“I feel a happy disappointment. I personally like family-type dramas where a lot of characters come together so I think I learned a lot by looking at the large variety of characters,” said Eugene, who wrapped up eight months of filming for MBC’s weekend drama “A 100-Year Legacy.” The show was the most-watched drama throughout its run but it also earned as much criticism with some saying that the appearance of elements such as the in comprehendible mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship, secret to birth, and sudden car accident, were too forced.
But Eugene is thankful for the show because by working with top veteran actors such as Park Won-sook, Jeon In-hwa and Jung Bo-suk, she came to take another step forward in acting. TenAsia talked to Eugene to hear her thoughts on wrapping up her long journey.
Q. It couldn’t have been easy to work on a drama for eight months.
Eugene : I want to try something a bit shorter now (laughs). It was my first time in a 50-part drama but it actually became hard and boring in some aspects starting midway. But it was an experience that helped me get used to working on long stories.
Q. Viewers were enraged by actress Park Won-sook who played your mother-in-law because of how she treated your character in the beginning of the show.
Eugene: I liked it then better for the shoots though because it was more fun and I was more passionate about my character as well. And because I felt such a wide range of emotions whenever we clashed, I even thought, ‘Ah, this is the fun to acting’ (laughs). But it wasn’t tough emotionally because although my character got her hair yanked and such, it wasn’t for real. Mrs. Park always hugged me after such scenes and told me she was sorry.
Q. Were you able to sympathize with your character when she lived with her mother-in-law that is impossible to understand?
Eugene: I don’t think I would’ve gotten married if I was in her situation (laughs).
Q. It must’ve also been hard trying to understand with how much your character puts up with.
Eugene: There were times I thought ‘Why?’ while reading the script but when that happens, I usually tell the director. It’s fine as long as I can convince myself [of the situation] but when I can’t, I do what I need to in order to. And the script sometimes got changed when I gave my opinion.
Q. Your show was always No. 1.
Eugene: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t conscious of ratings but I’m also not the type that gets affected by it. There are dramas that I’m more attached to even if they don’t score high ratings. I think luck plays a pretty big role as well because even dramas that I thought should do well didn’t because of factors such as the time slot they were lined up in.
Q. How was your chemistry with actor Lee Jung-jin who played your lover? It was your first time acting with him.
Eugene: We actually shot very few scenes where we acted like a couple. Most of our scenes were about us meeting and then going our own ways so I think the only scene where you could say we were on a date was maybe when we ate together (laughs). But I think things went pretty smoothly.
Q. There were various definitions of love that existed in the show. What is your definition of love?
Eugene: I think trust is the most important element. I think working at keeping that love true is key. A human’s love is not complete. Complete love would be agape love and I think maternal love would be closest to agape love. I think a man and woman’s love is about trying to trust and protect it.
Q. You’re already into the 12th year of your acting career. Do you think you’re improving as an actor?
Eugene: There are definitely things I want to achieve as an actor but I don’t think I should get carried away by it. Every time I get too greedy or proud, something bad happens. There are so many people that aren’t given the chance to act, no matter how much they want to, so I’m just thankful with the fact that I can choose the projects I want to do. I can do two to three projects per year maximum so when I think of how many more I can do while I’m in my thirties, every project feels that much more special. This is something I didn’t realize when I was younger.
Q. Some people still see you as an ‘original girl group member.’
Eugene: But I’ve never tried to keep that image. It would actually be pretty funny if I did when I’m an actor (laughs). I’ve rather come to realize, while playing roles such as a mother and single mom, that reality is important to acting. For example, I think it’s also unnatural that actors go to sleep without taking off their make-up in dramas although it can’t be helped because of the time constraints.
Q. Is there any particular character you’d like to play?
Eugene: I’m very drawn to characters that have strong personalities. Whether it’s someone who’s extremely finicky, or curt, or a femme fatale, I’d like to play a character that’s beyond ordinary. I’d also like to try to play someone like Bridget from the movie “Bridget Jones Diary.” It’s disappointing that most of the movies I’ve been in didn’t do well but I’d like to try one again if I were to be handed a good movie.
Q. Is there a producer you really want to try working with?
Eugene: I’d really like to try working with producer Choi Yoon-jung of MBC’s “Coffee Prince.” I think I have a sensitivity that is similar to hers and I think she’s also a detailed producer.
Reporter. Jang Seo Yoon firstname.lastname@example.org
Translator. Jessica Kim
Courtesy of GG Entertainment