Kim Ji Won took on the spoiled rich girl role as Rachel Yoo in “The Heirs,” a departure from previous roles playing good girls. In an interview with My Daily, she talked about her role in the drama, as well as shared her thoughts on the drama pairings.
Kim Ji Won watched writer Kim Eun Sook’s previous works to prepare for her character, and thought that Park Min Sook (Kim Jung Nan) from A Gentleman’s Dignity would be what Rachel would be like when she grew up.
In person, Kim Ji Won is the exact opposite of Rachel Yoo. While Rachel Yoo comes straight to the point, and always says what she wants to say, Kim Ji Won comes across as being surprisingly shy. She doesn’t get angry easily, and she thinks about saying something for a while before she says it, so she says she’s missed the opportunity to speak up many times. She says the scene that sticks in her mind the most is the scene where Rachel drops a bomb on everyone at the pancake restaurant in Episode 3, making it extremely uncomfortable for Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho), Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye) and Chan Young (Kang Min Hyuk).
“That scene embodied Rachel as a character the best. Rachel always stays true to her feelings and instincts. She’s part of high society, and trying to behave like an adult, but I see Rachel as being very much her teenage self. When she falls in love, she’ll throw money or anything and go all-in; she’s definitely done a lot of things that were not mature and adult-like.”
She also revealed that she took a page out of Blair Waldorf’s book, referring to American drama “Gossip Girl,” pointing out elements such as Blair’s vicious expressions and conceited gestures of superiority. The straight-cut bangs, though, were entirely writer Kim Eun Sook’s idea.
“Writer-nim expressed that it would be good if I got heavy bangs. She thought that the stuffy bangs would suit Rachel’s image better. I liked having bangs. It was a small change but made a world of difference. I can’t imagine a Rachel without bangs right now.”
Kim Ji Won’s real-life dating style is also very different from Rachel’s. While Rachel is the type to give her heart completely to the person she likes, and obsess and follow after them, Kim Ji Won says that if the other person doesn’t like her, she would go through a period of heartache alone and then break it off cleanly.
“I’ve been asked before if I’ve been in any relationships, and I’ve said no. But in truth, I have had a boyfriend previously. It was in between transitioning from the third year of middle school to the first year of high school. But it’s hard to call it a romantic relationship. Thinking back, he was just a male friend that I went to extra classes outside with and ate with.” (Laughs)
She’s got such a pretty face, so it was hard to believe that she had had nearly no dating experience. When asked there was anyone who caught her eye while filming “The Heirs,” she said, “It was all business for us. We built friendships, but it ended cleanly.”
“I don’t know of any of us who became a couple after the show ended. I don’t understand it, and none of the staff do either. When we filmed at the school outside Seoul, all the actors came down from the city. We waited in the classrooms in between takes, and sat at the desks like students while eating snacks and chit-chatting.”
However, through this project, she’s gained an admirer in the form of actor Kang Ha Neul, who played Lee Hyo Shin. In the drama, both liked other characters, but due to an unexpected kiss, the two gradually built an attraction to one another. Before the final episode, the two revealed a picture of them holding hands with one another, causing viewers to be curious if their characters would end up together in the drama.
“I met Ha Neul-oppa before while working on the drama ‘To The Beautiful You,’ but this is our first time acting together. He’s really nice so it was comfortable working with him, we also found that we have similar hobbies, so it felt like we were real siblings. As a joke, he was the male Kim Ji Won and I was the female Kang Ha Neul.”