Writer Song Ji-Na's Q&A - About herself and the actors


Q: Did you have the actor for the role of Healer on your mind? What was it like working with Ji Chang-Wook?
A: It was DAEBAK! We've talked a lot amongst ourselves what we'd have done if we hadn't met Ji Chang-Wook. I didn't know him very well, either, at first. I just knew his name because I normally don't get to go out and watch plays due to my life cycle. But then I met him by chance (at some kind of a premiers, according to SJN's earlier post), and the feeling of Jung-Hoo just invaded me, so I just pushed for him. I'm very proud of myself for doing that.

Q: I could tell how you love Ji Chang-Wook, but what about Park Min-Young?
A: Actually, I didn't know about her that well, and when I saw some of her work, the impression was: she has good diction, her voice is clear (something important for me), and that her eyes are clear and powerful. Then our director gave a strong recommendation. That she can be trusted.
When I met her in person for the first time, I could feel the aura of "I want to do it. I want to act. I really want to act properly." Park Min-Young was someone who wanted to be an actress, not a star. I'll keep on cheering for her. Seriously. What would we have done if they hadn't played Jung-Hoo and Young-Shin?

Q: How fast is Jung-Hoo? He ran so fast when he ran to rescue ajumma and teacher.
A: I know. Even the camera couldn't keep up with him. I did hear that the actor likes soccer and that he normally plays as a striker.

Q: What heals you when you're having a hard time?
A: Family!

Q: When you first started writing Healer, I wonder if there was a scene that you had in mind from the beginning, a scene you wanted to write the most. If not, which scene left the biggest impression after you finished writing Healer?
A: Regarding the scene I wanted to write before I began writing? ...beating up president Hwang Jae-Gook? LOL I wanted to write stuff like that every day, but I think I would have been reported for writing such a violent drama.
The rooftop kiss scene at the ending of episode 8?
The man breaking out of his shell and the woman accepting that man as he is without any regards to his status?
(Sounds better than it really was... I wasn't sure how to describe this feeling at first, and I was glad to somewhat portray that with the kiss scene in episode 8.)
The scene with the biggest impression after the writing was over... was what was also used as the ending of episode 19... the four of them ascending on an escalator. Regardless of which generation they belong, they were standing side by side to work on the same mission...!

Q: I want to know more about how this drama came about - any episodes or ideas that came up as you discussed with your assistants.
A: At first they are all fragments. Various images... episodes... we just talk nonstop. Then the assistants write them down and organize them. Then we talk more on those. It's like matching the pieces of a puzzle of the story.
Once the casting is complete, the characters are made to fit the actors, then we follow the imagery.
For example, things changed a lot after Yoo Ji-Tae accepted the role of Moon-Ho. There was going to be a hint of a love triangle between Moon-Ho, Jung-Hoo, and Young-Shin. But we decided that Moon-Ho portrayed by Yoo Ji-Tae was enough without that. (in response to a similar question, she added) Being an uncle was enough for Yoo Ji-Tae to love and care for them without having that kind of feelings.

Q: Could you give an advice for people aspiring to become writers?
A: First advice: don't become a writer! Second advice: Observe people a lot. There are many aspiring drama writers who only watch dramas a lot. I wish they'd be observing people... Listen to what they say and think about why they'd be acting that way... I think that's how you train yourself to become a writer. Reading books is the biggest help in figuring out what people think. Good books always contain what people think.
Think. We spend so much time without thinking. Writers especially have to think a lot.
...is the advice coming from a writer who doesn't think much.

Q: East or west?
A: The instinct of going straight. No conflict! Always the first one!
(If Young-Shin had asked, west or east? Jung-Hoo would have answered, west!)

Q: Which scene was the most difficult to write?
A: The opening scene of episode 11, where Moon-Ho and Jung-Hoo meet and Jung-Hoo reveals himself.
This really took me a long time, I was in such agony.
The point being,
If Jung-Hoo reveals himself totally at this point, Young-Shin needs to find out by episode 14 or 15. The plot doesn't allow it to drag it any longer.
However, that would tank the viewership rating.
Jung-Hoo's identity needs to be kept in the dark in order to maintain the tension of their relationship.
Only then can you keep the attention of the viewers.
However, if that tension had been kept, we'd have had to sacrifice the real message of our drama,
such as Jung-Hoo's growth (breaking out of his shell at the end of episode 14) or him coming to an awareness about this society.
Would we be able to keep relaying this message while still keeping Jung-Hoo and Young-Shin's identities in the dark... I had such a headache thinking about this.
In the end, I just opened it all up in the beginning of episode 11.
I still don't know if that was the right decision. Should I have kept some secrets back then and gone on like other hero stories.. like Zorro.. like other romcoms... melodramas... I can't tell because I haven't tried that.
The most difficult episode to write was 16.