Queen of rom-com is underdog weather woman

Gong Hyo Jin plays a weathercaster who hopes to be a television news anchor in Jealousy Incarnate.
Gong Hyo Jin plays a weathercaster who hopes to be a television news anchor in Jealousy Incarnate.PHOTO: ONE

South Korea's reigning queen of rom-com Gong Hyo Jin has the enviable ability to reel in audiences, regardless of the K-drama roles she slips into.

The versatile actress believes that her magnetic appeal lies in relatable characters. For audiences, it is like watching a friend's story unfold onscreen, she says.

"My roles are neither too poor nor too tragic. The stories are about someone who is just normal and can be easily seen in our daily lives. Just like your friend's story, it sounds quite familiar to most of us and so does the character," says Gong, 36, in an e-mail interview with The Straits Times.

Working adults would identify with the workplace pressures that made her TV show producer character cranky in the drama The Producers (2015).

In the drama It's Okay, That's Love (2014), audiences felt for her psychiatrist character, whose feisty demeanour belies a fear of intimacy.

She is no less endearing as the underdog - an earnest weathercaster with dreams of being a television news anchor one day - in her latest drama, Jealousy Incarnate (2016), which is airing on cable TV channel One. The coveted leading lady was drawn to the project because of writer Seo Sook Hyang, who whipped up the script of culinary rom-com Pasta (2010), also starring Gong.

Gong says: "I have great trust in the writer Seo Sook Hyang. In her past works, I felt she was really good at depicting a woman who pursues her dream till the end and is passionate about her work and, at the same time, falls in love."

Set in the news department of a TV station, her character Pyo Na Ri takes her work seriously, despite colleagues belittling the significance of her weather reports.

Offscreen, the seasoned actress' favourite weather is sunny, like her disposition.

She says: "I really like fine weather. When I wake up in the morning and see that the weather is good, I feel like I can do many things. In times of bad weather, I wish to stay at home because it depresses me."

No romantic comedy is complete without a sizzling romance, so Pyo is often seen bickering with her former crush, top dog reporter Lee Hwa Shin (Jo Jung Suk).

It seems that her co-star's acting, personality and fair complexion have left quite an impression on her.

She says: "I watched his drama Oh! My Ghost (2015) and his unique acting was impressive. When I first met him, I found that he was indeed a thoughtful person."

•Jealousy Incarnate airs on Thursdays and Fridays at 8.10pm on One (StarHub TV Channels 124, 820 and 823; and Singtel TV Channels 513 and 604).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Queen of rom-com is underdog weather woman'. Print Edition | Subscribe