Actress So A-rin delivered a remarkable performance as Choi Eun-seo in the popular JTBC weekend drama 'Doctor Cha.' The character, who is the illegitimate child of Myung Se-bin (Choi Seung-hee) and Kim Byung-chul (Seo In-ho), captured the hearts of viewers. Despite being a rookie, So A-rin showcased her talent with a solid acting performance that garnered attention. Her portrayal of Eun-seo, with its immersive intensity, brought the heartbreaking story of Seung-hee and Eun-seo to life, creating a powerful synergy. By skillfully capturing the character's dialogue tone and emotions, ranging from sorrow to strength, So A-rin drew empathy from the audience and became a hot topic.
During the filming, So A-rin was 19 years old and still attending high school. It was a period when she was preparing for the college entrance exam, which allowed her to relate to many aspects of Eun-seo's character. As someone of the same age, going through the process of preparing for the art college entrance exam, So A-rin deeply immersed herself in Eun-seo's emotions, particularly when she expressed hurtful words towards her mother. These moments resonated with her personal experiences, making her feel that the role of Eun-seo suited her exceptionally well.
So A-rin had the opportunity to audition for the role of Eun-seo through her connection with director Kim Dae-jin, who previously directed both 'Doctor Cha' and their collaboration on 'The King of Pigs.' Eun-seo presented a unique personality that So A-rin had never portrayed before. The character's duality, encompassing both pitiful and villainous traits, added to its appeal. When director Kim asked her to choose between the roles of 'Yi-lang' and 'Eun-seo,' So A-rin confidently opted for Eun-seo.
"I had multiple meetings with the director and engaged in extensive conversations while reviewing the script. The director advised, 'Think of 'Eun-seo' as someone slightly more mature than 'Yi-rang,' always one step ahead. When conversing with your mother, imagine shooting arrows into her heart with each word, aiming to pierce her deeply.' To convey the aspect of silence towards my mother, I dedicated a lot of practice to perfecting my pronunciation."
Scene from 'Dr, Cha'. ©JTBC
However, her efforts extended beyond portraying Eun-seo's determination. She also aimed to convey the profound pain Eun-seo carried within. She believed it was important to reveal this pain only to her mother, Seung-hee, while keeping it hidden from Yi-rang (played by Lee Seo-yeon), who was both her stepfather's daughter and her friend. She made considerable efforts to showcase the distinction between her interactions with Seung-hee and those with Yi-rang's family. One of the most memorable scenes for her was the fight scene with Seung-hee in episode 5, during which they actually cried together during rehearsal.
"That particular scene received significant attention from me, senior actress Myung Se-bin, and the director. It was a scene I deeply cherished as it seemed to express the pain of both my mother and me most effectively. There's a line in Eun-seo's dialogue that says, 'Why am I Choi Eun-seo, not Seo Eun-seo?' That line touched me deeply. In fact, Eun-seo's anger towards her mother is driven by her mother's own sake. Among Myung Se-bin's lines, the most memorable for me is 'I gave birth to you because I missed you so much.'"
During their first meeting, So A-rin and Myung Se-bin filmed numerous scenes portraying funerals, unfortunate narratives, and dark backstories. The emotions ran deep, to the point where one might wonder, "Can such tender emotions be felt from a first meeting?" Myung Se-bin reached out to So A-rin separately, showering her with gifts and taking care of her like a "daughter." As they were the only family in the drama, tender and poignant emotions naturally blossomed. On the final day of filming, they embraced each other and remained in that embrace for a while.
Ever since elementary school, So A-rin had admired actors on TV and in movies, thinking, "They're cool." After five years since her debut, she finally became an actress. In 2019, she made her first appearance in a drama with a minor role in "Black Dog," followed by her debut in a terrestrial drama, "Racket Boys." Last year, she ventured into the global OTT platform with the Disney+ original drama "Grid." Her aspiration is to become a "good actress" capable of exerting a positive influence.
"I strive to be a talented actress who can effectively convey the messages and emotions I wish to deliver to the viewers. Throughout this filming experience, I often envisioned myself becoming like the senior actors who appeared alongside me, such as 'Dr. Cha'. Personally, I admire Seo Hyun-jin as an actress, not necessarily as a specific role model. She possesses a distinct image and impeccable pronunciation, and I aspire to become an actress who can deliver lines as well as she does."-
So A-rin's goal for this year is to encounter and engage in a greater variety of projects. Although it may sound cliché, her portrayal of the character 'Eun-seo' in 'Dr. Cha' presented new challenges and garnered immense love from the audience. This experience has fueled her strong desire to take on more diverse roles in the future. Her focus for this year is to dedicate herself to acting, seize opportunities in numerous projects, and showcase her best performances.
Lastly, So A-rin expressed her farewell remarks with deep gratitude, stating, "I never expected that the drama would receive such overwhelming love, and I am truly thankful for the tremendous support." She sensed that 'Eun-seo' had earned a profound affection from the viewers and expressed her admiration for the director, production team, and senior actors, emphasizing the positive memories she gained from the project.
"'Dr. Cha' holds significant meaning for me as it was filmed during my 19th year, marking the conclusion of my teenage years. Above all, I learned a great deal from the director, production team, and senior actors. It's a project that has contributed to my growth in various aspects, extending beyond acting alone. I feel that it has laid the groundwork for my development into a responsible adult. It will truly remain as a poignant work that I will cherish even when I become a grandmother."
Interview by Glenda Park, Editor-in-Chief at Avec G.
*This article is simultaneously published in Seoul Wire's 'Glenda Park's Blue Ocean'.
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