[20140508 – Marie Claire] Song Seun Hun – Man and Actor – Interview

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Song Seung Hun - Marie Claire

20 minutes early. Song Seung Hun arrived at the studio much earlier than I thought. He said he even skipped lunch in order not to be late. His personality showed as he said one sandwich would be enough, but watching him standing in front of the camera for a few hours got me curious about Song Seung Hun. As time boringly passed by, he never mentioned his discomfort not even once. Since they used a remodeling camera to take digital pictures like a film camera, it had to match the pin despite the model’s slightest movement. Once he was in the camera angle, he had to stay still no matter how long it took until the “cut” was heard. He wasn’t a robot. Where is it easy for someone to stay still for such a long time like that? Even in such situation that one should complain about, his only words are “it’s harder than I thought it would be”. And he quietly goes back to the fitting room to change into his next outfit.

“It can’t be helped anyway. They’re trying their best to make the pictures come out even better and more charismatic. If I get annoyed, it’d be my loss. However, when I was younger, I actually complained. It was probably because of things accumulating… I don’t know why I was sensitive and acted harshly before in situations in which I can be understanding now.” He said it’s probably because he’s older that he can take things easy now, but he’s naturally someone who acts in a proper way.

The day of the photo shoot, there was a scene when he needed to smoke a cigarette. Just like when his character Kim Jin Pyung in movie “Obsessed” was overwhelmed and worrying about love that hit him like lightning. As his long eyelashes fluttered, he wanted to  show the inner worry of Kim Jin Pyung while he is smoking. Although he hadn’t been a smoker in ten years, the moment he held the cigarette between his fingers, he bowed his head to the assistant who handed him the cigarette as he accepted it with both hands. It’s not that he pretends to be well-mannered, to be humble, it’s just that it’s natural for his body to bend out of habit when he says thank you. Even when it’s unfortunate, the name Song Seung Hun is big and there must be a lot to figure out behind this name, but he carries a simplicity that is never urgent and noisy.

“I’m a boring person. I don’t really like shopping or finding good spots to eat. I like exercising, but I don’t do it to have a good body to show off. I do it to stay healthy. So I don’t really have something I enjoy a lot. I guess that’s a bit depressing. (laugh) It’s just that what I enjoy the most is meeting my friends from middle school and high school. More than anything, when I’m in front of the camera, I’m captured by the direct pressure of having to interact with someone. When I’m with my friends, I can just be me. As time goes by, you get to know many people, but the number of people you contact and stay close with is narrowed down. That’s why my people are a limited circle.”

What actors need more than anything is a free mind. Song Seung Hun doesn’t want to give up as much as this freedom is there. If it’s not a special meeting, it’s not easy to even witness the sight of him drinking a coffee in a coffee shop. “I’m alone most of the time. My friends come to see me and have fun, but most of them work in companies, so it’s mostly after they leave work or on weekends. Still, I’m not the stay-at-home kind of person who has worries such as “what am I going to eat today?”. I don’t like cooking. I don’t eat because something is well-cooked. I do my own laundry and my own cleaning. There are times when it takes me an entire day to clean and wash everything. I’ve been independent for a long time now and I’ve never hired a help. I do things because I’m on my own.” When he watches movies he likes such as “Cinema Paradiso” or “Unfaithful”, the day ends quickly. Even when he’s gushing about something, there’s no fierceness of emphasised words in the way he speaks. This is to say that there’s no great reversal in Song Seung Hun’s daily life.

Being an actor for more than ten years, he secured his position at the “top”. It wasn’t that he was prolific, but he had consistantly showed up to one project a year and the nature of his work is diverse. The problem is the reactions were better when he came back with the image we expected from him than when he came back with the image he wanted to show. For instance, when he played characters like romantic princes in dramas such as “Autumn in My Heart” and “My Princess”. While he reigned in the category of good-looking actors with well-defined features, his filmography didn’t create a gradual upward movement. Because he couldn’t only do roles the fans want every time, he sometimes tried to stray away, but the result wasn’t satisfying. What is unfortunate is that he doesn’t have plenty major works compared to the time he spent acting. Even if it’s just one, if one project becomes his major work, isn’t it because it is supposed to be? But judging from his ambition and his passion for acting, this result isn’t satisfying. “After I decided that acting would be my life, I began working on a second goal. Having this major work people know you for is good, being popular is good. But more than that, I left behind the pressure of wondering if my own commitment as an actor when I was acting was something I wasn’t ashamed of. If I don’t break down and if I keep making efforts and withstand it all, I think it will give me strength for my next project, even if the previous result was a bit unfortunate.”

“Obsessed” is a movie that brings out and hardens this conviction until the end. With no judgement or overlook, he placed himself under the care of director Kim Dae Woo and left everything to his expertise.

The day the “Obsessed” poster was released, Song Seung Hun reigned all day on the highest part of the search engine rankings as the expectations went up. “I worried about this movie more than any other of my projects. On the contrary, it’s also the movie that I filmed with the most lighthearted mindset. This was the director I trusted the most, the communication we had on set neatly erased any “am I doing well?” doubt I had.”

While it’s great that there were good reactions for the teaser, he said it was unfortunate that it seemed the interest was due to the excessively degree of skin exposure. While he can understand it from the marketing point of view, he seems a bit uncomfortable because the focus is more on the appearance than the essence of the movie somehow. “From the beginning of the relationship, from the starting point, it seems immoral because these two people should never meet in this world. It’s a love between a man who has a wife and a woman who has a husband. However, both of them can do nothing but handle the weigh of this dangerous love that gives them pain. In this narrow situation that goes up to the end of the knife, they confirm each other’s feelings and succomb.”

The movie takes place in the 1960’s. With the army official residence as the main background, Song Seung Hun in his uniform attire perfectly matches his character. It’s a character that can be cheered by female fans as he came to aim this masculinity. Just like almost finishing up a difficult task, will he jump over hurdles at some point, didn’t he jump over a hurdle today? “I think I lacked flexibility in the roles I chose so far. The “I should/will it work” or “I shouldn’t/ it won’t work” was a big and firm limit for me. Should I say that “Obsessed” broadened the range of my roles choices in many aspects…? I think I have no particular protection that I would have prepared. I’m talking about not being really afraid of things.”

He tended to always receive love for each project, he can’t know yet if the audience will give him sweet candies after the movie is released. Just like Song Seung Hun trusted himself, isn’t it the time for the audience to trust his choice too? Constantly considered as an OK actor and as his name went up to the number 1 of the offers list, there was a lack of roles showing properly Song Seung Hun to the point you could count them on one hand. With “Obsessed” as the starting point, he’s currently observing himself and discreetly holds his breath. The bruise he received because of his projects and the break through a part of himself who is intact [?].

“I think acting is a form of art that has no limit. There’s nothing fixed, there’s no rule you must follow. Can I say the actor competes against himself? Eventually, if you don’t get caught in the trap you created, it’s all about trying out.” If Song Seung Hun intensely went back and forth between hope and despair when he was in his 20’s, the Song Seung Hun in his 30’s seems to be unfolding the intangible guide whose only aim is to be an actor. His current project is the valuable chance to meet his next project. He’s loyal to his present in order to create this opportunity. It feels like actor Song Seung Hun and the man Song Seung Hun will meet at some point and become one after they go back to the turning point over and over again.

“Time buries fashion style or fame. Trends must pass for new ones to come along. Stars are born around us all the time. In the end, I think that the emotion you convey is what moves people’s hearts. I think acting is about conveying the most perfect emotion when you express yourself with every fiber of your body. I want this hot steam to keep going for a long time.”

Original article: Marie Claire
Translation: @onesunnylady

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