filming the movie? If so, what was it?
The cold. I endured almost three months in a thin t-shirt. Since we filmed in the winter, it was extremely cold. Since the line was important to our director, I filmed without being able to stick on any hot packs.
I hear that you have a strong [- almost severe-] disposition while filming.
I think that’s definitely necessary. Because I have to fall into a new character that isn’t Jung Ryeo Won. The character in this movie doesn’t wash much, and as I filmed in only one outfit, I purposely didn’t wash that well during the filming period. Wasn’t my immersion too severe? Haha.
You’re filming a drama these days. How is it?
There’s really no time to breathe. Every day is utterly exhausting. Wielding a knife and flying. Horseback riding is also tiring. But I think the results are worth it. Whether a drama or movie, actors work hard to put together a production like finishing a puzzle. I’m richly feeling the fun of [working together].
Since you’re fluent in English, you could enter Hollywood the fastest. Are there no plans?
To speak precisely, I want to say, “There’s no project I want to work on”. There are no plans for now. For the time being, I want to be devoted to Ja Myung Go and Castaway on the Moon.
If there’s no [Hollywood] project that [appeals to you], what exactly is it that you want to do?
I’m speaking of a character role that I like. Hollywood still has a kind of [stereotype] about Asian actresses. Strong and skilled in martial arts… they don’t want a [female Asian] lead, they want a character that melts into the production without standing out. I want to do a production that display the charm and individuality of ‘actor Jung Ryeo Won’, not [just another] Asian actress.
What is actor Jung Ryeo Won’s ambition?
I want to show diverse images. To the extent that you can feel, ‘Jung Ryeo Won has that kind of charm’. I emphasize this again but please don’t judge hastily. I am now a runner at the starting line, prepared to run with all my energy.