"Still, Marry Me" actors (from left to right): Park Jin-hee and Kim Bum [MBC]
"You shouldn't be like that with someone who is around your mom's age", Ban-suk (played by Choi Chul-ho) says to Min-jae (Kim Bum) upon seeing a seemingly intimate picture of him and Shin-young (played by Park Jin-hee) together. That comment Ban-suk made during preview showing of a scene shown for the press on the set of "Still, Marry Me" on February 2 may probably speak for what all viewers of the show probably feel. And like so, there are a couple of scenes in the drama that the public can relate to but some which also brings several questions to mind. Why is the story about a couple composed of woman who is older than the man and why does it focus on the topic of marriage? These questions were asked during a press conference attended by director Kim Min-sik, actress Park Jin-hee and actor Kim Bum.
Q: How does it feel to play a couple where the woman is older?
Kim Bum (Kim): I like the role but I think Park Jin-hee is tired. Yesterday's shoot wrapped up just this morning.
Park Jin-hee (Park): Other than the fact that it is physically draining, I am very happy to be shooting the drama.
Q: The expressions of affection between your two characters can be a bit too lovey-dovey at times.
Park: Really? Which scene?
Kim: There are some scenes where I cringe too but you haven't seen it all yet. (laugh)
Park: I think it's at a pretty normal level up until the fourth episode. We've been trying to anticipate how intensive it gets -- to the point where we can't wait for the script for the following episodes to come out. So it's a bit iffy when you put it that way. (laughs) What I will tell you though is that we shot a scene where we share a scarf together.
Q: What is the reaction towards you guys as a couple due to the large age gap?
Kim: People around us were worried when the pilot episode aired. And there really is quite a large age gap between us so I was worried we would really look like a couple when we stand next to each other. But people who have watched our show have told me we look better together than they expected and have encouraged me to work harder.
Park: I actually thought he would be a baby because of his actual age. I think that's why I was skeptical in a way in the beginning but Kim Bum is very mature and masculine so it's been easy shooting with him.
Actress Park Jin-hee (left) and actor Kim Bum [MBC]
Q: Can you give us an example?
Park: We were talking about birthdays at one of the get-togethers off shoot and he bought me a winter supply kit. Another example is that when some of the female characters were shooting a party scene, some were revealing quite revealing clothes and he brought over blankets and a heater for them. Whenever he acts older, I ask him, "Did you lie about your age?" Unlike people from his generation, he says 'primary school' instead of 'elementary school'. (laughs)
Q: So what the meaning of this sort of relationship in "Marry"?
Kim Min-sik (Kim MS): Single women in their mid-30s probably don't trust men who are around their age or older. They probably suspect that there is something wrong with them. (laughs). And the men that seem okay are taken and so I don't think deciding to go out with a guy who is younger isn't about making an extreme decision or fulfilling a fantasy. What's important is not the fact that the woman is the older one in the relationship but that it's a decision a woman in her mid-30s, with her work and philosophy in life, has made.
Park: When I first received the synopsis, I actually told the producer that it's hard for me to relate to the story because of the big difference in age. There is a scene in the drama where Da-jung (played by Uhm Ji-won) talks about the age difference between Min-jae and Shin-young but I think Korean society has yet to become ready to accept it. However, upon shooting episodes five and six recently, I've come to realize there is an emotional part that you can't control rationally. I think it can't be helped because my character happens to fall in love with a guy who turns out to be 12 years younger. She didn't fall in love with him because he is that young.
Q: Do you think it's possible for such a relationship to work out in reality too?
Park: If the two have a connection and can converse with each other, it doesn't matter if the person is 12 years younger or older because age is merely a number. The important thing is how that relationship starts and whether you come across that opportunity to meet a younger guy. There aren't many opportunities you get to meet a younger man but if you come across that chance and both share the same feelings, I think it could be possible.
Kim: I think it's possible. Since I started working at an early age, I've mostly talked to or received advice from people who were older than me. I'm so used to that, that I feel uncomfortable when I meet people who are the same age or younger than me. I also think you can see someone regardless of nationality or race, as long as you can talk to each other.
Producer Kim Min-sik [MBC]
Q: Then why is the drama so lenient in creating a couple with such a big age gap but so focused on the woman getting married?
Kim MS: The title of the show is "Still, Marry Me" but it should actually be "Still, Love Me." People may think why would a successful woman need that? But no matter how successful a woman is, aren't they still thirsty for love? To find the man that they truly love?
Park: Even for me, I work hard, I'm healthy and I try to live life to the fullest but love is difficult to find. Whether is be my guy or girl friends at a get-together, we'll start out by talking about how our stocks are doing or how they got a raise for their paychecks but we'll end up talking about our first loves or dating. I think that shows how important love is as a driving force and that thirst does not get quenced despite how successful you are.
Q: Shin-young is a character that women in their 30s can relate to but male viewers may think Min-jae is annoying for being the so-called 'perfect man'. (laughs)
Kim: I don't know... I'm not the type that is conscious of what other people say or think about me but I cut off my Internet at one point because I because so exhausted both mentally and physically. I just don't want to be bothered with what others say, hindering my own judgement about my acting. Even though Min-jae is popular among female viewers, he is a person who doesn't believe in love. He grew up in that kind of surrounding and I think when he meets Shin-young is when he figures out what true love is. I hope to portray that image to the viewers during the latter half of the show.
Q: Women in their 30s will be able to relate to the drama but KBS' "The Slave Hunters" is currently the most-watched Wednesday and Thursday night show. I'm curious to know how you will make the audience watch your show instead.
Kim MS: I knew from the start that "The Slave Hunters" would not be easy competition. But scenarist Kim In-young has put in a lot of effort into the script and has endurance so we'll go with the story we agreed to show since the planning stages of the drama. There's a lot of humor in the beginning of the show but will increasingly revolve around love and end up talking about deadly love. Not the 'because of so and so' type love but the 'madly, cannot help falling in despite' type of love. That's how we are rolling for the show, with whatever the writers have prepared for us and I as the producer and the actors will try our best to deliver a story.
Reporter : Wee Geun-woo email@example.com
Editor : Lucia Hong firstname.lastname@example.org
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