She’s finally receiving the spotlight after eight years. Shin So Yul is ready to make a new start after making herself known on tvN’s Reply 1997
Why have viewers fallen in love with Shin So Yul? It’s because she’s made her character relatable with the audience. The innocent love between Mo Yoo Jung and Do Hak Chan (Eun Ji Won), along with the dramatic breakup and reunion, has moved viewers. She’s also made the crazy fangirls of the 90s laugh when she betrayed HOT and became a Sechs Kies fan.
We wanted to see what Reply 1997 meant to Shin So Yul.
How have you been doing since filming the last episode?
I’ve been filming variety shows and I’ve also been cast in a new drama. Many people are recognizing me and I’m thankful and happy.
Reply 1997 must hold a special meaning for you.
I’ve been acting for eight years, but I was involved in two lawsuits so I couldn’t act properly. Now people are starting to recognize me. I still use public transportation so people on the bus, especially high school students, look and me say ‘Hey, it’s Mo Yoo Jung.’ It feels good, but I also feel pressured to do better (laughs).
Shin So Yul and Mo Yoo Jung. Are they similar?
We’re different. Our voices are different too. Mo Yoo Jung is cute, but I’m not like that at all. My voice isn’t high in real life so when my close friends and parents see me act, they tell me they cringe (laughs).
How do people around you describe you?
I’m not very feminine, but I’m also not cool about a lot of things (laughs). I have the personality of a timid guy.
You’re actually twenty eight, but you had to play the part of an eighteen year old. You look so young.
I was worried about the age gap between me and (Jung) Eun Ji. We’re eight years apart, so I was really worried that people would see my wrinkles. So the solution I thought of was to not wear heavy makeup and just put on BB cream. I’m not sure how effective that was (laughs).
You had a romantic storyline with Eun Ji Won and there was even a kiss scene
Director Shin Won Ho insisted that we film the kiss scene in Gangwon-do. I thought to myself, ‘I have to go all the way to Gangwon-do to film a kiss scene with a married man?’, but once I saw how it turned out, I was satisfied (laughs).
Like you said, you must have been a little sad because you had a kiss scene with a married man
I thought I wouldn’t be nervous since [Eun Ji Won] was married (laughs). I wasn’t completely apathetic but my heart also didn’t flutter either (laughs).
I heard the atmosphere when filming Reply 1997 was really good
I think the person who really helped bring out the best when shooting was Director Shin. He’s not authoritative and he hung out with us without putting up any walls. We all became really close because he was like a brother and friend to us.
Out of Seo In Guk, Eun Ji Won, Lee Si Eon, and Hoya, who would you like to act with again?
They’re all very different people. I want to be in a mellow drama with (Seo) In Guk, and Hoya has a good body so I’d like to have a romantic storyline with him in an action movie (laughs). I already acted with (Eun) Ji Won, so I’ll pass (laugh). I want to be in a sitcom with (Lee Si Eon).
If you had the chance to be in a romantic drama with another actor, who would it be?
Ha Jung Woo. He’s serious yet funny, and he portrays both the evil and good sides in him. I can never forget his eyes when he plays the innocent yet evil character. I fell for him when I saw him perform in a theater in college, and I was sad when my favorite star became so famous (laughs).
People were impressed by your Busan dialect in the drama. You’re from Seoul, but how did you manage to pull that off?
I learned the dialect from an acting coach, but it was hard to follow the Gyeongsang-do intonation. People said I’m the master of the Busan accent, but I heard in the beginning I sounded awkward. I think it’s because maybe I wasn’t trying my hardest. I don’t really have a special formula for learning the accent, but I think it’s because the actors around me spoke in the dialect. I was able to pick it up naturally. I was happy because viewers were commenting that I improved so much compared to episode one.
What did you parents think?
My parents couldn’t stop laughing while watching the drama. I was a huge H.O.T fan, so my dad stayed up with me and bought me concert tickets and put up H.O.T posters for me in my room. My mom was the one who ripped the posters. I think they could relate to Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa (laughs).
It must have been easier to understand the drama because you were an HOT fan.
I was in a fan club when I was younger, but I’m not that passionate compared to them. I felt like I returned to that time period in my life when filming. I even felt guilty when I switched over to Sechs Kies in the drama. When people around me ask who I actually really liked back then, I confidently say H.O.T. The last thing I want to say is H.O.T must get back together (laughs).
You were MCing with Tony An on Mnet’s M Countdown.
I nearly had a mental breakdown. My mind went blank when he was next to me. It felt like I was dreaming when we became close and I joked around with him.
Did you ever want to give up acting when you were involved in the lawsuits?
Acting was the only thing I learned so I didn’t want to give up. Because I wasn’t famous for a long time due to the lawsuits, I felt pressured to make it big at once. I also felt this way because I’m older. I was greedy, but now I’m more laid back after playing the part of a high school student (laughs). I think things will fall into place when I keep trying hard.
Is there a specific part you want to play?
I get a lot of roles that are bright and happy, but I also want to play a character who is really sad and depressed. I have a lot of stamina so I also want to be in an action film.
How do you relieve your stress?
I like baseball. I really like LG. I used to practically live in the stadium during baseball season, but I only went once this time because of filming. My favorite player is LG’s Lee Byeong Gyu.
What is your goal?
I’m thankful that people are recognizing me through Reply 1997. I want to be evaluated through my acting. I want to not lose focus when I’m acting and try my absolute best.
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan