Mc Bek: Today’s guest made big news for her pretty face. Not long after making a debut as an actress, she made big news as a director at a young age. Besides directing and acting, she is also active in music, writing and drawing. That is why she makes big news quite often. So, what is inside the world of this person? Let us find out together. Director and Actress GHS is here today. I am Bek Ji Yun of People Inside where we see the world through people.
GHS from PCAP: Are you still going to like me when I am old and grey?
Narrator: She always carried a bright and energetic image on TV. She may not be a veteran actor, but her passion for acting is extremely strong. She has placed her overflowing talents and passions not only into acting but into various methods. She now has returned with her second feature length movie, Peach Tree.
(I will skip the promotional section—it gives short previews of the interview.)
Narrator—we will see the sides of GHS never seen before—her sensibility and her charming 4D-ness—her wish to turn doubts into well-grounded ability…Let us meet her now.
mc—how is that you live such a busy life? It seems like your energy level is 4x or 5x higher than most people.
GHS—I would not say that but a lot of people see me as living a busy life.
mc—how do you personally think about your daily life. Do you think your daily life is average and general?
GHS—yes. I actually feel as if I have lots of time. So I do think that I am living an average daily life.
mc-You are doing many things now but you are also a college student. Like other students, did you have some relaxing time since this is a vacation time?
GHS—no. After the vacation started, I was continually busy as I had to prepare for the opening of the movie.
Mc—That movie is Peach Tree? I heard that it was already shown at the JIMFF. How was the response?
GHS—that day, I thought that not too many people will come to the viewing since JeChun is so far and because the movie was shown outside. Plus the weather looked like it was going to rain. But many people came to the viewing.
mc—so did you have the discussion time as a director with the audience?
GHS-yes, before the viewing of the movie.
mc—how was it for you?
GHS—I think I am getting more used to it now. It would be nice if I could do it more frequently. I do feel nervous but I am storing more courage.
mc—what kind of questions do they ask? Do you remember any questions?
GHS—(laughing) Like you just said, they ask me about doing many different things.
mc—In a way, many things that you do are connected to each other. Do you also think that way?
mc—Out of all the things that you do, is there one thing that you consider your main work?
GHS—I always think of myself as a student. When I go abroad, on the occupation line, I seem to always write, “Student”.
GHS—(laughing) because I am a student. (laughter) Well, besides the fact that I am really a student, I usually feel that I will be learning my entire life. Even if I become someone’s mother and even if much time has passed, I feel that I will continue to learn.
mc—in reality, what you say has truth. Of course, maintaining such an attitude is not easy. Regarding Peach Tree, it is not the first time the movie was seen. Right? It was also shown at the Busan International Film Festival. I would assume that what is really nerve-wrecking is when it will be screened to the general audience. When is it going to open?
GHS-It is scheduled to open on October 25th.
mc—That must be a different feeling. What is the difference?
GHS—Even though many regular audiences do attend the movie festivals, most of the viewers at the festivals have special interest in independent and experimental movies. So, it is possible that they watch objectively/coldly but they may watch it with subjective interest. To show this movie to the general audience is a very objective/cold task. I do worry about how to approach the issue. Of course, I also worry about the aftermath of the opening of the movie.
mc—Really? What worries you? Are you fearful of the general audience’s judgment and reactions?
GHS—In reality, I do have them. However, I try not to think too much about them. The reason is that if I think too much about them, I think I will be locked inside by them. Even if I feel afraid, I try to think positively. What I do care about is hoping that this movie will reach the audience with sincerity.
mc—Peach Tree is your second feature film. But, when we read our old diary, even though no one would read it, we want to just close it up. But movies are already broadcasted. Even though you were dedicated to the work at the time, the record remains no matter how old you become. Did you ever think about that? (mc is asking about her regrets about past movies.) Do you have such fears and doubts?
GHS—uh…actually, I do not worry about that. I believe that I can only develop by bringing it out in the open. If I did not make the movie MAGIC or write a novel at that time, I feel that I would have been at a standstill even now. I would be talking about the story (maybe about the meaning of MAGIC??) now.
mc—Then, what is the story/meaning that you want to talk about/convey now?
GHS—these days, I have been thinking a lot about perfecting oneself. Why was I born into this world? Why do I live? I was born normally. What if I was not? Then, what kind of value do I have in this world? While thinking about all these things, I began to write a scenario for the Peach Tree.
Mc—so, that is how you came up with a character with two faces.
GHS-yes. I also wanted to show the idea of two identities within a person. The side of the person facing the front is able to live a normal life. But the side of the person facing backward is unable to do so. But somehow the person who is able to live a normal life live his life with too much distress. They grew up and live in the same environment, but, strangely, their character developments are different. So, I realized that how we live comes from us and from how we think. No matter what the environment, perhaps we are living our lives by blaming too much on other people? It would be happy to find happiness no matter what. While thinking that way, I was able to select the scenario.
mc—The way you decide on a scenario, how you express it and convey it…how does it all start and come about?
GHS—The very beginning usually starts on an impulse. I could get stuck or pinned on a thought or idea. When I become immersed in an idea or concept, many types of images emerge at certain point. It is like writing a diary when you are young. You don’t just write but you also draw pictures too. In similar way, I get associations of many images. So I may try to put them together by writing. But writing is not enough so I may put them into music. Actually, with Peach Tree, I first came up with music after having been thinking about it a lot. From many image associations, a tune came up in my brain and become stuck in me. Then, I was able to write the scenario.
mc-what was the tune that would not leave your brain?
GHS— (singing) You are my little Peach Tree. It sounds like a children’s song.
mc-Even when you were alone, did you think about it that pretty way? (GHS cracks up.)
GHS: That song comes out as a song made by the children as they grow up. So, it may sound monotonous but had to be a very simple melody. But I sang it so badly and it is so embarrassing.
mc—we are just very curious as to how or what process GHS goes through to make a movie.
GHS-In the movie, JSW-ssi sings the song. If you hear him, you will see that it feels very different than the way I sang it here.
mc-What kind of feeling does he give off?
GHS—He is acting and singing with much emotion. So the difference between his and mine are like heaven and earth.
mc—But you must have directed him as to how to do things as a director.
GHS—I do direct but I am famous for not directing that much. (laughter)
mc—then how do you do it?
GHS-I believe that the talks with the actors must be fully completed before entering the ‘scenario’ (I think she means the actual filming??). We would meet to discuss anything about the movie and the direction of the movie. I feel that it can be very confusing to tell actors what to do right at the filming scene. (Wow, so wise!)
mc—so, on location, you are more the watcher of the actors. (GHS says Yes) But, you still have to say action and cut. I would think you would say them in a very pretty voice. (laughter)
GHS—on location, my voice has to be the loudest so I am very loud. Actually, even on purpose, I speak as loud as I can. Even if I may be tense/nervous inside, I try not to show it.
mc—how did you cast JSW?
GHS—A producer whom I worked with in the last long and short films recommended him. So, I sent my script to his Talent Agency.
mc—Ahh, that is all? (GHS says yes) You mean you just sent the script and then he just said that he will do it?
GHS—He told me that, when he was in the army, he read the novel, Tango that I wrote. Then, when he was discharged from the army, he soon received the script from me and he thought it was really a strange coincidence.
mc—So, I would think that you had a meeting with him after giving him the script. How was it that he agreed to do the work so quickly?
GHS—Actually, he did not agree to do the movie from the start. He just said that he is looking at the script with positive feelings. He also gave me some advices about looking at the script in different ways. So I made some corrections and gave the script to him again. JSW-ssi said that I made corrections faster than he expected. (laughter)
mc—ahh, the speed of the corrections..and then he was fine with it.
GHS—yes and at that time he said that he can trust it.
mc—then, as a director, what made you see JSW as the appropriate actor for your film?
GHS-I have been thinking that JSW-ssi and Ryu DukHwan-ssi look alike. Even their image seemed to be similar. They are also like blank canvass. No matter what roles they play, they really fit those roles very well. Now, I feel like JSW, RDH and NSM (Nam SangMI) are “my actors”. They gave me lots of confidence and belief. I feel that they grew/raised me a great deal.
on screen: statement by Suh HyunJin: “On one hand, I liked the freedom given to me by Director GHS, but, on the other hand, I also felt, at times, uncomfortable with it.” “Because GHS herself is an actress, she has great respect for actors. Statement by Jo SeungWoo: “I don’t know if it is OK for me to say this, but I feel that GHS the persons possesses the genius ability.
mc—To become a director, one must know/have the foundation of the basics knowledge. It cannot be just one or two, but many things…like working the script, communicating the scenarios, etc..So, how did you prepare for all of that in the beginning?
GHS—She is no longer with us, but I happen to meet the President of the Morning Production Company, Jung Rep. SeungHye. At that accidental meeting, I happen to tell her that I write scripts. We were talking at a bookstore and she happened to give me her name card. Then I prepared a script to show to her within a year and contacted her. When she first got my script, she actually threw it away. But, to me, that was a refreshing shock and a necessary step. From then on, I learned to eliminate things.
mc—So, it was not that she just threw it away. She was telling you to re-do it?
GHS-yes. So, I made corrections and took it back to her. But then she told me to make it into a short script. Such work together went on for a long time. Then she asked me, if GHS is to become a director, what kind of movie would she want to make? If she is to be an actress, what kind of movie would she like to do? Then she would ask me to write a script for such a movie that would be about 20 min long.
mc—Wow, you really received a very focused personalized education.
GHS—yes. She was my mentor. So, I wrote the script and showed it to her. Then she asked me “to draw a ‘conti” fitting your script. You told me that you draw”. So, I drew the appropriate “conti” and brought it to her. Then, she asked me to write the music fitting the conti.
mc-She knew you made music too.
GHS—So, when I made the music and brought it all to her, she then told me, “Now, you shoot the film.”
GHS—She told me to make it the way I have been thinking. At first I was very shocked by her statement.
mc—At that time, you may have wanted to do it but did not actually think about doing it.
GHS-That is correct. What moved me into action was not me in the beginning.
mc—but, because of her, you became a doer.
GHS-yes. So, I began to be active. Her advice was to always activate/move. She would tell me not to just store what I am thinking inside my head because it would only remain as nothing but my own fantasy. (mc agrees with it.) She told me I have to reveal/take out what is inside my head. Then, I need to be prepared to be beaten down for it and experience the difficulties that come with it. She told me that if I have to get hurt because of it, then I must also accept it and deal with it. Only if I go through and pass the process, I can do this work. That is what I learned from her.
mc—You really received a great advice/counsel from her. It may not have been a classroom education about movie making, but you really received an important education.
GHS—I still work with all the filming staff members whom I worked with from the start. They would tease me about the first time a lot. I was 24 years old then and did not know a single thing. They would see this young 24 y-o who came to the location with just a conti and a script and they felt utterly ridiculous and intolerable about the circumstance. But I learned for certainty that I had to learn it that way.
mc—was she able to see the movie that you made? What was it?
GHS-yes. It was called the Cheerful Caretaker, my very first short film.
mc-what did she say?
GHS-She only said positive things. Not that the movie was good, but that I actually made it happen. She told me, “See? You can do it.”
mc-She told you very important things in two levels. First, She told you to activate and move your thinking. Second, she told you, “See, It can be done. What she did for you is to give you incredible courage. Did you get that surge of courage at that moment?
GHS—yes, I received a lot. After that, I became extremely active in making movies. Before I met her, I was what is referred to as the “?soul stuck inside the corner of the room”, all alone for a long time. Nobody ever knew that I have been drawing for a very long time. Another very important advice that Representative gave me is that, if a person wants to do something badly, then that person must let it be known outside of herself. Of course, many people may say that I had it easy because I am GHS. I do think that they are correct about that. If I was not well known, this work could have been very difficult.
mc—yes, that is true.
GHS—She told me that, that is why, I must let the public know more about me.
on screen: “See? When you try, you can do it.” Statement by Rep Jung SeungHye of Morning Production Company; “A mentor who, instead of teaching the method of movie-making, taught her the courage to make it. “
mc—yes, the fact that you are a known actress helped you. But, did it also make it difficult for you?
GHS—I am just like any other movie maker who writes script and who draws conti. I feel that I am no different from any other directors, but why do I get judged differently—I definitely used to think that way. But then, I realized that those thoughts came from inside of me. I carried feelings of being victimized and feelings of guilty conscience. However, the fact was that nobody was thinking the way I was thinking at that time. Everyone was just focused on making the movie and not at all concerned about who I am. Actually, nobody had any time for mistrust and self-pity on set location. But, I was the only one conscious of it. When I finally became aware of the reality, I was able to shake it off. I realized that no one in the team had such feelings. They were professionals who merely poured out their hardest into the work itself.
mc—as a one team.
GHS—Yes, we were a team. I realized that nobody made me feel those feelings. It was me who did it to me. Then, I was able to break free from it.
mc—now you feel more free?
GHS—I really do.
mc-I know that you set up your own movie production company as a director. But, as an actress, you have a Talent Agency, YG. What did YG say when you decided to make movies?
GHS—I think he just smiled at me. Of course, I don’t know for certain what that may mean. But, I took it as a sign of doubt as well as courage and gratitude. He (YG President) has never put down any dreams that I might have had. I don’t think he even said to do it or to not do it.
mc—so he did not particularly oppose your idea and he did not ??support ? it either?
GHS—he told me to do it if I wanted to do it. I am sure that he had lot of thoughts about it and that is why he told me that.
mc—I would think that the general public also had lots of opinions about you directing—like the internet netizens/browsers. Did you read them?
GHS—I tell myself that sometimes I should not read it. But when I become clear that I need to listen to the opinions, I read all of them. What is clear is that I need to read them objectively and, through them, I may also objectively judge myself as well.
mc—what was the reaction like in the beginning?
GHS—it was always different but there was nothing in between. ?hoboro?? And, I thought it really good because, this work is not something that I can do halfway (noncommittal). When the public freely express their thoughts –even if they may be curses- I think it positively as I am being a stimulant and influence in some way.
mc—so, it seems like you have a personality that is not easily influenced or become hurt emotionally.
GHS—I have felt hurt by the comments in the past. When I was younger, the hurt was so painful that I would feel the need to explain to the public. But I realized that if I decide not to look at it as hurt, it no longer became hurt. I realized that it was up to me to continually change my own thinking about things. If I become imprisoned in the negative thoughts, then I would have felt hurt and sad even by the rain coming down today or the leaves falling. If I had lived my life that way, I would be afraid every day and I would be gradually killing myself. (Mc agrees with GHS) Even though people may express freely because it is an anonymous space, I would like to think that there are no bad people. Sometimes my acting characters get reproaches, but I feel good about them. Someone once analyzed my acting character and posted it. I felt grateful to the person who took the time to analyze me—something that I may not have thought of. If there is something to learn, then I will definitely learn. I do think that I cannot and should not approach me, a person named GHS, subjectively. (OMG—she is not only wise but so disciplined!)
on screen: <I think it says:> People’s opinions of me have ?hurt? as well as helped. Even in the face of all that negative judgments, GHS does not re-package herself. <I think:> We support and cheer her ?dutiful? activities.
mc—You were known as an”ulzzang” through the internet.
GHS-yes, it came out in the newspaper and that is how I found out.
mc—how did it all come out? (GHS’s young pix appear on screen.) When were those pix taken?
GHS—(laughing) I think I was about 19 or 20 at that time.
mc—Those pix came out even before you made the debut? You are constantly characterized as an “ulzzang-star actress”. What kind of meaning did that have for you?
GHS-I sincerely feel it a big luck and grateful incident for me. If were to say that the characterization is burdensome, I may cause pain to others. That was a very thankful time. As I said before, it helped me to become known. It also makes me think that I need to return the gratitude and I think of it positively. I consider it my life’s stroke of luck.
mc—were you a student then?
GHS—I was a student and also a trainee.
mc—were you an acting trainee?
GHS—I was actually a singer-trainee and so I was doing music.
mc—so you first wanted to be a singer.
GHS—since I was young, I really loved playing piano and had thoughts about wanting to sing what I composed. So I wrote numerous music and songs, recorded them into tapes , and sent them to various agencies. That is how I became a trainee.
mc—But you made debut not as a singer but as an actress. How did it change?
GHS–??My personality was not that outgoing and I suffer from big stage fright. When there are lots of people, I tremble a great deal. Because of that problem, I went to an acting school. I did not go to acting school to become an actress but to improve something about my personality. One day, I followed my President (of YG) into a TV studio. Accidentally I met the NN5 PD-nim in the studio who asked me if I would be interested in working in the NN5 series. That is how I made the debut.
mc—did you feel any pang of regrets that you did not debut as a singer?
GHS—I rarely told myself that I must do this or that or be like this or not. I considered the opportunity yet another chance and path for my life. I also thought that, if I take the different path, what I want may come along another way or maybe not. But, all in all, I felt that it was a road that I needed to take and accept.
mc—You did have some modern and unique acting roles. But you also did many historical/period dramas. How was that for you? Did you ever think that your image may be stuck as the period drama actress?
GHS—No,,I did not think that. I was a big fan of Yu InChu, Kang So Yun and Jun??. When I had the chance to act with Jun?? sunsengnim, it felt like a dream to me. I totally fell for it.
Translation by Cheerkoo
(Soon the parts 4,5 & 6) XD