Ji Chang Wook met reporters from various press agencies for interviews prior to the official opening of “Fabricated City”, and numerous articles were published over the past couple of weeks in conjunction with his movie promotions. Since most articles had repetitive content, we’ve compiled his answers to various topics in our post below, along with a boatload of additional photos taken during said interviews.
The dangers of action
At an interview conducted in a Samcheong-dong cafe on 1st February, Ji Chang Wook revealed, “I’ve not mentioned this before, but Oh Jung Se broke his ribs because of me.”
“I cracked his ribs while doing some action stunts in a climatic scene. He was in a lot of pain then and I thought his muscles must have taken a shock because I touched him wrongly, but I later found out from the staff that his ribs were broken. He didn’t say anything so I felt very apologetic.”
“Because of that, I realised that it’s not a good thing to get carried away with your emotions when doing action scenes.”
In the movie, there are more scenes of him getting beaten up than him beating others. “This is the first time I got beaten up so much. After getting hit so much, I realised that hitting others is actually more comfortable. When you hit others, even though it may not be a serious injury, there’s still the possibility of the person getting injured, which made it rather difficult for me because I felt rather uncomfortable, so I thought it would be more comfortable to be beaten, but that wasn’t the case. It’s painful when you get beaten (laughs). I’m also human, so I even felt a little irritated after doing several takes (laughs). But I couldn’t get angry since that was just acting. There was no way I could vent (laughs).”
Despite that, Ji Chang Wook feels that action was not his biggest challenge in this movie. “The action scenes were not overly difficult. The action team will choreograph the moves depending on each situation, and I acted by doing repeated practices with them. ‘Fabricated City’ is not a movie that is centered on action alone. I had to imagine and act out the emotional parts, so it was more tiring emotionally than physically.”
Thoughts about his first movie role
“I’ve been asked a lot as to why I haven’t appeared in a movie all this while. It’s not because I dislike it or avoid it, but more because things were not meant to be.”
“I now think of this as a beginning. I’m happy because I enjoyed filming and I got to meet a good director in my first starring movie after choosing so hard.”
“I couldn’t watch the movie comfortably even during the sneak preview. I’m the type who cannot watch my own shows comfortably, so it was even worse since this is my first movie. The image was shown on a large screen and the audio was also loud because we watched it in a cinema, so I couldn’t get used to it.”
“A lot of people around me asked me how was the movie. But it is actually hard for me to comment because I’m unable to watch the movie from the perspective of an audience member…I was very nervous. I’ll leave it to the audience to comment about the movie (laughs).”
“Rather than thinking ‘Is this scene interesting?’, more thoughts of regrets towards my acting came to mind instead. My mind was constantly filled with thoughts like ‘Wouldn’t I be able to act more interestingly in that scene if I had a little more experience?’, so I tried asking (Ahn) Jae Hong hyung after watching the movie. Only after Jae Hong hyung said, ‘It was very interesting’ then I said, ‘Is that so?’ and felt a little more at ease.”
Busy filming schedule
It took them 6 months to film “Fabricated City”. There were many rounds of filming because of the high difficulty and sheer amount of action. But Ji Chang Wook remembers this as a movie that he filmed enjoyably amid a very busy schedule till he mistakenly thought, “Didn’t we take 3 months (to film)?” “We started filming the movie in late December 2015. Filming was done amid a very busy schedule, till the extent that I had to rush to the airport immediately after filming ended without even having the chance to change my clothes, but it was really enjoyable.”
“Actually, I didn’t really do monitoring even when I was filming dramas. I will only watch the beginning to check the tone of my acting. Even though I tried to look back and watch, I didn’t make it a point that I had to watch it. I think the most important thing is to take reference from the director’s advice and what I sense during filming. Also important are how well the actors work together, and whether I’ve given a correct interpretation through my acting. This is especially so for dramas. It’s not possible for me to watch again and make changes to show better acting when the episodes have already aired. It is better to be focused at the moment when you are filming.”
Filming a movie versus filming dramas
He feels even more nervous since this is his first leading role in a movie. “I worried a lot since this is a movie, and I feel a bit regretful now. Having experienced starring in a movie myself, it turned out to be not very different. Since young, I’ve heard a lot from seniors and colleagues about how dramas and movies are different so I thought it would be different, but the difference wasn’t that great. I think it was a pity that I took on this movie with the preconception that it would be different. It’s probably due to personality differences. I think it really depends on what you think. There wasn’t anything comfortable (about making the movie). There isn’t one that is more comfortable than the other, but movies have more time and the collaboration is slower. It can be hard or it can also be easy because of that. Although there are slight differences in the system, I don’t think there was anything particularly different.”
“Although you get very busy in dramas, the good thing is that the actors will act and try to match one another. The process of making movies and dramas is interesting. If the take is not good enough, we film again and exchange ideas.”
Comic book elements of the script and his hesitance to accept the role
“I hesitated when I was told that this movie will be like a comic. I heard that this was what the director said, but it wasn’t the case in reality (laughs). The movie didn’t appear like a comic either. I didn’t put on much make-up, so I felt comfortable while filming instead. The character experienced a lot of hardship up till the mid-point of the movie, so I merely went to film looking like how I do when I get out of bed. There were days where I applied sun cream, and days where I didn’t draw my eyebrows (laughs). I only had a lot of blood and injury make-up.”
“Kwon Yoo may have been an athlete, but I think the part where he starts fighting with the bad guys is like a comic. When I think of the process and scenes of the lead becoming stronger and fighting with the bad guys, I worried a lot as to whether things like shooting paper arrows and hearing the sound of rice grains being thrown can be portrayed in a cinematic and realistic way .”
It was director Park Kwang Hyun who helped allay some of his worries. Ji Chang Wook said, “I got over that part by having complete trust in the director. When I first saw the movie, there were many parts where I thought ‘So this is how CGI appears in the movie’, but I then realised that the movie is reborn in the director’s own style through his direction.”
“I worried everyday, thinking ‘Is this really a right choice?’, ‘I’m doing a good job now right?’…. In all the shows I’ve acted thus far, this is a project that I relied on the director the most.”
“The comic style of directing will be received differently depending on each viewer, which is interesting. I saw the movie ‘La La Land’ not long ago, and there was a scene where they suddenly fly up to the sky. At the part, someone in the cinema said ‘What the heck is this?’, but I thought it was fun and innocent. I think our movie may also have that same effect on people like that scene.”
Thoughts on Shim Eun Kyung and his co-stars
He wasn’t able to bond very closely with his co-star Shim Eun Kyung because of their shy personalities. “Not long ago, we met each other coincidentally at a cafe in front of my house, but all we did was greet each other because we were too shy. She is a senior although she is younger than me, which was even more uncomfortable for me. Usually among people who are shy, they will not converse much in case both parties get even more uncomfortable (laughs). That’s why it was less uncomfortable when we were acting. Because we play characters who are awkward with each other. We do not look at each other in the eye when filming. I think we were very immersed in our roles.”
“I tried my best to look cool in the war scene at the beginning, and I worked hard to look like a professional soldier. After that, the image of a jobless man at the internet cafe was really similar to how I am when I’m resting at home. The later scenes such as the chase scene were really wide-ranging. There were many things to do too. In the beginning, I kept filming alone for scenes of the war, prison and internet cafe. The number of scenes I had with other actors were fewer than expected. Even the scene where I was with Yeo Wool in the car was filmed as a set at once. It was really a battle with loneliness.”
“I have many individual scenes in this movie. I feel lonely when I’m not filming with my fellow colleagues. I get a lot of strength and comfort when we film together. It’s less tiring when you are with other people.”
“We got close even though this is our first time working together. Senior Kim Sang Ho is a naturally funny person. You will be bent over with laughter when you are with him.”
About the “Fabricated City” characters
“Fabricated City” bears a hopeful message that ordinary characters are capable of fighting bravely against the powerful and attaining a glorious victory.
“When I saw the scenario, I was struck by the thought that it is possible for such a situation to befall on ordinary people. There was this feeling of frustration every time I was filming. The movie is introduced as a story about minorities fighting against the powerful, but if you think about it, you wonder how are people segmented into the majority and minority. I think this is a regrettable part of reality.”
“I focused on the situation faced by the character. How would I feel if that was me, and how angry, wronged and scared will I feel? I tried to project all my emotions. But I did not wish to think of Kwon Yoo and the youths who joined hands with him as minorities of society. Although I word it that way when introducing (the movie) to people, at some point in time, I began to wonder what it means to be a minority. They are really ordinary characters, but I don’t think it’s right to judge them as minorities.”
How similar are Ji Chang Wook and Kwon Yoo? If there is ever a situation where he is wronged, will Ji Chang Wook put up a brave fight like his character in the movie?
“I tend to get scared easily. I’m neither more righteous nor cowardly than anyone else. I think I’m just an ordinary person. I did think about a situation similar to Kwon Yoo’s. If I were confronted with such a situation, will I step forth and help? Because I’m an ordinary person.”
“I felt rather frustrated while acting. A person who has so much leadership in a game is actually powerless in reality. But he does not back down when faced with a dangerous situation. I wish to applaud him for that. If it was really me, will I be able to do that? I probably won’t be able to do anything and just support him with my heart. But Kwon Yoo put his life on the line (to clear his name) and ran. A lot of thoughts went through my mind.”
A love line in the movie?
The romance between Kwon Yoo and Yeo Wool is ambiguous, so how does Ji Chang Wook think about this? “The interesting thing is, the final scene in the draft was a scene of Yeo Wool looking at her captain (Ji Chang Wook) and pulls him in for a hug. Although that is not a mushy kind of melodrama, it was a scene that was enough to reveal the feelings of both of them, but it was not filmed and it was removed from the scenario.”
The emotions with Yeo Wool are not considered melodramatic, but they are not unmoving either. That’s why it ended up that way in the movie now. Demolition (Ahn Jae Hong) likes Yeo Wool. He also has a cute jealousy towards a leather jacket (laughs). Won’t it be too abrupt if (Yeo Wool’s and Kwon Yoo’s relationship) was melodramatic? Some scenes could turn out awkward, so I think it’s fortunate instead.”
In the movie, Yeo Wool prepared a meal for her team like a grandmother. The sight of them sitting around and eating makes you feel warm and contrasts with the inhumane situation they faced in the movie.
“The director emphasized on the sincerity of a meal. I think it is a warm and important scene. How would a person who was wronged, suffered so much and driven to the edge of the cliff feel when he sees a warm bowl of rice for the first time? It was not an easy scene.”
Filming the car chase scene
In the movie, there is a car chase scene where he uses a small car. It took them as long as one month to film the car chase.
“We really filmed for a long time. The speeding and turning of the cars were not done by the actors personally. Those were filmed with experts in that field, I was only filmed moving inside the car. I only pretended to go through the motions, but that was even harder. If I filmed with other actors, all our movements have to be exactly the same, and that was harder than I thought.”
The car chase looked tiring in the movie, but they had to suffer from the heat and cold in reality too.
“The small car really tormented me a lot. The air conditioning wasn’t working and I had to film wearing long-sleeved clothes. Because the car was very old, the car might stall if we turn on the aircon so we couldn’t turn it on. It was really hot. The door fell off towards the end, and it was very cold when we finished the shoot in late December.”
About the movie’s success
“I may appear irresponsible, but a show will not be successful all the time. Having said that, it does not mean that I took on this role irresponsibly. I work on a show with the intention of having all of them succeed. Although I gave my best, not every show will succeed so I just have to go with the flow right? I definitely have the confidence, but because this is still a clumsy first attempt, rather than talking about feeling confident, I think I will leave it to the people watching the movie. There may not be very high expectations for me since this is my first time (as a lead in a movie), so being able to deliver something fresh and above expectations can be a possible advantage.”
“I’m actually not sure since this is my first time. I’m not thinking too much about the timing of the movie’s release and the other movies it will be competing with; I placed my faith in the distributor and investment company. During filming, I only focused on the characters or my acting. There’s no need to draw comparisons with other movies as our movie has its own unique style. I’m not quite feeling it yet. I’ll probably feel a mix of worry and pressure such as ‘What should we do if it doesn’t do well?’ We will only know after the movie is released, but I hope it will do well. Even if it doesn’t do well, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Computer games in his own life
In the movie, Ji Chang Wook stars as an unemployed man who does nothing else besides playing games at the internet cafe. “When I was in middle and high school, I played a lot of games such as ‘Starcraft’ and ‘Diablo’. But I have hardly been turning on my computer at home since my early twenties. I play using my mobile phone now so there’s no reason for me to turn it on.”
With this being his first movie as the lead, Ji Chang Wook feels the pressure. “I hope we cross the break-even point since there are investors involved. Because this is the first movie as an actor, I hope I can leave a strong impression that will make you think ‘Such an actor exists too’. Rather than having big ambitions, I hope to have an enjoyable time working in movies too in the future.”
Happy in musical roles
With regards to him being active in various kinds of activities including dramas and musicals, he said, “I’m able to continue doing this because it’s interesting. Acting is fun and makes me happy and moved. Even when it’s tiring physically, it helps me not to feel exhausted.”
“No one can stop me when I’m on stage. It’s not possible to restart once you begin (the performance), so it feels like there is equal treatment and the emotions seem very real.”
“Whirlwind Girl 2”
Ji Chang Wook also enjoys great popularity as a Hallyu star in China and has already starred in two Chinese dramas, but the fate of his drama “Mr. Right” remains uncertain due to the restriction of Korean content in China. “‘Whirlwind Girl 2’ has already aired, but it seems like ‘Mr. Right’ is still unable to go on air. I don’t really know how bad it is since I’m in Korea now, but I’m hearing a lot of talk that things are difficult because of that issue. The situation isn’t good, but we are still communicating with the Chinese production company. There should be good news soon.”
How he spends his spare time these days
A reporter told him that he seems suited to play good-for-nothing characters, to which he said, “That seems to be the case. Actually my life has been like that. I lived ordinarily and pathetically. Don’t most people imagine the lives of celebrities to be of a certain way? But I just live like your neighbourhood’s next-door ahjusshi.”
But the reporters point out that not all next-door ahjusshis look as handsome as he does. Waving his hand, he said, “That’s because I am dressed up well. On normal days, I really live very ordinarily. I meet up with my friends and we will chat, eat and drink together.”
He also revealed his unique hobby of going to the sauna. “I enjoy going to the sauna to sweat it out. I go more often because it’s winter. But the price of eggs have gone up so baked eggs have gotten more expensive. Nobody recognises me. There are not many people there too. It’s my hidden place,” he said with a laugh. (*It is common practice to eat boiled eggs in Korean saunas)
“Ordinary person” Ji Chang Wook confessed that he is making an impulsive move to deviate (from his routine). “Just because I’m an actor does not mean that I’m waiting for a new life experience every time. I’m doing the exact same schedule all the time for several days. I also ride in a car and walk on the street everyday. I will go on a holiday if I want to get away from my daily life.”
About his popularity
There was definitely a period of time where Ji Chang Wook was obsessed about popularity and tangible results. “There was a time where I would imagine myself getting an award at the year-end awards ceremony, and I would set my goal in the hope that my pay will increase.” That was the moment where he only looked ahead and ran. That’s why someone called Ji Chang Wook a “star who walked an easy road”, and a celebrity who did well without any suffering. “I tried not to be too bothered by various comments. To put it bluntly, I might not do well after returning from the army, or things could also turn out the opposite way, but I do not wish to publicly talk about who had a harder time.”
About happiness in life
“Although it’s good if I can act my entire life, but you’ll never know what will happen in life right?”
“I have more ordinary friends than celebrity friends, so I will ask them about their dreams sometimes. Questions such as ‘How is your life?’ or ‘How are you doing at work these days?’ and so on. I realised that their lives are very different. Be it me who doesn’t work at a firm or my friends, I hope we can be happy. I’ve also found my direction to live life a little happily. If I ran ahead with my dreams and ambition when I was younger, isn’t the life of Ji Chang Wook as a person important too? Ultimately, I’m not just an actor, but also someone’s son, friend and future husband. So thinking about what I should leisurely do with my friends makes me happy these days (laughs). Of course, I’m also happy when I’m fully engrossed in my work.”
Roles that he wants to try in the future
He has played many types of leading characters thus far. Although he has played many kind characters, he surprisingly sees character complexes as the most important aspect of the characters that he is going to play. Because he believes the kind of complex that the character has will determine that character’s actions, motives and personality. “Whether the character is a chaebol or a rich person, I think all characters do have a complex. That is probably why it would be interesting to try acting as a villain. Although I’ve played a villain before in ‘Thrill Me’ and ‘Five Fingers’, I have a desire to try acting as a villain again.”
“I’ve not acted in a single romantic comedy so far. I mainly chose ‘powerful’ pieces of works when I was younger, but that was also because I wasn’t offered any trendy shows. I also wish to be a ‘rom-com king’ before I turn 40. I wish to star in a horror or gangster movie too.”
“I went to a bowling alley and the person at the counter asked, ‘Why don’t you do anything else other than action?’ I don’t think I’ve been doing action only all this while. He must have felt that way because (action) was more memorable visually. What I can say for certain is that I won’t be doing ‘action’ for a while. I’m saying that I think I will be able to do very well in romantic comedies (laughs).”
Future plans and upcoming army enlistment
Regarding his impending army enlistment, he said, “I wish to do one more project before I enlist in the army….but I think I should be able to do one more project before I leave if things go well.”
There appears to be a high possibility that his next project will be a drama. “Movies are a little difficult. The issue of timing must be taken into consideration for me to act in a movie, so there doesn’t seem to be any movies that I can possibly do. If there is a drama that fits my timing, then I hope to do one more. Even if it’s not a drama, I hope to at least have a musical performance. I hope to sing a little and have a chat with the people who like me.”
“I do not know my enlistment date yet since the draft notice hasn’t arrived. I might receive it around March or April. I hope to go on a vacation with my friends before enlisting. I once went backpacking in Italy with my friends while riding motorbikes. I hope to go backpacking at a place that is suitable for riding motorbikes.”
“These days, people say that you will be discharged from the army in the blink of an eye. I hope to do a good job in the army with a healthy image.”
“The people around me have differing reactions (towards army enlistment). Some people think it’s a waste of time, while there are others who think it is an experience worth trying for once. But as a person who is due to enlist soon, I do not have thoughts like ‘What’s the use of going there?’ I think it will be very interesting if I can cope well. If I think positively, it can be a place for me to make younger friends, but one can also feel upset when people younger than you speak to you informally, even though it doesn’t seem a big deal since you are in the army. I’m also curious about how I will be.”
When asked if acting action scenes will help him cope with military life in reality, he said, “Action is something performed in front of the camera, and is done in a way that looks good. I think I will be able to shoot well with a gun, but it’s not as easy as it seems once you grab hold of the gun. If it’s easy, will everyone be able to shoot it easily?”
“I was asked if choosing to do action continuously will be a negative impact with regards to changing my image or taking on new challenges, but aren’t there still many opportunities? If I return from the army, I can take on more daring challenges, and my acting range may also become wider. Using the experience I have thus far as a base, I might be able to show an image that is a level higher in maturity, and I’m looking forward to that. I do not wish to be obsessed or feel uneasy about my current popularity. Because there will surely be something else to learn, and I’ll return with an even better image.”
Translated from Korean to English by Ji Chang Wook’s Kitchen. Please do not reprint, repurpose, screencap or otherwise copy our content without written permission.
Credit: Sports Chosen, OSEN, Joy News, Hankook Ilbo, Sports Today, Kuki News, SportsQ, Chic News, Oh My News, MK News, Hankook Gyeongjae; photos as watermarked
What a great piece! Thank you so very much JCWKitchen for translating and compiling the various interviews.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Read it again and again! JCW never fails to entertain and impress. JCW’s such a level headed person I wonder if he realizes that makes him all the more endearing.
By the way..did JCW say:
“I enjoy going to the sauna to sweat it out. … Nobody recognises me. …”
Nobody recognizes JCW?!?! Impossible! 😳
Maybe they don’t recognise him, because he hasn’t draw his eyebrows and no make-up at all, he must look quite ordinary 😉
very nice and comprehensive article…not too mention the super handsome JCW photos overload ❤ ❤ ❤
Nobody is so humble and self counscious like ChangWook in South Korea.
I recognize myself in his difficulties and find inspiration to keep myself living without falling.
He is such a lovely person. He may think he os very ordinary, but I’m sure he can’t see how full of heart he is.
Even his hands express how his personality is.
He is dating now? haha. Future wife will be so happy to have such beautiful human by her side. I hope he will receive even more happiness in the future.
I feel like there is a dagger in my eyes everytime I see him underrating himself so much, but I understand that this pushes him harder to bevome even more in the future.
Really lobe his presence in the world. Wish I could meet him with happy eyes in the future or somewhere else. 🙂
I will always pass my best energy and positivity to him in my mind and inside my heart.
Thank you for translating and everything.
This Interview just proved why he’s my bias. So honest and true to his words.
wow just wow! thank you for condensing those interviews. it made for a very interesting read. so he draws his eyebrows in huh? lol! i so want to watch his movie. wonder if he has chosen one more project before his army days are upon him.
loved the photos also! i could look at them all day—
Such a great interview!! Thanks for sharing this long one!!☺😍😍..love to read his interviews and to know his deep thoughts!! He always honest and sincere with his answers!! Very thoughtful , grounded person and has kind heart!! More projects to come JCW!! Stay blessed..Will always Support U till the end..Dont change your attitude and character even if you become more popular than now!!..my sole reason for loving you is Your Beautiful HEART and your personality rather than your Smile, Eyes and Voice❤❤…Take care and be safe and healthy!! Keep smiling always☺☺..Love the Ordinary JCW to the core❤❤❤