In her mid-30s, veteran actress Son Ye-jin has never felt so blissful in her career that spans more than a decade as she does now. It’s rare for an actress not to feel wistful about the end of a project, Son confessed. But this time with “Something in the Rain,” an ongoing JTBC hit series in which she takes a lead role, her time on the set has never been so delightful.
“I’ve starred in many melodramas, but the reason ‘Something in the Rain’ is so special to me is that I feel like I’m living in reality,” said Son during a press conference for the drama in Seoul on Thursday, attended by co-star Jung Hae-in and director Ahn Pan-seok.
“My onscreen character, she’s around my age. While I haven’t worked in an office, as a woman in my 30s myself, I could empathize with women around my age, from their relationship with parents, love to work life. I also want my acting to be realistic enough so that it can blur the line between scripted acting and ad-libs.”
In the 16-episode romance thriller, which is currently mid-way through, Son plays Yoon Jin-ah, a single woman in her 30s who works as a store supervisor in a coffee shop. In her peaceful yet rather hollow life enters romance, as Yoon unexpectedly falls in love with her best friend’s younger brother Seo Joon-hee, played by Jung. Despite the director’s previous warning against the drama’s lack of dramatic setting, the series has been enjoying popularity, highly acclaimed for not only depicting the love story in the most ordinary yet authentic way, but also for touching on facets of life such as work and family issues.
Among the many elements that enabled the drama’s successful adaptation of real life was director Ahn’s philosophy. Ahn, the mastermind behind hit drama series such as “Secret Love Affair” and “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” emphasized that there is universality in human nature.
“If there is any secret to my directing, I don’t think about a trend or hot issues at all when working on projects. As a human being as well as a viewer myself, I scribble down my interests in daily life, and they become the items for my upcoming projects,” he said.
“I believe that people have commonalities, so that my deepest thoughts, worries and memories may ring a bell in others as well. So I keep my memories and thoughts intact, cherish them in order to use them in my projects. And I believe that universality in human nature will be eternal.”
While love is the main theme of the drama, Ahn also suggested viewers closely observe how Yoon and Seo gradually grow out their past personas with the deepening romance and influence each other. Veering away from a typical romance where women usually appear dependent on men, Ahn pointed out that the drama focuses on a coming-of-age story of the couple.
“Seo has always been absent at times when Yoon struggles with life. He just comforts her later. Yoon was never a mature character in the first place, but she deals with problems herself, raises her self-esteem and gets stronger after meeting Seo. Seo, also initially an immature young man, becomes serious as time goes by,” said Ahn.
Jung, who has been put on a pedestal with the nickname “national boyfriend” through the drama, said that he found many similarities between himself and his onscreen character. In order to act naturally, he observed his real life behavior, such as the way he talks, eats and walks.
At the end of the event, Son emotionally expressed her affection for the drama.
“I wonder if I will ever be able to meet this kind of project. ... I usually get out of my roles easily when dramas end. But this one, I’m not sure. I’m actually worried if I would be okay after I go back to reality,” Son said.
“As an actress, it’s such a blessing that I met this drama,” she added.