Korean actor Oh Ji-ho [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
Q: Do you think such change means that Tae-ha is growing up?
Oh: I think so. Tae-ha is someone who refuses to accept that Hye-won is the slave Eon-nyeon, and so when you tell him that Dae-gil is the same as any other nobleman, I think he must have thought about that himself. Tae-ha believes that he is carrying out his duty to save the people but he realizes that people actually hate aristocrats. And I think that is when he decides to be someone who mediates that gap and matures.
Q: I can understand that meeting Hye-won was what motivated him to change. But the much talked-about kissing scene on Jeju island seemed a bit out of context.
Oh: It must have seemed somewhat like that since people are saying so, but I think it also signifies that Tae-ha changed. If he was just a loyal solider, he would have just taken the young royal king with him in that situation. But as someone who lost his wife and child and feeling how could someone who couldn't save his family save a country, he had just been doing his best in protecting Hye-won. And I think his feeling evolved into love during their journey down to Jeju island. He had already started loving her and when he turned around to look for Hye-won, he had actually gone out to greet his future wife. The kissing scenes might have looked out of context because the previous scene, where Tae-ha was fighting Chul-woong (played by Lee Jong-hyuk), left such a strong impression. But for Tae-ha personally, I think it was right to do that in that situation.
Q: The time has come for you to part with Tae-ha. Are you satisfied with the transformation of your image?
Oh: I portrayed a manly, serious character through Song Tae-ha for the first time after doing romantic comedies for almost eight years. I am honored that my first attempt worked out really well. Being able to play two different types of characters means that I will be able to play various characters in the future and that is the most important thing for me. I am satisfied with my acting too. I can't say that I'm 100 percent satisfied, but I believe I have shown as much as I could.
Q: You are really into showing your new character these days, so it is more disconcerting that you shot a commercial for Chinese-style squid noodles.
Oh: I'm sorry. (laugh) When I got the offer to do the commercial, I worried a lot over whether I should do it or not. I was worried if the commercial might cause trouble for the drama since I am playing a serious character. But it's about my own future too. If I was only going to play characters like Song Tae-ha in the future, I shouldn't have done that commercial. But I am a person who will play comic characters too, so I wanted to show my silly side through the commercial. Director Kwak Jeong-hwan had said, "They wouldn't play the commercial right before 'The Slave Hunters' comes on, would they?" but they did. (laugh) I felt a little bad about that.
Q: Tae-ha's masculine side was maximized under the direction of director Kwan Jung-hwan. What was it like working with him?
Oh: He is very meticulous and really great at editing. And he has a great sense of color. The most important thing is that he knows the good points and bad points of the actors he is working with. So he doesn't make the actor do the kind of acting he has done in previous dramas, thus you can always show a new side to youself. For example, in scenes where you talk to someone else and the other person leaves, you look away for a moment and then look back. That is how the scene usually ends in many other dramas. But director Kwak never tells you to do things like that. He says that when the conversation ends, you follow the other person with your eyes and your emotions should come out from your eyes. I really loved that and if I may dare say so, I think I have learned how to really use my eyes while working on this drama.
Q: There were many beautiful scenes in the drama under such direction. Which one was your favorite?
Oh: We shot the drama over the course of eight months so many scenes come to mind -- such as the breakdown scene, the fight scene with Dae-gil on the reed field, the battle scene with the Qing Dynasty army which was similar to the film "300". But the most memorable scene is when Tae-ha and Dae-gil are running side by side on the battlefield, and they look at each other and smile. I think that is the moment when the tension between them, which made it hard for them to accept each other, ends.
Q: I think you met a really great drama this time, like when you did "My Wife is a Superwoman".
Oh: I had actually predicted that the show would do well because I knew I would be able to fully show what I have. But I didn't know that it would be so popular from the start. Something like that could almost never happen again. Not only because there wouldn't be another drama like this one but it was a real blessing for me to get a role like Tae-ha. I don't think this kind of drama could ever come out again. There was actually a period where we were a bit hesitant but that was the virtue of our drama. It could have been more fun if Tae-ha had really caused a revolution, but we were just military officers, noblemen and slaves. It was just a story about people living their lives and that is why I liked it.
Q: If they were to make the second season of "The Slave Hunters", would you do it?
Oh: I would sign the contract first. But I want to be the one chasing because it is too exhausting being chased. (laugh)
Reporter : Wee Geun-woo firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk email@example.com
Editor : Lynn Kim firstname.lastname@example.org, Lee Ji-hye email@example.com
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