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Hwang Jung-min, Yoona tackle life of reporter in ‘Hush’

Anticipation builds up for JTBC drama, with online press conference reaching record viewer numbers

Veteran actor Hwang Jung-min and Yoona pose before an online conference for JTBC drama series “Hush” on Thursday. (JTBC)
Veteran actor Hwang Jung-min and Yoona pose before an online conference for JTBC drama series “Hush” on Thursday. (JTBC)

Veteran actor Hwang Jung-min will return to the small screen for the first time in eight years as a hardened reporter in JTBC’s human drama “Hush.”

Hwang demonstrated why he is one of the most beloved actors in Korea at Thursday‘s online press conference, with his genuine, unfiltered personality and passion for the drama on full display.

“I got the script for the first six episodes and read it in no time. It was so enjoyable,” said Hwang. “The story was so real and I thought it was a script that the viewers would empathize with, laughing and crying, if I told it. So I said, ‘I want to do this.’”

Accompanying Hwang is Yoona of Girls’ Generation, sporting a new hairstyle for her role as an intern reporter.

“When I select a script, I think about what new aspect of me can be shown. The tone of ‘Hush’ and the character was fresh. Upon hearing that actor Hwang Jung-min would be joining, I had no reason to not take the role,” said Yoona.

“After only acting with men, I’m so happy just to see an actress,” Hwang joked at the press conference filled with laughter.

“Hush” revolves around the real-life challenges reporters face in balancing dignity as a reporter and as the employee of a newspaper company that seeks profit. Hwang plays Han Jun-hyuk, a long-time reporter who spends more time playing pool than writing, while Yoona plays rookie reporter Lee Ji-soo, who believes “rice,” or money, is mightier than the pen.

“Rather than delving into cases like previous dramas with reporters have done, we tried to show the normal, everyday life of people for whom reporting is a job. It’s a story that can be enjoyed by everyone and not just people in the press,” said director Choi Gyu-sik.

The title reflects Choi’s goal for the drama.

“I made the drama in the hopes of it being heartwarming and fun. It can be serious but not just serious and it can be light but not just light. In the title, I tried to reflect the irony of the world pressuring to silence the truth. At the same time, I wanted to send a consoling message of ‘don’t cry’ to the youth living through hardships and a message of comfort to the middle-aged workers who must support their families,” said Choi.

Each episode has a separate food-related title. The first episode is titled “Rice,” reflecting the drama‘s depiction of how reporters put bread on the table.

The two actors, who are more familiar with being questioned by reporters than being one, also expressed respect for reporters.

“One of the hardest things was coming up with the headlines. It was difficult coming up with a poetry-like word that condenses the meaning,” said Hwang. “Also, seeing an event from a third-person perspective and not putting in any of my personal emotion while writing truthful articles seemed challenging.”

While she had previously always been the interviewee, Yuna said, playing the role of a reporter allowed her to better understand the interview process. “Before, I was used to just answering the questions. After taking this role, I think and understand more about the preparation and how the interview is made into an article,” said Yoona.

The chemistry of the two actors has built up anticipation for the drama series, with the press conference reaching over 16,000 views, a new high number for a JTBC drama press conference.

The 16-episode drama series will air Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. on JTBC.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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