Jung In-sun (정인선) has played many different roles throughout her acting career in the showbiz. They include a police officer worn down by reality, a woman who took a break from work to focus on family, and a single mom.
Her latest role in “How to be Thirty” (아직 낫서른) marks the first time where she’s playing someone her age. Obviously entering the 30s is a huge milestone, but as Jung In-sun shares, ” life doesn’t change much“. Scroll to see what else she has told iQiyi International about her latest project, co-stars, and thoughts on love.
1. Could you share more about your role in “How to be Thirty” with us?
I play the role of Seo Ji-won, a webtoon writer who just turned 30. She thought her work and love life would be smooth once she turned 30. But even in her 30s, she still has to face difficulties and unknowns. I think it’s a character that many people can relate to.
2. In terms of personality and interests, how similar are you to your character Seo Ji-won? For example, do you enjoy reading webtoons?
I often read webtoons. If I’m into a particular piece of work, I tend to stay up all night reading it.
3. What is the most attractive or charming trait of your character?
There are many realistic and empathetic parts. This drama focuses on the worries of people in their 30s. The reunion with (Ji-won’s) first love is very dramatic, but the stories of work, love, life and friendship are all realistic, and there are many parts that relate to me. So I think while I was acting, the actual expression and tone of Jung In-sun came out a lot.
4. What was the most challenging part of preparing for this series and how did you overcome it?
In the drama, Ji-won, Ran-joo, and A-young are best friends. They have been friends for more than 10 years since they were young. I thought the basic and the most important part of this work was the chemistry among the three people. We all felt the same way.
It’s my first time working with them. We didn’t have much time between casting and shooting, so I thought we’d get closer while filming. Actress Cha Min-ji, who plays A-young, said she reserved a studio and suggested we take pictures of Ji-won, Ran-joo, and A-young from high school. So we brought clothes and items of that time and took pictures. I remember we laughed a lot when we saw each other competing for dowdiness without makeup. So naturally, Ji-won, Ran-joo, and A-young got close to each other.
5. As Seo Ji-won is a webtoon writer, how did you prepare for this role? For example, did you read more webtoons? Did you talk to webtoon writers to understand the job better?
Actually, I’m not good at drawing, but I started to do art alone at home after I accepted this role. I think I felt good by buying DIY products for my hobby. I got a lot of help from a webtoon writer to play the role. He taught me how to use the equipment to draw webtoons and showed me how to work on set. Thanks to him, I was able to get closer to Seo Ji-won.
6. This is your first time working with actor Kang Min–hyuk, who gained popularity as a member of CNBLUE. What was your first impression of Kang Min–hyuk and how was your chemistry?
The chemistry between Ji-won and Seung-yoo in the drama was all thanks to actor Kang Min-hyuk. Actor Kang Min-hyuk (is) a person who always cared for others from the first to the last day of filming and showed his personality.
I was worried that it would be awkward because it was my first time acting in a romantic drama with someone my age. But later I found my worries were uncalled-for. We became very close and reliant on each other while filming. Sometimes we made NGs while filming serious scenes and we burst into laughter because we read each other’s thoughts just by looking at each other’s expressions.
7. In the drama, your character Seo Ji-won develops a romantic relationship with Kang Min-hyuk’s character, Lee Seung-yoo. How did you build chemistry with your co-star?
As my first love in middle school reappears at 30, the excitement of falling in love begins. If I were a middle school student, I would have started to love with just my heart fluttering. But Ji-won, who is now 30 years old, begins to get complicated for some reason. I think their chemistry is subtler and more complicated.
8. You also had the opportunity to work with Ahn Hee Yeon, who plays your friend Lee Ran-joo in the drama. Could you tell us what working with her was like?
Actress Ahn Hee-yeon is a person who can talk (frankly) about her thoughts and feelings. So, we could get closer faster. As we talked together, we were able to take care of each other’s difficult and painful memories. I think we have a lot of affection for each other. So, I think the scene where we’re together shows our affection for each other in the way we look at each other.
9. This series is based on a webtoon called “Born in 1985”. Before you accepted the role, did you know about the webtoon? What attracted you to this role?
After I accepted this role, I got to read the original work. Our drama has been adapted differently from the original work.
It is very meaningful to be able to talk about (being) 30 (while) turning 30, and on the other hand, it attracted me like fate.
10. Through portraying the character Seo Ji-won, have you learned anything new about yourself?
I thought I was the only one who was still having a hard time, but after I met Ji-won, I realised I wasn’t the only one who was having a hard time. It would be okay if my work, love, and life are still troubled and difficult. I thought a lot about that.
11. Could you share your favourite scene from the drama? Without spoilers, of course. Why is that scene your favourite?
It’s the scene where Ji-won and Seung-yoo confirm each other’s hearts. On (that) day (at) the end of the scene, I remember we were watching it together. I was embarrassed and laughed because it was too romantic. So, I think the viewers would feel the same way.
12. Which day was the most memorable on the set of “How to be Thirty”, and why?
Ji-won, Ran-joo, and A-young’s high school days are shown briefly (in the drama). I remember that we became ourselves when we were in high school and played a lot of jokes and ad-libs were all over the place. When I was filming that scene, I felt happy and sad without realising it. Maybe it was because it was the last day of shooting.
13. You have starred in many dramas previously. What is different about “How to be Thirty” compared to your previous works?
In my previous works, my characters had certain characteristics. But in this drama, I put my own feelings on the character Seo Ji-won. She had worries (like) “how should I live” and “what do I want”, and there are many parts of Seo Ji-won’s story, where she experiences incidents of a different dimension than before. I was just like her, so I was able to focus naturally.
14. Were there any interesting habits or skills that you had to pick up for your character Seo Ji-won, which you have subconsciously transferred to your real life?
Unexpectedly, I pierced my ears for the first time for this role. The characters that I was in charge of before mostly wore achromatic clothes and small accessories. In ‘How to be Thirty’, Seo Ji-won draws pictures and paints various colors. So I (thought) she should wear earrings, accessories and colorful clothes. It was not a big breakthrough, but I think I was able to focus more on Seo Ji-won as I created and implemented the image.
15. The series touches on reuniting with a first love from middle school. If your first love showed up as you were entering your 30s, what would your reaction be? How would you handle the situation?
I don’t think I would connect to (my first) love in real life because I think I have changed a lot over the years. However, I don’t know how I would react if it really suddenly happens like fate.
16. “How to be Thirty” is about the work and love lives of people who have just entered their 30s. You will be turning 31 this year (according to your Korean age). What are some milestones in your life so far and what do you hope to achieve in the coming years?
The proudest milestone is that I always, still, constantly love acting. And my goal in the next few years is to become a trusted actress.
17. Do you agree with the statement ‘Age is just a number’? How do you feel about turning 31 and how are you celebrating it?
It seems to be a little more realistic compared to last year when I just turned 30. But I still seem to be a child who is confused and doesn’t know anything yet. Age is not just a number. I think it’s the process of having my own charm year by year. However, I think I need to think and act more in order to make that charm completely mine. I think it’s the best celebration to find something of mine and act.
18. If you could give advice to your younger self in her 20s, what advice would you give and why?
I want to tell her to travel farther and more. I want to say, “You can be a better person as you see, hear, and feel a lot in unfamiliar destinations.”
19. How did Covid-19 affect your filming for this drama and how has the epidemic affected your work?
All the cast and crew members started the day by measuring their body temperature. All the staff had to be quarantined before and after shooting, and everyone had a hard time wearing masks while shooting. I hope things (can) get better. We can all wait for the day to work together with a smile without a mask.
20. What message do you have for the audience about the series?
I want to share a story about life, love, and work with you, who will be 30, who is 30 and who was 30. Please look forward to the story of some 30-year-old people in difficult situations.
You can catch Jung In-sun in “How to be Thirty” on iQiyi platforms.