Apink’s Jung Eun Ji Opens Up About How She’s Changed Since “Reply 1997” + Her New Horror Film With INFINITE’s Sungyeol
The idol-turned-actress made a splashy acting debut in tvN’s “Reply 1997” back in 2012, when she stole viewers’ hearts as the plucky heroine of the hit drama. Since then, she has steadily proven her acting chops through a number of dramas—but this week’s new release “0.0MHz” marks her very first horror film. Based on the webtoon of the same name, the movie tells the story of a club that investigates supernatural mysteries.
Jung Eun Ji stars in the film as So Hee, a girl who was born into a family of shamans and has the ability to see ghosts, while INFINITE’s Sungyeol stars as Sang Yeob, an engineering student who harbors a secret admiration for So Hee.
When asked about her latest role, which marks something of a transformation from her “Reply 1997” image, Jung Eun Ji remarked, “I’ve played a lot of characters that resembled Candy [the main character of the classic anime series ‘Candy Candy’], so I wanted to play a character that felt somewhat new. I was grateful to receive the offer to play So Hee in ‘0.0MHz.’ I thought that it might be an opportunity for me to show a new side of myself.”
She went on to explain, “I’ve been hoping to take on a diverse array [of roles], but perhaps due to the fact that people see me as an idol, I think that the roles I’ve played up until now have been somewhat limited. So I welcomed the calm and composed role of So Hee.”
As for what kinds of roles she’d like to take on next, Jung Eun Ji commented, “I want to continue to take on new and refreshing roles, to try things that I haven’t experienced before—things that could scare me.”
In response to a question about her incredibly successful acting debut in “Reply 1997,” the Apink member confessed, “My first step [into acting] went so well that I felt a lot of pressure for my next steps.”
However, she still spoke of the drama with immense gratitude and affection. “‘Reply 1997’ was like a blessing for me,” said Jung Eun Ji. “I wonder whether I’d even have gone into acting had it not been for ‘Reply 1997.’ It was thanks to ‘Reply 1997’ that I learned how to act and that I discovered the joys of acting.”
Jung Eun Ji mused that she had changed quite a bit since her starring turn in that first drama, recalling, “Back then, I went into it fearlessly. But now, I’ve developed a lot of fears. Back then, I didn’t know anything, so I basically dove in headfirst.”
Jung Eun Ji also talked about she had prepared for her role as So Hee in her new film. “I was curious what kind of difficulties and traumas a child with a shaman grandmother and a shaman mother would face,” she said. “While doing research, I watched videos of traditional shamanic exorcism rituals on YouTube, and I ended up not being able to fall asleep at night.”
“Since I was having a hard time sleeping, I ended up becoming irritable, and so I thought that So Hee must also have become irritable for the same reason,” she continued. “And I also felt like she must been under a great deal of stress from seeing ghosts. The more I came to understand her, the more I pitied her.”
She added, “After I finished filming the movie, I was able to sleep well for a while. I felt really refreshed.”
Although Jung Eun Ji hails from the city of Busan in Gyeongsang Province, the star notably took on Jeolla Province dialect for her role in “0.0MHz.” She revealed that she had initially been worried about how viewers would respond to her new accent, explaining, “Because I’m originally from Busan, and I made a strong impression with my Gyeongsang Province dialect in ‘Reply 1997,’ I was worried that people might find it awkward to see me using Jeolla Province dialect. But it came out better than I’d feared, which was a relief.”
Finally, Jung Eun Ji shared her hopes for her next acting project. “When I try to think of what I’m good at, I don’t quite know the answer, but what comes naturally to me is everyday, ordinary-life acting,” she remarked. “So I’d like to try something like a family comedy film. I want to try acting in the kind of good movie that airs again [on television] every year during the holidays.”
“0.0MHz” officially hit Korean theaters on May 29. Check out a teaser for the film here!