Q. How have you been since “The K2” ended?
I haven’t rested yet. I continued to have schedules after the drama ended so I haven’t rested much yet. I probably be able to rest a little after finishing the last interview today. I want to meet up with friends whom I didn’t get to see all this while, chat with them and have a drink. I’ve been collecting comic books recently, so I’ve been wanting to create a small room for books at home, and I’m steadily collecting comic books these days.
Q. Did you like the ending?
Personally, I prefer sad endings. I like sad endings because happy endings that end with “And they lived happily ever after” seem too obvious, but the final scene with the kiss scene shot in Spain turned out more prettily than I had expected, so it seemed alright.
Q. If it was given a sad ending, how would you like it to end?
I wondered what would happen to Jae Ha if Anna died, and I did think that Jae Ha would die as everything would be resolved if he died. Because there were so many evil people, I had many different kinds of thoughts about how all this should be resolved, but I couldn’t think of a perfect solution. So I think the current happy ending may also be a satisfying ending.
Q. Which aspect of the character Kim Jae Ha did you worry about the most when studying the character?
I think I worried the most about how I should portray his relationship between the various characteres in an interesting and concreate manner. I also thought a lot about aspects such as what should be done in order to make things more interesting for audiences on a more emotional level.
Q. There are comments about Kim Jae Ha’s character description being insufficient. Do you have any regrets about the scenario or setup?
I heard such comments a lot more than expected, but an actor should show acting that is convincing to the viewers and also show more emotionally, and I found that a pity. If I were to do this again, I think I might be able to do a better job than what I did the first time.
Q. Are there any similarities between the character Kim Jae Ha and yourself?
There are aspects where Jae Ha and I are similar in subtle ways, but also aspects where we are different. For example, Jae Ha is a character who acts coldly towards those people who do not open their hearts to him and forms a wall between himself and others, and I am also like this to a certain extent. But I think the difference lies in the degree and method. He is also a character who is very warm towards Anna and knows how to joke with her, and I’m also like that.
Q. How was your relationship with Song Yoon Ah?
The scenes I had with the character Yoo Jin were all overflowing with a lot of tension. For example, the atmosphere was bright in the lovey dovey scenes with Im YoonA-sshi, but the scenes I had with senior Song Yoon Ah were very tensed, so once filming started, I would focus on not losing the tension. So there were many times that I felt exhausted. I would feel tired after doing one filming, but I couldn’t lose that intensity since the tension had to be sustained.
Q. There were many viewers who looked forward to the romance with Song Yoon Ah. Do you have any regrets about the romance with Yoo Jin?
Because Jae Ha’s stand was clear, I didn’t have any regrets about the romance not being realised. Jae Ha had feelings towards Yoo Jin as a business partner, and it was nothing more than sympathy or pity. From Yoo Jin’s perspective, she wanted to have Jae Ha and was obsessed with that, but Jae Ha always made his feelings clear, so if audiences were able to sense that strange atmosphere when Yoo Jin and Jae Ha are together, that can also be an interesting point of our drama. I thought audiences would be able to sense that even when I first saw the script, and I think it made the character relationships more interesting.
Q. The response towards the umbrella scene was good. Many said this is a successor to Kang Dong Won’s umbrella scene (in “Temptation of Wolves”).
I was worried that the umbrella scene would look similar. Although it cannot be compared, I worried a lot about what if people were to draw comparisons and found it similar, but it went by quickly fortunately (laughs). When I saw the script, I thought anyone would agree that Jae Ha was really cool in the way he was written. I think I did the filming in a more placid manner instead because of that.
Q. How was it like at the first meeting with actress YoonA who is also an idol?
I tried not to think that way, and because she is an actress who appears in the same show as me, as a partner, I thought of what I should do so that we can have fun making this drama. YoonA-sshi looked a lot like the character Anna and suited the role, so I think I concentrated on that aspect. Our first meeting was over a meal. The directors, YoonA-sshi and myself were having a meal, but we didn’t speak much then. Because I’m also shy, I only recall myself eating dilligently and then separating (laughs).
Q. How was your image of her like when she was just a Girls’ Generation member and not your co-star?
I think the group Girls’ Generation in itself holds great meaning to friends of my age group. Girls’ Generation is the romantic fantasy of all men, to the extent that my manager told me not to treat YoonA carelessly because he made it through his days in the army thanks to her, and I think it’s the same for me too. Girls’ Generation is the model example of an idol.
Q. Were there any points that you could learn from the actress YoonA?
She was very detailed and had a fixation and ambition for acting. I think that’s very good as an actress. As we worked together, I was able to feel once again the things that I had forgotten. She has naturally rich emotions since she’s a woman, so as we chat, there were many times where I realised ‘So you are thinking that way’.
Q. Was it hard to act back-and-forth between action and melodrama?
I thought of those as situations. Both are considered acting, but action is expressed through the body with emotions, while melodrama is expressed like words through other movements other than action, yet the emotions you think of are all the same. You aren’t without emotions even when fighting. Except that action scenes require a lot of movement so it’s more tiring physically, but your head hurts less I think (laughs).
Q. There were many action scenes, so which scene was the most tiring?
Actually, I was most worried about the sauna fight scene in the first half of the show, and it was easy to film, but it came out more interesting than I expected. I thought it was fresh. I thought a lot about how this scene can be made interesting when I first saw the script, but the director probably thought of it as a comical scene. But as we continued filming, it didn’t look as bad as he thought, so he edited it in a way that made it cool instead of comical. It turned out more interesting than what I was worried about.
Q. You’ve done mainly action genres, was this a deliberate decision?
It wasn’t deliberate, it’s just that over time, the shows happened to have action in them. But having said that, I think one of the reasons I chose this is because I haven’t starred in a real action show before. Although I do not know whether I’m attracted to such projects or whether I chose them by sheer coincidence, but if I keep doing action repeatedly by coincidence, then I probably have some inclination towards it to some extent too (laughs). Even during the press conference, I said that this would be my last action drama, and I hope to do shows that have no action for a while in the future. Because I showed plenty of action in this drama, I will probably get tired and those watching me will also not find it interesting if I do the same thing again in my next project, so I intend to avoid action for the time being.
Q. Do you like action movies too?
Surprisingly not. Although I really liked action shows when I was young, I didn’t watch as many action shows after I grew up. I really wanted to watch “Doctor Strange” recently, but I didn’t see it because I didn’t have time. It has been a long time since I last saw a movie. Now that the drama has ended, I plan to go and watch good movies and performances (laughs).
Q. You are doing different activities such as musicals, movies and dramas, which do you think suits you the most?
They are all interesting. Actually, the most comfortable is probably drama. Partly because I’ve done a lot of dramas all this while. They all have their own charms. The stage is also very attractive, and I think this is a place where the actor is able to receive respect; movies have depth and a kind of fun that only movies have; drama have diverse genres and the advantages of having filming done quickly, quick feedback (from audience) and you can see the fruit of your labour quickly. The genres and subject matter of dramas these days have also gotten more diverse.
Q. It must have been tiring to do “The K2” and “The Days” at the same time, was there anything that helped you to persevere on?
More than a special reason that helped me to persevere, I merely had a lot of fun working. I had a lot of fun performing, and I was also happy on stage. In between, I also had a fan meeting which I did really enjoyably and happily. Although it was tiring, I think I was able to persevere through by doing these.
Q. Did you have any thoughts of taking part in “The K2” OST?
Actually I did receive an OST offer this time too, but I politely declined. This time, I respectfully declined with the wish that someone better who can sing and express his feelings through song much better than me could sing the theme song, and I also wish to express myself through music for once some day.
Q. Were there times where you wished that you also had a bodyguard like Kim Jae Ha?
That would be very good. He will only protect me no matter what I do, and aren’t there also times where one will feel uneasy even as a man? It’s also dangerous to walk at night. Of course, it’s more dangerous for women because they are weaker than men, but men can also get caught up in unlucky incidents (laughs). In reality, acting as a job in itself also involves working with bodyguards a lot. Occasionally when I do performances or go to the airport, we will request the help of bodyguards because fans may crowd around and cause accidents, and they are really reassuring at such occasions. I thought of that a lot when I was analysing this character.
Q. Your appearance in “We Got Married” was also widely talked about.
While filming “The K2”, I saw an article about Bomi-sshi mistaking Tae Joonie for me. So the writer of “We Got Married” contacted me to ask if I could appear once. I pondered about it and thought that it would be fun to appear as a surprise guest, so I went. It was my first time on such a variety show so I was really nervous. I got to know Tae Joonie through a close hyung of mine, and I found him to be very nice. His eyes look clear and I thought we will be able to get along as close hyung and dongsaeng. That’s how we got close.
I had no intention of starring in “We Got Married”. I think I will be too embarrassed (laughs). Audiences can have vicarious satisfaction while watching others get to know each other like real lovers, and they may have fun watching, but if I were to appear on the show and do this, I will be too ashamed and embarassed. I probably won’t be able to do a good job (laughs).
Q. Have you ever thought of appearing on other variety shows?
I’ve not given much thought to variety shows. I appeared on “Running Man” before, and it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I had to keep running and do missions. After doing variety for once at that time, I could sense that people who do variety shows are really cool and awesome.
Q. Is web drama “First Kiss For the Seventh Time” your next project? What are your plans in the future?
Actually, that’s not a web drama but a commercial. The commercial was shot in the format of a web drama. You can just think of it as a commercial shot in the style of a drama with actors taking turns to appear in each episode.
I’m still left with “The Days” performances in the provinces. I will probably spend the end of the year leisurely with the team members as we tour the provinces. My schedules for “The K2” end today so from tomorrow onward, I’ll be looking through projects that have been offered to me and take a rest. My movie “Fabricated City” will premiere early next year, so I’ll be looking forward to it (laughs).
Q. Is there anything that you have to do before your reach your thirties?
I wish to do a lot of travelling before I get older. I want to ride my favourite motorbike and go travelling or backpacking, I want to go on a trip where I can see and experience a lot aimlessly.
Q. What kind of actor do you wish to become in the future?
This is a very difficult question and also a question that I’m constantly asking myself and thinking about too. I always say vaguely that ‘I want to become a good actor’, but I question myself what it means to be a good actor. When I wonder if an actor who always brings commercial success to his shows, a popular actor, or an actor who earns a lot of money be considered good actors, I conclude that these are probably not. I’m still thinking about it.
Every time I work on a project, I do my best and enjoy myself while I act. As I do this for every piece of work and welcome yet another new project, I have this hope that I will see myself as having become a good actor when I look back on myself next time. That’s why I try to enjoy working in every project I do.
Translated from Korean to English by Gabby.
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Credit: Top Star News