When A Girl Meets A Lady…
Musical Gone With the Wind’s actress Seohyun
How might it have been if Phoebe Cates, known for being innocent, took on the role of the ‘Bond girl’ in the 007 series? The thought that came to mind when I heard Girls’ Generation’s youngest member, Seohyun, was cast for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in the musical ‘Gone With the Wind’. Like Phoebe Cates in a sexy dress, blowing the end of a pistol, it’s possible on paper, but the image in my mind was tangled up. Scarlett O’Hara is arrogant and proud. In order to get the man she likes, without even caring if he’s married, she gives into her desires and goes at them. She’s even ambitious, in a sense that she’d hold hands with a person she dislikes in order to uphold her household. However, Seohyun holds a very unique position amongst girl groups as being ‘polite and stubborn’. On a variety show that everyone laughs at and enjoys, Seohyun presented her fake husband with a book and put an emphasis on becoming cultured, and sang a duet with the queen of trot, Joo Hyunmi. It’s safe to say that Seohyun’s role of the pretty, intelligent, and confident ‘Yeonwoo’ in the musical ‘Moon That Embraces the Sun’ had the overall image that Seohyun has created thus far. To get the fastest and most accurate answers to the questions growing in my mind, we should hear them directly from the person in question. I went to the practice room, met Seohyun, and asked and listened.
There’s a big gap between the Seohyun that the general public thinks of and the image of Scarlett O’Hara from ‘Gone With the Wind’. I’ll be straightforward. Why are you doing this musical?
That’s why I was even more desperate. There’s a side of me where only one specific image is emphasized. My image you see on variety shows is only one side of me, but that comes off as if that’s all of me. It seems like it’s even more like that because I’m the youngest in my group. More than anything, the reason I wanted to do this musical is because I had a lot of similarities with Scarlett. I also thought it would be a good opportunity for me to show another side of me. It was burdensome as it is such a blockbuster, but I aggressively appealed to the producers. I confidently told them, “I, can really do well,” and I think they saw that in a good way.
What points did you feel were similar between yourself and Scarlett?
Loving yourself the most. Scarlett has strong self-love doesn’t she? I’m like that too. I’m stubborn, and my opinions are distinct, so I don’t really get carried along by others’ opinions. Not minding other people’s gazes, and, rather than getting pulled along by others, living life making my own decisions is another similarity. I normally don’t like doing something someone tells me to do. But if I get convinced after hearing their logic, I accept it and work hard. I live by doing that, as long as it doesn’t create conflict.
The image the general public has of ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ is very clear and fixed. What kind of person do you think your version of Scarlett O’Hara is?
In order to study Scarlett, I read the entire ‘Gone With the Wind’ novel. It was really thick (laughs). Scarlett was clearly self-centered and only cared for her own things. But, I think the surroundings had a big influence. I think, as a woman, if you’re put in that situation, you can’t help it. I can also understand making emotional decisions, rather than rational ones, in a situation like that. I think it’s a character that any actress would sympathize with and want to play. I’m going to try to show this on stage.
What’s the difference between this and your previous musical, ‘Moon That Embraces the Sun’?
First of all, the gestures while acting is really different. In ‘Moon That Embraces the Sun’, I would modestly fold my hands and walk backwards, but I express myself a bit more confidently in this. I also use less vocal technique when singing. Aside from vocal techniques, French works have strong pop elements. So I keep talking with the music producer and am learning.
Is there a difference standing on stage as a singer and a musical actress?
Of course. When I get on stage as a singer, I am myself, and I try my best to give the audience joy. As a musical actress, because I’m getting on stage as a character, I put more of a focus on trying my best to appear as that person within the set time and limited space.
Lately, idol group members have been spreading out into different areas. They mostly become MCs or actors, but why did you choose musicals?
I really like musicals. When we go to New York for Girls’ Generation activities, I purchase tickets to the musicals I want to see beforehand and make sure I go to them. The last one I watched in New York that really left an impression was ‘Matilda’. I don’t know if it’s a cultural difference, but I got a refreshing shock watching the young actors leading the musical for almost 3 hours. It’s not easy even for adults, so their energy was amazing. I was stimulated to work harder. This [past] year, I watched musicals whenever I had time in Korea, and I think I watched about 20.
If you watched 20 musicals within your busy schedule, that’s amazing devotion. Which character did you want to play the most?
It’s difficult to choose just one…… Glinda from ‘Wicked’. The musical itself is fun, but I think the image of Glinda suits me well. I watched ‘Wicked’ in New York first, and I fell for it so hard that I think I watched it about ten times. I looked up almost all the videos that have to do with it online as well. I also watched the one in France. What’s funny is, when I watched it for the first time in New York, I thought that it would suit [Ock] Joohyun unnie well, and she really did take a part in it.
What drew you to ‘Wicked’?
The musical number is good, and the characters were good too. But the message this musical had, in particular, was really nice. At first, I thought it was for children, but I felt a lot of things the more I watched it. So in order to keep my grasp on the message of the musical, I looked up this and that and rewatched it. I was so into ‘Wicked’ that even my parents said, ‘You’ve gone crazy.’ I think that’s the best way to express it. Watching it for the tenth time, I think I’ve got a good understanding of it, and it made me want to take on a role in it. But in order to take part in a musical like this, I would have to learn a variety of sounds. So I’ve been working hard on learning vocal music.
Fortunately, the actress who was double-cast for the role of ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ was a fellow SM Entertainment member, Bada of S.E.S. Isn’t it burdensome?
It’s just such an honor being able to stand on the same stage as her. My dream of becoming a singer started thanks to S.E.S. and Finkl unnies. Because I got double-cast with her for the same role, I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. But, I think I was given this opportunity because Bada unnie and Joohyun unnie hold a firm place in the musical scene. I’ve been feeling the responsibility of becoming like a lighthouse for juniors that will follow after me by doing better in these works.
Full credits belongs to Soshified