Exclusive: Han So-Hee Talks Transforming Into an Action Star for Netflix’s ‘My Name’
She made headlines when she starred as Yeo Da-kyung in The World of the Married, which would eventually become the highest-rated Korean cable TV drama. She showcased her youthful yet daring side as Yu Na-bi in Nevertheless. Now, she’s transforming into a drug cartel member infiltrating the police force in Netflix’s latest K-drama offering, My Name.
Her name is Han So-hee. The actress is slowly making her mark as a rising actress to watch out for, displaying her acting range through her most recent roles that see her go from supporting character to lead star. But among all the characters she’s played, Ji-woo in My Name is Han So-hee like we’ve never seen her before.
Han shed her girly image and traded it for a chance to exchange punches with her co-stars in this revenge-driven drama. She’s set to bring us a new femme fatale in a new noir action series from the master director, Kim Jin-min. In this exclusive interview with Tatler, Han talks about her upcoming drama and how she brought her character, Ji-woo to life.
How was working with director Kim Jin-min?
At the first shoot, I was a bundle of nerves, but director Kim was very warm. I was worried about having to cry in the very first scene. After I finished, he said, “Ji-woo’s first close-up shot is done. Let’s give her a hand.” I was very moved when I received applause.
There were so many scenes where Ji-woo is swept up by a whirlwind of emotions and director Kim supported me every time. And when I was too deep into the character and floundering, he gently led me out. He was like a saviour to me at times.
How do you feel about your first action work?
I learned that I’m not all that graceful in moving my body. I had to attend action school every day of the week. But I became more motivated as I saw the gradual changes in my body, movements and gestures. It wasn’t easy, but the team at the action school really prepared me. So I felt less pressured in performing the action scenes than the emotional scenes. Accomplishing a flawless orchestration of an action scene was so rewarding. I had so much fun.
What is the most memorable scene with your co-stars, Park Hee-soon and Ahn Bo-hyun?
I am trying to refrain from giving some spoilers. With Park, the most memorable scene was when we met for the first time at the funeral. I still remember his face, his eyes tearing up and I saw him trying to get his emotions together after that scene. I felt so sad. That’s why that’s the most memorable with him.
With Ahn, my first scene with him was also strong because his character wasn’t very accepting of my character, Ji-woo and he kept throwing swear words at her. These two first encounters with the characters are the most memorable for me.
There are more and more strong female characters like yours popping up in K-dramas, what do you think makes Ji-woo different from them?
She has abandoned her future, her name and even her own life for the sake of achieving one goal and that makes it even more heartbreaking and desperate to see. I think that’s what sets my character apart from other female leads.
This drama is completely different from any other that you’ve taken on before. How did you prepare?
I didn’t really go on a specific diet. But my character is someone that shouldn’t get exhausted along the way so maintaining the level of strength is key. I worked a lot on that.
I went to action school which is a crucial part of doing the action scenes. I spent about three months practising day and night to prepare for this role. But the biggest part is to get rid of my fear of action scenes.
Many are surprised that you took on this role. What are some of the things that you liked? What are the new things you’ve discovered about yourself?
I discovered that I don’t really feel much pain. Of course, you will get some bruises along the way as I did a lot of action but I was able to forget all about that as the set was so fun.
When I went to action school for three months—working with the action director and other cast members to get into the actions scenes—that was really different than my regular day to day routine. The experience itself was a really good memory. It was a time when I got even healthier, both physically and mentally.
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What should viewers pay attention to when they watch My Name?
It’s an action series that is well put together with all the actors doing their very best. Mu-jin, Gang-jae, Ji-woo and Pil-do—each character has a distinct personal style in performing the action and only performs what they are capable of. An interesting thing that viewers should take note of is the personalized action style of each character.
Do you have any words for your fans who are waiting for this drama?
I appreciate it even if you just recognise my existence but you guys are even supporting me from far away so I can’t find a way to thank you properly. Thanks to Netflix, I can greet my fans around the world, and it’s my honour to do so. I appreciate all your love and interest, I will make sure to give it back to you.
My Name premieres on October 15 only on Netflix.