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Kim So-hyun blossoms into a leading lady: After years as a child actor, Kim became the star of two major dramas in 2019

Dec 27,2019
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Kim So-hyun [E&T STORY ENTERTAINMENT]
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Actor Kim So-hyun has been busy this year appearing in two drama series that were adapted from web comics. “Love Alarm” from Daum Webtoon, left, aired on Netflix. [NETFLIX]
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“The Tale of Nokdu” from Naver Webtoon aired on KBS2. [KBS]
Born in 1999, actor Kim So-hyun made her first TV appearance in 2006 at just 7 years old in an episode of KBS’s one-act play series “Drama City.” Not long after, in 2008, she made her official acting debut in the KBS drama series “Korean Ghost Stories.”

That role was followed up by parts in numerous major dramas, including her first major role in 2015 as the main character of KBS’s drama series “Who Are You - School 2015.” Along the way, she has built herself a steady career as one of the most recognized actors of her age.

This year, she shined in dramas that were adapted from well-known web comics. Daum Webtoon’s “Love Alarm” was adapted by Netflix and premiered on Aug. 22, while a series based on Naver Webtoon’s “The Tale of Nokdu” premiered on KBS2 on Sept. 30. Kim played the role of Dong Dong-ju in “Nokdu,” who fights against the conservative Joseon (1392-1910) society along with Jeon Nok-du (played by actor Jang Dong-yoon), who sneaks into Dong-ju’s village disguised as a woman. “Nokdu” wrapped up its 32-episode run on Nov. 25, while Netflix confirmed that it will be producing a second season of “Love Alarm” in October.

“I am relieved to think that I have crossed the threshold [between child actor and adult actor],” Kim said.

“I wanted to act in a way that was right for me, and I think that was how I made the transition. I think I should keep going the way I am.”

Kim sat for an interview with Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, to discuss her transition from being a child star to an adult actor and her future plans for her career. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.



Q. How do you feel now that “The Tale of Nokdu” has wrapped?

A. It really feels over now that I’m going around doing interviews. I feel free, but mostly sad. Filming the show was so fun, and it makes me sad that it’s over.



What was it like working with Jang as your on-screen partner?

He has great energy and he brightened up the set so much. We got pretty close before we started shooting. Even though there is an age difference between us, we decided that we needed to become close friends because there were a lot of scenes where we were fighting and playing around like close friends. So we talked a lot and we got close. It was nice to have someone to talk openly to about acting with.



Did you read the original web comic for “Nokdu”?

I read it before I started shooting. I wanted to have the short hair like Dong-ju, and we tried to keep the vibe of the original piece as much as we could. I tried get across Dong-ju’s edgy - and sometimes even mean - side as well. I think out of all the characters that I’ve played, I’m the closest to Dong-ju. I showed a part of myself through Dong-ju.



Which scene do you remember filming the most?

I would choose the scene where I’m washing clothes with Nokdu. We shot it on our first day. I was excited about the first shoot because it was my first time filming with a male actor dressed as a woman (laughs). It felt like acting with a pretty girl. I also thought “‘The Tale of Nokdu’ is really starting now!”



What did you think of Jang’s portrayal of a woman?

It was actually really good. He has such white skin, and his facial features are quite soft. I was worried that it might feel a little weird, but he was really pretty and the staff liked it as well. I could call him “eonni” [older sister] without feeling too awkward.



A lot of fans said that they hoped that you and Jang would start dating in real life. Did you know that?

I didn’t know it until the interviews. I guess we made a nice couple (laughs). I felt relieved in a way. Because Nok-du and Dong-ju bicker over everything, I was worried that we might not deliver the characters’ emotional transition into partners and that we just might look like a brother and sister. But to see people say that, I guess we got the flirtatious part across.



Have you started to consider dating?

I haven’t had a break. I start working on a different thing as soon as one project is over. Maybe if I get the time off, I might start thinking about it.



Are you focused on working on a lot of projects?

Not really. I actually have that pressure to take my time and make prudent decisions. It’s been quite a while since I filmed “Love Alarm,” but it seems like I did “Nokdu” right away because of the premiere date. But now, I’m planning on taking my time. I plan to keep that throughout my career.



What do you do in your free time?

I have always wanted to go to the movies on my own. I finally went when I had a day or two off from shooting. I went by myself and watched three movies in a single day. It helped me relax so much. These days, I go out on my own and eat on my own as well.



What’s your favorite type of movie?

I like romantic films that are calm and peaceful. My favorite is “About Time” (2013).



What’s on your mind these days?

How can I improve my acting? What do I lack? How can I make it better? How will I express the different things I need with a different work? I’m mostly thinking about my acting. Besides that, I think about the places I can travel to.



What would you like for next year?

I hope to be healthy and not get ill. I want to keep in touch with the actors I met through “The Tale of Nokdu” and keep our relationships. I hope everything goes well.



In six years, you will celebrate your 20th year as an actor. What would you like to say to yourself in six years?

I hope that I have become an actor with a firmer center and more room in my heart, who really enjoys acting. I hope I become a lot stronger than I am now.

BY HWANG SO-YOUNG [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]


김소현 ”장동윤=에너자이저, 덕분에 현장 분위기 늘 밝아”

배우 김소현(20)이 20대 대표 여배우로 자리매김했다. 아역 배우로 시작했기에 아역 이미지 벗기가 가장 큰 관건이었다. 오롯이 작품 활동에 집중했고, 작품을 통해 극복해냈다. 현재 롤이 어색하지 않다. 키스신을 봐도 자연스럽고 러브라인을 봐도 여느 풋풋한 20대 커플로 보인다. 올해 넷플릭스 '좋아하면 울리는'과 KBS 2TV '조선로코-녹두전'(이하 '녹두전')을 통해 어린 이미지를 확실하게 벗었다. "자연스럽게 (아역과 성인 배우의) 경계선을 넘어 다행이다. 맞는 옷을 입고 연기하다 보니 그럴 수 있었던 것 같다"면서 "이대로 쭉 가면 되겠다 싶다"고 웃었다.

-종영한 게 실감이 나나.
"인터뷰를 하니 종영한 게 실감이 난다. 홀가분하기도 한데 섭섭함이 큰 것 같다. 즐거웠던 현장이라 더 아쉬움이 남는 것 같다."

-파트너 장동윤과의 호흡은.
"굉장한 에너자이저다. 덕분에 현장 분위기가 밝게 잘 유지된 것 같다. 작품 시작 전에 친해졌다. 나이 차가 나긴 하는데 친구처럼 치고받고 그래야 하니 친해져 보자고 해서 친구처럼 허물없이 많이 얘기하면서 친해졌다. 연기하며 터놓고 얘기할 수 있어 더 좋았다."

-원작 웹툰을 봤나.
"웹툰을 보고 촬영에 들어갔다. 외적으로는 웹툰처럼 동주의 단발머리를 가지고 가고 싶었다. 원작의 느낌을 최대한 구현하려고 노력했다. 동주의 무뚝뚝하면서 까칠한 모습을 반영하며 찍으려고 했다. 지금까지 소화했던 캐릭터 중 동주랑 가장 비슷한 것 같다. 동주의 모습에 날 녹여냈다."

-촬영하는 동안 가장 기억에 남는 장면은.
"녹두와 빨래를 하는 장면을 꼽고 싶다. 첫 촬영 때 찍었던 장면이다. 첫 촬영에 대한 설렘도 있고 예쁘게 여장한 남자 배우와 촬영하는 게 처음이라.(웃음) 예쁜 언니랑 촬영하는 느낌이었다. '이제 진짜 녹두전이 시작하는구나!' 하는 생각이 들었다."

-장동윤의 여장에 대해 어떻게 평가했나.
"실제로 (장동윤의) 여장이 괜찮았다. 워낙 하얗고 선이 부드러운 스타일이었다. 처음엔 거부감이 들까 걱정했는데 너무 예뻐서 스태프들도 좋아했다. 어색하지 않게 '언니'라고 부를 수 있었다."

-장동윤과의 실제 연애를 응원하는 팬들이 많았다.
"그런 반응까지 나오는 줄 몰랐는데 인터뷰하면서 알게 됐다. 잘 어울렸구나 싶다.(웃음) 한편으론 다행이라고 생각했다. 녹두와 동주가 너무 투닥거리다 보니 연인으로 발전하는 모습이 잘 나올까, 너무 남매처럼 보이지 않을까 걱정했다. 그런데 이런 얘기가 나오는 걸 보니 알콩달콩한 모습이 잘 나왔던 것 같다."

-연애에 대한 생각은 없나.
"쉼이 없었다. 작품 하나가 끝나면 또 다른 작품 준비하고 그랬다. 작품에서 빠져나오는 데 시간이 좀 걸리는 스타일이라 다른 생각을 할 틈이 없었다. 공백이 길어지면, 쉬는 시간이 좀 생기면 그때쯤 연애를 하지 않을까 싶다."

-다작에 대한 욕심은.
"그렇게 작품을 많이 하고 싶어 하는 건 아니다. 천천히 쉬면서 신중하게 선택해야 한다는 부담감이 있다. '좋아하면 울리는'은 찍은 지 꽤 됐는데 공개 시점이 '녹두전'과 맞물려서 연달아 작품을 한 것처럼 됐는데 천천히 해나가려는 생각이 크다. 앞으로도 그렇게 작품을 해나갈 계획이다."

-쉴 때 주로 무엇을 하나.
"혼자 영화 보는 게 로망이었다. 하고 싶은 것 중 하나였는데 이번에 드라마 촬영 당시 하루 쉬는 날이 있으면 영화관에 혼자 가서 영화를 세 편씩 보고 그랬다. 큰 힐링이 됐다. 요즘은 혼자 돌아다니고 혼밥도 하고 그런다. 하나씩 해나가고 있다."

-인생 영화는.
"로맨스 영화를 좋아한다. 일상 같은 잔잔한 영화를 좋아하는데 '어바웃 타임'이 제일 좋았다."

-요즘 가장 큰 고민은.
"연기적으로 부족한 게 있나, 무엇이 부족했나, 어떻게 보완해야 하나, 다른 작품 들어가면 어떻게 표현해야 할까 등 연기적인 게 가장 큰 고민이다. 연기 외적으로는 어떻게 하면 여행을 잘할 수 있을까 이게 고민이다."

-새해 소망은.
"아프지 않고 건강했으면 좋겠다. '녹두전'에서 만났던 배우들과 내년에도 함께 응원하며 인연을 이어가고 싶다. 다 잘 됐으면 좋겠다."

-앞으로 6년 후, 데뷔 20년 차가 된 미래의 나에게 편지를 보낸다면.
"좀 더 단단해지고 여유 있는, 즐기면서 진심으로 연기하는 배우가 됐으면 좋겠다. 지금보다는 훨씬 더 단단한 사람이 되길 바란다."

황소영 기자