By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- Playing multiple roles in a single show can be physically and emotionally daunting. But actor Jeon Yeo-been, known for her ability to impeccably pull off unconventional roles, took the challenge as another opportunity to broaden the range of her acting.
Jeon played two contrasting characters in the Netflix time travel drama series "A Time Called You," released last Friday. The series is a remake of the popular Taiwanese drama "Someday or One Day."
The 12-episode Korean-language series follows Han Jun-hee, a woman who still mourns over her lover's death. She magically travels back in time to 1998, where she finds herself in the body of a girl named Kwon Min-ju. She then meets a man who looks like her late love, Ahn Hyo-seop.
While Jun-hee is a workaholic career woman in her 30s, Min-ju is a shy high school girl who has a crush on her outgoing, attractive school mate, Nam Si-heon (also played by Ahn).
The tightly-knit yet emotionally gripping story travels through time and reveals uncomfortable truths about the past through the changing emotions of the protagonist played by Jeon.
The 34-year-old actor said it was difficult to blend into the different stages of the twisted plot and deliver multiple narratives.
"Both of the characters were challenging, but as an actor, I was happy. I enjoyed taking on different personalities and suffered at the same time," Jeon said during a group media interview at a Seoul cafe.
Jeon, who is a big fan of the Taiwanese drama, said she felt pressure from the huge popularity of the original work but relied on her own interpretation of the characters.
"I watched the original work years ago and fell in love with it. As I have respect for its creator, I felt pressure," she said. "The director (Kim Jin-won) told us not to take reference from the original drama, concerned that it could limit our imaginations."
Although the remake simplified the original's complex structure and the narratives of the side characters, Jeon said the dramas deal with the same theme: the universal desire to love and be loved.
"As people yearn for love, inevitable love is deep in their hearts. No matter how situations unfold, they hope for one existence to recognize them, and I thought that it is a feeling that can be shared with many people," she said.
Following the series, Jeon is set to meet audiences with her new film "Cobweb," set to hit local screens on Sept. 27. Directed by Kim Jee-woon, the black comedy film starring veteran actor Song Kang-ho is a highly-anticipated Korean film arriving in Chuseok holiday.
Jeon, who has appeared in several drama series, including "Glitch" (2022), "Vincenzo" (2021) and "Be Melodramatic" (2019), as well as the Netflix film "Night in Paradise" (2020), said she still wants to embrace the unknown and unleash her potential.
"I think actors tend to choose this job out of a desire to express something, and that applies to me as well," she said. "I want to work hard with a long-term perspective. I want to open many possibilities like a blank white piece of paper."
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