* warning * I was debating translating this interview because there are spoilers about nearly every twist of the ending. And I really mean explanations about every aspect. I still think it was interesting to see what Lee Soo Hyuk thinks of his character, so read at your own risk.
a/n: aegyo fail >>>> good aegyo in my book. He can still learn from Lee Jong Suk or Kim Woo Bin. Ha!
White skin, piercing gaze, long and sharp nose, thin lips and a face with a V-line shape displaying perfectly well-defined features. As an explanation, he can be naturally pictured as the lead male character who wins over the woman’s heart in a manhwa. We got time to look at actor Lee Soo Hyuk’s face as he played the prosecution investigator flower boy Kim Soo Hyun in KBS drama “Shark” which ended airing recently. A never-seen-before visual, in one word, an unreal visual. Lee Soo Hyuk got rid off his chic and snobby image and became the sentimental “boyfriend idol”. He knocked on the door of female viewers’ hearts through the small screen.
From the dreamlike character Yoon Soo in KBS drama special “White Christmas”, to the cold warrior in “Deep-Rooted Tree” and a top model in “Runway Cop”, Lee Soo Hyuk is remembered for a feast of TV and big screen characters who were, for most of them, cold and unapproachable. However, Kim Soo Hyun in “Shark” was different. He didn’t hesitate to throw sweet words to the woman he liked. He remained loyal to Yi Soo (Kim Nam Gil), his only family and friend, until the end. It seems like Lee Soo Hyuk finally met the character with a charm he clearly hadn’t been able to show before.
“I didn’t know much about acting before, so I had no training. I usually played non-ordinary roles like a ghost or a killer that don’t give off this human vibe because they matched my model image. I had been resting for some time before I did “Shark” and I was really craving for a project or a character. Fortunately, I was able to show an image that wasn’t just about the looks this time around, so I’m happy. I’m just so thankful even to the writer for creating such a round character.”
When an actor meets a character that suits him like clothes and shows his best, viewers cheer him on. This is what happened to “Shark’s” Lee Soo Hyuk. When the actor’s unexpected charm is discovered, his likability seems to double. He also believed that he had the right grasp of the character’s energy.
“I loved this character. I had heard furtively during the filming of the first half that the range of feelings or the story would be different for the second half. This was something I worried about. How different the first and second part of the drama must be? I thought about it a lot. However, it was less complicated than I thought. The things I had to do were well explained in the script. The writer created a character that matched the story as we were heading to the second half, so all I had to do was to follow the script.”
Viewers who had already seen Lee Soo Hyuk in previous productions monitored him in “Shark” and paid attention to the change in his acting to the point they were curious to find out if he had prepared for this role before filming.
“More than preparing myself for this role, I think my commitment to this production wasn’t important. After filming 3 to 4 productions in a row last year, I rested for 10 months, so I was really eager to film again. My friends also work a lot this way, so we give each other advice. While watching your position change, you feel eagerness. I think my character reflected well my greed. If you can say that I had to show how special the characters I played before were and that limited my range of expressions, I think that viewers watched me with ease this time around.”
“Shark” shed the light on the themes of “revenge” and “forgiveness” through a man getting his revenge, being at the same time the assailant beinb bullied and the victim. This drama brought awareness to the theme of revenge. In the end, forgiveness was the best revenge. Was it easy to to forgive the son of the man who killed his father and to become his friend?
“When I heard about the story, it’s the thing I thought about the most. I thought that forgiveness would be hard. However, as the story went on, it wasn’t just about Yi Soo’s fault or that Yi Soo fooled me. It was more about his sincere apology to me. What he did was wrong, but I think that the relationship between Yi Soo and I was extremely important. Yi Soo always treated me well and he wasn’t the target I needed to get revenge on. It is correct to say that we worked together.”
Since Yi Soo didn’t directly commit murder, but it was Yi Soo’s father that killed his father, when asked if he would have been able to forgive him just like Soo Hyun did in the drama, Lee Soo Hyuk clearly conveyed his opinion.
“I would have understood him in the end. Soo Hyun isn’t a heartless person by nature. It was enough for him to have the full explanation about the situation. There was a scene when Yi Soo sincerely apologized without saying a word. I think I would have done the same thing as Soo Hyun.”
Fans were divided about the drama’s ending. It was even more severe in the case of a sad ending over a happy ending. Jo Sang Wook who is going to jail orders someone to kill Yi Soo, and him with a victorious smile is the last image we see of him. With this, people thought that neither the melo or the revenge part got a proper ending. As one of the pillars of this drama, what did Lee Soo Hyuk think of the ending?
“I think the ending shows a charm that makes our drama unique. Instead of a beautiful reality, we showed another image. Isn’t there a moral you can learn from this? I’m satisfied with my character.”
Among the scenes Lee Soo Hyuk and Nam Bora had together, there was one that was mentioned for leaving a strong impression. It was the scene when he asks her out on a date. Before the date, Lee Soo Hyuk says to Park Won Sang, her father, that he loves his daugther. And also, while walking Nam Bora to her door, he says in a chic way “let’s go see a movie next time” and goes “you hate movies?” as he notices that Nam Bora’s shyness. It’s with this kind of sweet-talking that he conquered women’s hearts.
“In real life, I’m the kind to say I like you whenever I like someone. I think I become daring when I like someone. (Would he be able to say to a girl’s parents “I like your daughter”?) It has never happened to me yet, but if I find myself in this situation, it would be okay to say it, right?”
“I don’t think Soo Hyun is a bad guy. I think he’s daring and straightforward. When I read the script, I cringed somehow, so I wondered “would it work even doing it like this” and I’ve realized that the reactions were good. (Are you sensitive and sweet in real life? Or are you the chic type?) I try to be sweet. I think that the way you sweet-talk someone or the way you expression your affection is different with each person you go out with. I’m not good at putting together [romantic] events. Whoever I date, I try my best to be good to this person, I try my best to never have regrets during the time we date and even afterwards.”
Lee Soo Hyuk and Nam Bora showed great chemistry as a couple, a chemisty thay held no comparison, even from the lead couple Kim Nam Gil – Son Ye Jin.
“Most of the things I say to Nam Bora weren’t easy lines for me to say, but she was very responsive. She had the appropriate shy response even when I said blunt and awkward things, so I think it made my acting stand out. I’m thankful to her.”
Seeing the image of his character, we asked him if the sides of him he usually showed furtively weren’t close to his character. Lee Soo Hyuk openely laughed as he started waving his hand. “If you watch the making-of video, you’ll see me going everywhere when I hear the word “cut”. Although I’m considerate, it can be fun when I do things while joking around. Soo Hyun was very outspoken and he said things that were cringe-worthy even in the drama.”
I realized that Lee Soo Hyuk’s charm was closer to the sweet Kim Soo Hyun in “Shark” than the cold guy image impression he gave at the beginning to the point I had finished the questions I had prepared and I grew curious about his real life personality. His close friend Kim Young Kwang even introduced him in an interview for another media as “a friend who was gentle and funny”.
“Just like Young Kwang-hyung said, I think I also have a funny side. Since we were naturally close, wether we’re talking or joking, we don’t think too deeply. We’re close friends, so we look affectionate. On the contrary, when we work, we’re serious and committed. We’ve been working since we were young, so we’re very shy around strangers. (How close must we be to see their relaxed image?) I think not a lot of people can see it. Probably not even 10 people.”
Lee Soo Hyuk who calmly answered these questions showed what seemed to be an embarrassed smile when asked if he’s aware of his growing popularity. “Nothing happened to make me aware of my popularity because I’m resting right now, after attending only the filming set, There will be a fansigning event soon, so I guess I’ll see there at least. (Kim) Woo Bin couldn’t even do his fansigning*, but I think I’m not at this point, though. And praises about my acting ability [make me aware of my popularity]. I don’t think I deserve to hear praises yet, so I wonder how bad was I before. (laugh)”
“I’m currently working on a new project, which I think I’ll be able to show soon. I’m really training to be a good actor and show a good image and I’ll choose good projects to greet you. I want to play roles allowing me to show an image a bit more mature, a bit more talented. My goal is to take part into a good project one more time this year.
* A couple of days before, Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Suk had to cancel a fansigning event for security reasons because too many people showed up.