It’s always exciting to talk to an actor who plays a charming character in a drama. I got to smile naturally as I interviewed Jung Il Woo (24) who plays the role of a picky 19-year-old son of a conglomerate Cha Chi Soo in tvN’s Flower Boy Ramen Shop.
Cha Chi Soo is a perfect man who has everything, a handsome face and wealth. He, as a high school student who attracts women even older than him, is currently obsessed with Eun Bi (Lee Chung Ah), a student teacher. He thinks it’s strange to be that way whenever he sees Eun Bi who do not even reach the standard he set up for his ideal type, except for the power of her forearms. However, he feels something fresh from her every day.
I recently met Jung at a cafe in Cheongdam-dong. When he pouted his lips to drink mango juice or got surprised by a spray air freshener as it sprayed toward his nose while talking, I couldn’t differentiate Jung Il Woo from Cha Chi Soo.
◇ Cha Chi Soo and Jung Il Woo are much alike in character
He said, “Similarities between me and Chi Soo? I and Chi Soo are very much alike in character that it might be more difficult to find differences between us. I also have a cute, picky, and a blunt side. I don’t like things splattered onto my clothes, either. I used to change my clothes immediately when they get stained by things like food (and he laughed).”
Chi Soo is a person who has had everything since he was born and knows how to show off the things he has. However, he gets slapped by Eun Bi in front of other students one day and gets shocked by that. The shock he gets from that is greater than anyone can imagine that he eventually gets sick and unable to sleep because of the anger and the humiliation he feels.
“I don’t like to be humiliated in front of others, either. So I try not to make humiliating situations. If I get humiliated, I might pretend like nothing happened but will keep thinking about it again and again when I get home.”
Jung says he tries to be cool but is not actually. That is another similarity between him and Cha Chi Soo. Chi Soo’s personality is clearly shown when he persistently goes after Eun Bi. I wondered when Jung Il Woo becomes the most persistent. Without a moment of hesitation, he answered, “when I play a game.” He said, “When I play a game or make a bet, I cannot be cool. I usually play games with Gong Yoo from the same agency and he is as persistent as I am,” and laughed.
One of the reasons that I’m fond of Chi Soo is because he acts like a baby in front of his father (Joo Hyun), an owner of Chasung Group, unlike other typical sons of conglomerates, rebellious to their parents, in dramas. Chi Soo acts like a baby, saying, “Mr. Cha!” and his father tries to soothe his son by saying, “Okay, okay,” which is quite comical. This is the part Jung acts the most realistically in this drama.
He said, “I also act cute or blunt to my parents, sometimes. I’ve been really busy recently so I go to bed right away when I get home. I mostly come home at late night and leave in the early morning, so I hardly see them. Even on weekends or holidays, I’m out for practice. So I feel really sorry for them.”
As I talked more and more with him, I started to understand that it would be really difficult to find differences between him and Cha Chi Soo, as he said early. As I asked him to think about differences between him and Chi Soo, he did for a while and answered, “I’m not a playboy or say something cheesy to people like Chi Soo,” and bashfully smiled.
◇ His ideal type is a pretty and skinny woman
Chi Soo is a man who attracts women by saying things he doesn’t actually mean. He is clever enough to know what a woman likes to hear from a man and uses it to his advantage. In the scene where he first meets Eun Bi in a restroom, he attracted her by saying, “I like your mole,” as he sees a mole on her cheek. However, Eun Bi soon gets shocked as she finds out that it wasn’t what he really meant.
He said, “I can’t say things that I don’t really mean like Chi Soo. It’s not like I would say ‘You are ugly’ to an ugly girl right to her face, but I never say things that I don’t actually mean.”
He said he always want to be honest with people. While I was at it, I also asked about body parts he usually pays attention to when he sees a woman. He answered, “I see the woman’s face, certainly. And I like a skinny girl, but not too skinny. If she is slim like Lee Chung Ah, it’s okay.”
Chi Soo usually gets obsessed to Eun Bi when she sweats and has her hair tied up with a yellow rubber band. It’s like his anger eventually has become lovesick. As I asked him if he had an experience to become lovesick, he answered, “Of course, I do. I once fell in love with a girl only because she had a pretty face at first. But I got to like her more as I found out she had a great personality, as well. However, I couldn’t actually meet her like Chi Soo did. I just became happy whenever I thought about her and my life revolved around her.”
Chi Soo thinks Eun Bi is sexy when she ties her hair up. I asked him when he thinks a woman is sexy, and he answered, “I get attracted to a woman when she focuses on her work. Or when she knows something that I don’t know. I also think a woman in a t-shirt and jeans is sexy. Wearing sexual clothes doesn’t always make a woman look sexy.”
He is going to the same college with Lee Chung Ah. Lee has appeared on several romantic comedy films such as Temptations of Wolves (’04) and My Tutor Friend 2 (’07). As I asked him how he feels to work with an actress who already have many experiences in the romantic comedy genre, he answered, “Lee Chung Ah’s acting style is so natural. She also well describes a character who has a dogged-spirit. I think we are and will be perfect together because things are getting better as we work more and more together.”
◇ His buzzwords: “Choa~,” “Are you crazy?”
Flower Boy Ramen Shop makes the audience laugh because Jung Il Woo often acts hilarious in this drama. Especially when he gets spanked by Lee Chung Ah, he totally becomes hilarious. In one of the episodes, Eun Bi slaps and spanks Chi Soo. As he gets spanked, he sticks his back to a blackboard and shouts, “Are you Crazy?” before he finally gets spanked by her again.
He said, “I think I was slapped about 10 times. It was more painful than I expected. I was spanked for real, too. I created the voice tone for “Are you crazy?” I’ve recently created buzzwords like ‘Choa (Chi Soo sometimes calls himself Choa Chi Soo and just shortly Choa)’ and ‘Are you crazy?’ Do you think they are good? (and he laughed)”
The audience for Flower Boy Ramen Shop are giving favorable responses to his various facial expressions that he makes to describe the character. To make this progress, he had to try very hard. He said, “When I was doing Unstoppable High Kick, the director pointed out that I didn’t have many expressions on my face. Since then, I’ve tried really hard to make various facial expressions, looking into a mirror. I felt more comfortable to make facial expressions when I was doing SBS TV’s 49 Days.”
The 8th episode of Flower Boy Ramen Shop tipped a love triangle of Eun Bi, Chi Soo, and Kang Hyuk (Lee Ki Woo). By now, it seems Kang Hyuk is more likely to be Eun Bi’s boyfriend because Chi Soo is still a high school student. As director Jung Jung Hwa also mentioned, “It’s both possible that Chi Soo becomes Eun Bi’s boyfriend or that Chi Soo grows up as Eun Bi and Kang Hyuk finally fall in love,” the audience’s curiosity about the ending of this drama is getting more and more increased.
About the ending, Jung said, “It doesn’t matter who finally becomes Eun Bi’s boyfriend. I just hope that this drama meets an happy ending. There’s now only the second half of this drama left. I’ll try my best to make this drama as a heartwarming and pleasant one for all audiences. I think that’s what I have to do.”
Source: TV Report