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[Herald Interview] 'A Time Called You' star not fazed by success of original

Sept. 13, 2023 - 14:15 By Lee Si-jin
Jeon Yeo-been plays the role of both Kwon Min-ju, a high school student, and Han Jun-hee, a career woman in her 30s, in "A Time Called You." (Netflix)
Jeon Yeo-been plays the role of both Kwon Min-ju, a high school student, and Han Jun-hee, a career woman in her 30s, in "A Time Called You." (Netflix)

While remakes can bring a fresh perspective to classic TV shows, new interpretations of projects are often met with ruthless criticism by fans loyal to the original work.

The pressure that comes with working on such a project can cause a lot of stress for actors and directors, who want to take care to respect the original work while also creating something new and exciting.

Actor Jeon Yeo-been, 34, however, was unfazed by the popularity of the original series and seized the opportunity to star in "A Time Called You,” a remake of one of her favorite drama series, “Someday or One Day” (2020).

Jeon was a passionate follower of the original Taiwanese series several years ago, impressed by the storyline and acting.

“I was excited to hear that a remake of this drama was being made here. After I received the script, I took the opportunity to become the female lead without a second thought,” said the actor during an interview in Jung-gu, central Seoul on Tuesday.

Jeon noted that she was well-aware of the global fandom of “Someday or One Day,” even in South Korea.

“I know that some drama fans remember this series like their first love. There might be some viewers who will not be satisfied with our series and performance. But those pressures were not strong enough to dissuade me from working on ‘A Time Called You,” Jeon said.

Jeon Yeo-been (Netflix)

“Rather, such concerns motivated me to work with more responsibility. I wanted ‘Someday or One Day’ fans to enjoy our interpretation (of the story) as well. It was a challenge that I definitely wanted to take on as an actor,” she added.

Jeon explained that “A Time Called You” had all the right elements to get her excited about the project.

She took on the double role of Kwon Min-ju, a high school girl, and Han Jun-hee, a working woman in her 30s.

After losing her lover in 2023, Han Jun-hee receives a cassette player and a tape of Seo Ji-won’s song, “Gather My Tears.” While listening to the tape, Jun-hee travels back to 1998 and becomes Kwon Min-ju, who looks identical to herself.

“Apart from the time-crossing stories, the series allowed me to become many different characters and portray many different aspects (of them). I was able to be Jun-hee in her 20s, Jun-hee after losing her lover, Jun-hee in Min-ju’s body, a panicked high school girl Min-ju, Min-ju who pretends to be Jun-hee and Min-ju, who was able to love herself in the end,” Jeon told The Korea Herald, explaining that the role would be any actor's dream.

She compared her character (and the series) to a coloring book.

“The same drawings (stories) are there. But, they are destined to be filled with different colors by different people. I believed in myself, and that I would be able to bring out a character distinct from Ko Alice, the female lead in the original Taiwanese series,” the actor said.

Jeon, who enjoys watching both local and foreign content, said that “Someday or One Day” is not the only project that she wants to star in if a Korean remake is made.

“When I feel like I am watching an excellent series, I tend to imagine how I would have performed the same character. I definitely want to work in a possible Korean version of ‘The Favorite’ (2018), ‘Killing Eve’ (2018-2022) or ‘The Queen’s Gambit (2020),'" she told The Korea Herald.

Jeon revealed that she was worried about the music used in the series, given how powerful the original soundtrack was in “Someday or One Day.”

“I wondered if we were going to use powerful music like Wu Bai’s ‘Last Dance’ and 831’s ‘Miss You 3000.’ But, as soon as I heard that Seo Ji-won’s ‘Gather My Tears’ would be used in our series, I knew there was nothing to worry about,” she said.

“And my all-time favorite songs, “Already One Year” (2001), “Never Ending Story” (2002) and “Love, the common word” (2006), are also on the soundtrack. I am sure many Korean viewers will be moved by those songs, just like I was,” Jeon said.

Topping South Korea’s Netflix TV series chart as of Monday, the 12-part time travel romance series reached the No. 8 slot on the global Netflix TV series chart, according to the US-based streaming analytics company FlixPatrol.

"A Time Called You" (Netflix)