Ahh, Ji-Sung. I’ve wanted to make this list for a while now–since about halfway through Defendant, to be exact–but I held off since I knew he’d be making a lot more awesome expressions throughout the show. Let’s go!
Projects I’ve Seen: Protect the Boss (1/2 of it), Kill Me Heal Me, Entertainer, Defendant, The Vampire Lives Next Door
Ji-Sung. The man of many characters. I can hardly believe the actor I really did not connect with in Protect the Boss (was that really by I Remember You‘s writer?!) is the same man who successfully convinced me he was a teenage girl later in his career.
I won’t spend very long on Kill Me Heal Me though, not because it’s not worth mentioning, but because it’s the role that shot him to massive internet face (where I roam, at least), so… I’m figuring we all already know the roles.
I do want to take just a minute and pay tribute to my favorites, however: Perry Park and Yo-Na. They were my favorite to watch, and oddly enough may have been the most ad-libbed, according to one translated interview. Does that make anyone else shake their head in wonder? Can he get any more talented?
It’s Cha Do-Hyun, I want to spent most of time on. Because really, I’m incredibly impressed with Ji-Sung’s work here. Not only did he have to craft a blank slate character, one that felt like a demure background at the beginning–he then slowly had to build that character, incorporating traits from all the others even without letting any one character take over. And he did it. I could see it, as I watched KMHM a second time–here a look from Perry Park, there Yo-Na’s smile, most noticeably Shin Se-Gi’s confidence. And through it all, he was undeniably Cha Do-Hyun, the polite, gentle, caring man who dealt with his illness for years. And while he might wake up in Yo-Na’s clothes, you can tell it’s not her.
~ ~ ~
But there’s so much more to Ji-Sung than Kill Me Heal Me. He also has an amazing emotional range, evident in different characters but really highlighted in his recent drama Defendant (so good. I will do a review, I promise).
From sad (such different kinds of sadness: heart rending, mixed with love, panic, and the dull ache of a long held hurt.)
to at his wits end, barely holding on–whether that’s out of his mind with rage, a feeling of being kicked in the stomach, or determined to bear a weight so great it would have killed anybody else.
to anger and disgust (I can just see his eyes saying ‘I hate you’)
to determined: you will tell me or I will find out or you will suffer.
and, oh yeah, playful!
This is just one show, and I stopped when I got tired (sorry, I’m working on an online photodump area!) For an entirely different range of emotion, less intense but no less varied, I definitely suggest Entertainer. It’s a less recognized gem, my favorite musical drama to date (including my current recap project Liar and His Lover).
I also ran into a short film of his, which. It’s Ji-Sung. As a vampire. Here’s the first half, it’s pretty fantastic. ^^
Ji-Sung in recent years has married, to an actress I’m also a fan of: Lee Bo Young (she’s in I Hear Your Voice). They’re seriously so cute, and I am such a fan of this couple. She had their first child in the summer of 2015 and has just returned to acting in Whisper, which funnily enough took over for her husband’s hit drama Defendant on SBS. Look at this cute couple!
And since he is a very attractive man and this is still basically my fangirl’s tribute to him, I’ll end with a few of my favorite photos:
Do you have a favorite Ji-Sung, let me know! Until next time!