, one of top-rated actors on Korean TV screens, returns to theater next week with a Korean adaptation of the Russian classic "The Seagull".
The drama, originally written by legendary Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, tells a story about unrequited love in which all the characters love someone who does not care for them. Jo plays young and successful author Trigorin, who is in a triangle relationship with famous actress Arkadina and a local girl, Nina.
Jo said it was his affection toward the work that brought him the chance to be 'Trigorin' again.
The 41-year-old actor challenged for the role like every other candidate and had to go through six auditions to finally win the role.
Versatile actor Jo Min-ki
, who was quite soft and merry during an interview, concentrates on his role `Trigorin` at the Korean adaptation of the Russian play, "The Seagull".
"I played Trigorin three years ago and you can think that there will be not so much difference as the same person is taking the role again. But I am sure Trigorin for the upcoming drama will be somewhat different as I have added my own interpretation and color after I studied the script with Kama Ginkas", said Jo in an interview with The Korea Herald. Ginkas, Russian theater director, is producing the Korean adaptation of "The Seagull". His adaptations of Chekhov's stories have been highly praised for their unique visual style and form. His works have earned him the highest honors in Russia and at festivals throughout the world.
"All of answers regarding the piece are in the script. Especially, Kama's lesson and his interpretation of Chekhov's work helped me understand the script and meaning of every scene. It was like clearing all of the questions I had with the piece", said Jo.
"Kama used to tell me that I should open more, fly more into passion. This gave me a lot of motivation".
Born in 1965, Jo made his debut as a stage actor at the age of 17. It took him almost 10 years to make appearance on TV and movies. Since then, he continued his acting career by taking numerous characters that he couldn't remember each role he had.
But it was his established image, "smart and faithful person" and also "No. 1 model for son-in-law", that appealed to the public mostly.
"There are some girls coming after me saying that their moms fancy me, not them. Maybe I have the look that most Korean mothers want to see in their son-in-law. But I'm not", laughed Jo.
"I'm quite a hedonist. I am a very pleasure-seeking person and make all kinds of jokes and let people laugh all the time".
British actor Jeremy Irons, Jo said, is one of the prominent figures who he wants to be.
"He looks so steady, but he turns out to be very (sexually) degenerated after untying his neck tie (on the screen)", said Jo showing his hand dragging the invisible necktie.
Jo must have been referring to the hit movie, "Damage", where Irons played a high government official who becomes sexually Addicted
to his son's fiance.
"I would love to play character like that if I am given a chance".
It was the SBS drama "Love And Ambition" (2006) that reaffirmed his position as a top TV actor.
He played Park Tae-joon, an ambitious and charismatic character born to a poor family but who later becomes an important executive in the early 1980s. Park, the first son of a traditional Korean family, is a character who struggles between balancing his love and his ambition toward success.
"I played almost a whole life of a person called Park Tae-joon. I felt so attached to him as I came to understand this man suffering from keeping himself reserved whenever he tackles a number of hardships as jangnam (eldest son)".
"I rather wanted him to die during the drama, but the writer told me he has to be the one who stays with the woman he loves for his life", said Jo.
Jo is married to a makeup artist Kim Sun-jin and have two children - son and daughter, 13 and 12, respectively.
"I love to play with children. I try not to grow old (mentally), to keep my spirit and body young".
Jo didn't forget to mention that there's certain pleasure that he gets through his performance at the stage drama.
"I feel happy because I learn something when acting on stage. It is also more thrilling than filming because there's no second shot".
Asked on whether he wants to make a contribution to the local drama industry which is facing a major downturn, Jo said he hopes to see other actors coming back to stage.
"If actors who made success on TV and movie screen can return to drama stage, just like going back home (after a long absence), the theater will be filled with more audiences. I think it will make both theater and movie industry successful", said Jo.
By Jo Chung-un