Seo Ji Hye Chats About Viewers’ Reactions To “Red Balloon,” Her Candid Thoughts On Marriage, And More
TV Chosun’s “Red Balloon” is a thrilling yet passionate story about the sense of deprivation we all feel when comparing ourselves to others, the thirst of jealous ambition, and our struggles to quench that thirst. Seo Ji Hye stars as Jo Eun Kang, who dreams of becoming a teacher but instead works as a tutor after consistently failing her employment exams. Lee Sang Woo plays Han Ba Da’s (Hong Soo Hyun‘s) husband Go Cha Won, who is a dermatologist. On February 26, the weekend drama aired its finale to its highest viewership ratings ever at 11.6 percent.
The drama followed the story of the ambitious Jo Eun Kang who falls for Go Cha Won, the husband of her best friend Han Ba Da. On responses from viewers, Seo Ji Hye shared, “They say this is a drama that married couples shouldn’t watch together. I’ve heard that husbands were left troubled because their wives asked ‘are you going to be swayed if my friend seduces you?’ There are people who understand Eun Kang and pity her, and there are also people who say ‘why were you so bad?’ Seeing such diverse reactions was new and fun.”
Although her character’s dramatic affair is such a key part of the drama, Seo Ji Hye revealed that she agreed to the role without knowing about it. While she had a lot of trust in the drama’s writer Moon Young Nam, the actress was also intrigued by the hidden ambitions detailed in the story.
Seo Ji Hye explained, “In the character description, it said that she had a one-sided crush on her friend’s husband in the past, but it didn’t say anything about her being the subject of an affair. That’s why there was fun in receiving the scripts while thinking, ‘what kind of story will unfold?’ I think all the actors felt like that. Even while filming, it was a fascinating experience.”
She then revealed that the drama’s ending was similar to her own expectations, sharing, “Even if it were me, I don’t think I would’ve been able to pick one person. She had a hope that she would become a cool woman who lives independently. I want to tell Eun Kang, ‘Please love yourself.’ I always thought that.”
Regarding her chemistry with co-star Hong Soo Hyun, Seo Ji Hye commented, “I learned a lot from Hong Soo Hyun. As we portrayed friends, she approached me in such a friendly way the first time we met, to the point where she said ‘just speak informally,’ and supported me a lot. Since Eun Kang went back and forth between two or three emotions in one scene, I had a hard time. She comforted me by my side and talked a lot with me.”
To depict just how long they’ve been friends, the drama included a flashback scene of Jo Eun Kang and Han Ba Da in high school, portrayed by the actors themselves, despite being in their late 30s and early 40s. Laughing, Seo Ji Hye explained, “There was pressure. We pleaded for them to use stand-ins. We said we didn’t want to get hate. A uniform at this age? I felt pressure because it’s been so long since I wore a uniform but the writer really wanted us to. They said that in order to showcase our close relationship, it’d be better for us to do it ourselves. Thankfully, they took care of it well so they stopped some time. Wearing a uniform for the first time in awhile was fun and reminded me of when I was in high school.”
Given the drama’s story, Seo Ji Hye was asked about her own plans for marriage. The actress nonchalantly commented, “I believe that the people who are meant to leave will leave, and the people who are meant to come will come. Whether it’s fate or not. Human relationships are not just about love, but friends too. Even if I hold on to someone because I like them so much, there’s nothing I can do if they say they really don’t like me. It’s not something that can happen just because I force myself.”
Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin of Seo Ji Hye’s previous project “Crash Landing On You,” as well as her “Red Balloon” co-star Lee Sang Woo and Kim So Yeon, are two celebrity couples who met while working on a project together. When asked about the potential of meeting someone on set, Seo Ji Hye responded, “I was also curious so I asked Lee Sang Woo how he met [his wife] and ended up getting married. I asked, ‘Is it nice to be with an actor?’ and he said there were pros and cons.”
Seo Ji Hye added, “To be honest, there are times I want to get married and times I don’t want to. My thoughts go back and forth. I’m not against marriage but I don’t want to quickly get it over with, like homework. I may do it if a relationship naturally occurs, but I don’t necessarily want to go out to intentionally find that. When I see others become a couple and get married while working on a drama together, I feel jealous but I also just can’t relate.”
When asked about her ideal type, Seo Ji Hye shared, “In the past, it was simple things like ‘I hope he’s tall and good looking,’ but after hearing a lot from my married friends, I think it’s harder than that. I realized that living with one person is not all that simple. Learning that, I think it’s become harder for me to get married.” She then casually added, “I don’t know. I currently believe ‘if they’re my soulmate, they’ll find their way to me.”
Now that “Red Balloon,” has come to an end, Seo Ji Hye revealed that she planned to take some rest and travel to Australia, where her younger sister and nephews live. The actress commented, “I worked for about a year and a half without rest. I used a lot of energy throughout ‘Red Balloon’ and I think I’ll need to take a period of rest. While resting and healing, I plan to work if there’s a good project.”
In case you missed it, check out the finale of “Red Balloon” below!