Actor Ji Chang-wook (34 years old) has no hesitation in running toward the next step.
Ji Chang-wook took on a difficult challenge in the recently released Netflix original series “The Sound of Magic“. As his first OTT work, he boldly chose a musical drama, which is considered a genre that is difficult to achieve success in Korea.
“The Sound of Magic” is a fantasy music drama that tells the story of a mysterious magician, Lee Eul (Ji Chang-wook) suddenly appears in front of a girl who lost her dream, Yoon Ah-yi (Choi Sung-eun) and a boy who is forced to dream, Na Il-deung (Hwang In-yeop). It is based on the webtoon of the same name by Ha Il-kwon. Director Kim Seong-yoon of “Love in the Moonlight”, “Itaewon Class”, and writer Kim Min-jeong of “Love in the Moonlight” once again collaborated. It ranked fourth in the Netflix TV shows (Non-English) category.
Ji Chang-wook plays the role of the mysterious magician Lee Eul. Lee Eul is a mysterious magician who wants to remain a child forever. He lives in an abandoned amusement park and arouses people’s curiosity. He presents special moments to Choi Sung-eun, who lives in a difficult reality, teaches magic to Choi Sung-eun and Hwang In-youp, who have no dreams, as well as shows them fantasies and dreams.
As this is the first OTT work to be presented under the Hallyu star title, there is a lot of pressure. Nevertheless, Ji Chang-wook expressed his sense of challenge, saying, “I won’t run away from failure.”
- The drama ranked fourth globally.
“It’s really great. It’s a happy thing that a lot of people are watching. It’s the result of all team members working hard on filming, going through many trials and errors and doing their best. I hope you’ll enjoy the drama.”
- It must have taken a process of finding the innocence of childhood to play the role of magician Lee Eul.
“I asked myself a question. ‘Did I really believe in magic?’ I thought a lot about what I dreamed of when I was young. I tried to come to the filming site with an open mind while empathizing and understanding.”
- What preparations did you go through to become magician Lee Eul?
“I practiced magic for quite a long time. Magic is important and singing is also important, but I thought character is the most important. However, magic and singing were important to complete the character. I was able to complete it with the help of many people. Since music contains the subject matter, the process of discussing in detail with the director about how much Lee Eul’s character should be expressed was long.”
- I heard you learned magic from Lee Eun-gyeol.
“I practiced and learned magic for 3~4 months. I learned to look like a magician as much as possible without being noticed by others. (Lee Eun-gyeol) designed the magic that best suited the character.”
- Have you read the original?
“I read about half of the original. The reason why I didn’t read the original until the end was because I thought it wouldn’t be helpful to refer to the original as it is. I just read to understand the original message. I’m different from the original character. Rather than following 100%, I recreated Lee Eul by communicating with the director and the writer. However, what I had to do was not to obscure the message and essence of the original.”
- You must have felt a lot of pressure because of the original.
“I felt a lot of pressure. In fact, I can’t help it. (The original) is such a masterpiece and it’s been well received by many people. It’s not easy to implement on the screen. Lee Eul in the original is so cool. There’s a lot of pressure.”
- It must have been a lot of pressure because a realistic story and a cartoon-like character should be harmonized.
“Lee Eul is both fantasy and realistic. I think he’s like a psycho. He’s a complex character. So I talked a lot with the director. It was difficult yet fun. Lee Eul is a straightforward person. I always filmed with the question of ‘why does this character act like this’, but there was no such question in this work. I was happy when he was happy and angry when he was angry. I acted by expressing all his emotions honestly.”
- “The Sound of Magic” is a healing drama, so I think it would have been healing while filming it.
“It was fun. First of all, there were days when I was tired and worried about appearing on set. Strangely, the moment I entered the dressing room, I felt good. It’s like I was going to an amusement park. There was also a bit of excitement. Looking at Ah-yi and Il-deung, I wanted to cheer for them. ‘The Sound of Magic’ is a healing work that gave me joy.”
- How was your chemistry with Choi Sung-eun and Hwang In-yeop?
“Choi Sung-eun is really good at acting. She knows how to be greedy. She’s a smart friend who creates a good atmosphere on set. I wanted to cheer for her. I wanted to let Sung-eun do everything she wanted. I wanted to make her as comfortable as possible. I don’t know if my feelings were conveyed well. We had fun filming like friends. In-youp is a very attractive friend. I cheered for In-youp a lot like Sung-eun. We enjoyed the set as much as possible. We wanted to feel that the set was not always fierce, but a pleasant place. Both friends were great. They followed me well and treated me like friends. I’d say they were really great actors.”
- This is your first time entering OTT.
“It doesn’t feel real at all. There hasn’t been any feedback such as ‘I enjoyed the drama’. I haven’t felt it yet. It seems a bit different (from other platforms). There’s a different kind of tension and excitement than when I did dramas, movies and performances in the past. It’s fascinating to hear that the drama would be released globally. Various thoughts crossed.”
- Did the fact that it was a global OTT release affect your appearance?
“(There was no effect) at all. Netflix’s great merit is that it is broadcast globally for overseas fans. That’s an inevitable advantage. But I didn’t choose the work because of that. I try not to think much about the ‘Hallyu star’ modifier. I’m grateful but I’m also ashamed. I always think ‘Is this real?’ I’m grateful, but those things don’t affect my choice of work.”
- You would have considered the risk of failure.
“Among the works that I appeared in, there were works that didn’t get good results. Such works were also a great help and opportunity. I thought ‘Don’t run away without doing what you wanted to do just because you were scared of such a failure.’ I think it can be really hard for me in my 40s and 50s to keep up with success. Even when choosing a project in the future, there will be a feeling of pressure about failure, but I try not to run away.”