Park Ji-hu was drawn to her role in the Korean drama Little Women because she was fascinated by her character’s efforts to change her life for the better. That character, the artistically gifted student In-hye, is the youngest of three sisters. Her older sisters, played by Nam Ji-hyun and Kim Go-eun, struggle to make her life comfortable, often at their own expense, but such sacrifices make In-hye feel guilty. To change her life she makes some ill-advised choices.
“I felt sorry for her as she tries not to be a burden to her sisters,” said Park. “I hoped to grow alongside her.”
Because In-hye desperately wants a better life, she spends much of her time at the home of her wealthy friend Hyo-rin. Her friend’s family is seductively glamorous and powerful, everything her own family is not. However, In-hye doesn’t realize how dangerous Hyo-rin’s family is and how they might threaten her sisters.
“In-hye has always sought a luxurious life and thought that she could live that life if she went to live with Hyo-rin,” said Park. “I think this immature and foolish thought was shaped by her deprived childhood and her desire to escape poverty.”
The 12-episode drama is inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s story of sisterhood, but also by the kind of stories Alcott preferred to write: tales of intrigue, murder and mystery. With a rapid succession of surprising plot twists, the drama provided a fun set to work on.
“The mood at the set was wonderful,” said Park. “And I was able to trust my director and fellow actors wholeheartedly. I truly learned a lot.”
As well as playing the youngest sister, Park was treated like the youngest sister on set. Kim Go-eun and Nam Ji-hyun took good care of her.
“They called me a nickname referring to the youngest child and cared for me as if I was small and precious,” she said. “Thanks to them, I enjoyed being on the site very much.”
Although each on-screen sister demonstrated their own charms, she was equally fond of both.
“I cannot say I like one over the other,” said Park. “Both are family and on my side more than anyone else. I would love them no matter what.”
Park made her acting debut in a short film at the age of 12. She had minor drama and film roles before starring in the award-winning indie film House of Hummingbird and her performance in that film won her a Best Actress Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her international popularity grew after her role as a high school student in the zombie hit All of Us Are Dead.
“My original dream was to become an announcer,” said Park. “I started acting by chance when an acting academy suggested that I should try it. Out of curiosity, I started it out as a hobby. But as I was filming the movie House of Hummingbird, I realized that I wanted to pursue acting. I loved meeting and talking to various people in the field and learning about myself in the process. These are the reasons that I love acting.”
Park plans to study theater and film at university, but will also appear in the disaster film Concrete Utopia, starring Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-joon and Park Bo-young. Being a high school student and acting at the same time has not always been easy, but Park was determined. Little Women was her first TV drama after graduating high school.
“I worked harder because both were things I had to do and I did not want to neglect either one,” she said. “I am proud to say that I safely graduated high school.”