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“Singing, Acting—I Want to Do Both!”

Posted July. 08, 2004 22:27,   


“What do you mean? I sing really well!”

Rain (Jung Ji-hoon, 22) responds in earnest, taken aback by the comment, “But you’re not as good a singer as you are an actor or a dancer, right?” It’s a change from the soft tone he’s been using to answer the preceding questions from the reporters gathered before him.

Rain will be taking another shot at acting in the upcoming “Full House” (directed by Pyo Min-su, written by Min Hyo-jeong) on KBS2, set to debut on July 14. He will play a top Asian actor named Lee Yeong-jae. It’s been eight months since his last acting stint on KBS2’s “Let’s Go to School, Sangdu!” His new show, “Full House,” is based on a comic series of the same name by Won Soo-yeon.

Lee Yeong-jae scores record numbers at the box office in each of his movies, but he’s arrogant and closed off, which makes him rather inept at love. He aims to neither hurt nor be hurt, but he slowly learns how to love when a woman named Han Ji-eun (Song Hye-gyo), a cheerful realist, comes into his life.

We met with Rain on the afternoon of July 6 in Sido, in Bukdo-myeon, Ongjin-gun, Incheon, where the set of “Full House” is located. Rain appeared wearing a large pair of sunglasses and a red sleeveless shirt that revealed his chest. “Since the character is supposed to be a major star, his clothes are a bit on the flashy side,” he quips. “So I tend to pay a lot of attention to the wardrobe.”

--So you’re playing a star on the show as well…

“Because I’m an entertainer, sometimes I’m not even at liberty to get angry when I want. Lee Yeong-jae is arrogant and selfish, and tries to solve everything with money. We’re both similar and dissimilar. If I behaved like my character does, I’d never hear the end of it.”

--This is the second time you’re trying your hand at acting…

“When I appeared on ‘Let’s Go to School, Sangdu,’ many people were saying that a singer shouldn’t try to act. Then, when I began to receive favorable reviews for my acting, some people tried to downplay it by insisting that it was because the character was so similar to who I am in real life. But if I do well again this time, maybe I’ll actually be recognized for my acting ability. There are many singers out there who are good at both dancing and singing, entertainers who have both looks and acting talent; I want to be one of them.”

--Are there any particular lessons you’re taking for your acting?

“I’m working with a diction coach. An actor’s enunciation is very different from a singer’s, so I had to learn it from scratch. When I was working on ‘Sangdu,’ I used to get three copies of the same script, because they’d always get tattered from my reading them so many times. The third and last copy was the only intact one. I don’t really like comics, but I read ‘Full House’ three times for the role.”

― What’s the difference between acting and singing? What if you had to choose one?

“Acting is fun because it lets you live somebody else’s life. But you can’t do it alone; you have to strike a harmony with your fellow cast members. Singing, you can do well by yourself. And if I point my finger in a certain direction when I’m onstage, thousands of people move with me, to follow where I’m pointing. Singing, acting--I don’t want to give up either. I guess I’m fortunate in this respect: when I get tired of acting practice, I can always work on my dancing, and if I get tired of that, I can go practice my singing.”

Song Hye-gyo, who stars as Rain’s love interest, remarked, “I’ve never seen an actor who works this hard. He always disappears somewhere with his script to go practice by himself.”

Director Pyo Min-su also commented, “He doesn’t seem to have had proper training in acting, but he seems to have a natural knack for it.” “He’s very hardworking and meticulous,” he added.

Rain will return to singing with his third album, slated for release in September. “I’ll refrain from dancing this time and concentrate on my ballads, to demonstrate my vocal prowess,” he laughs.

Sun-Woo Kim sublime@donga.com