[January 2015 – Marie Claire] Byun Yo Han – Interview


Marie Claire - Byun Yo Han

A picture of the Misaeng team having a huisik [t/n: it’s a drinking party between co-workers] was revealed. It really seemed to be a true huisik. (laugh)

We don’t call ourselves by our real names when we’re on the set. We say “Assistant Manager”, “Team Leader”. Even when we meet outside, we talk like this. (laugh)

Many actors began working earlier than the rest of other people, but they don’t get that much experience of working at an office. It seems that shooting this drama gives you the indirect experience of the company life?

I had never thought about the company life. So while shooting “Misaeng”, I paid attention to what office workers said even when I was at the coffee shop. Even when I meet my friends who work in companies now, I have much respect for them and I think they’re awesome.

If you were not an actor, do you think you’d be a good office worker?

I think I’d do well. (laugh) However, I wouldn’t be like Han Suk Yool. I’d work like a regular employee. I’m really shy in real life, I’m a bit of an introvert. That’s why I felt how different Han Suk Yool was from me. He’s a character I portrayed, so it was burdensome for me. When I was reading the script, it kept bugging me how he was pretending to be nice, so when I put the script down, I said to myself “ah, how am I supposed to do this?”. (laugh) I was very ashamed, I was very embarrassed. I wondered a lot if I could pull it off. And I realized that he got my affection. That’s why I tried to understand him when I read the script again. I thought then “he’s not just an immature guy”. At some point, I even felt some sympathy. I think I found myself loving him quite a lot.

Han Suk Yool is a character that you end up liking. And many people will be sad when the drama is over.

There’s not much filming left, so when I go to the set, my heart breaks a little. I cried a lot today too because I feel like I’m saying goodbye to Han Suk Yool. The “Misaeng” filming time is passing by like a panorama. I feel like I already miss my bob-haired days and when I flew around in the beginning. It seems that I’ll really miss the people I worked with. I’m worried about that. Now that we’re in the last stage of filming, we all cried a lot because we shot emotional scenes. I’m pretty sure the viewers will feel the truth about these scenes. Because it was sincere. During the second part of filming, watching just Jang Geu Rae is heartbreaking for me. It wasn’t like that when there was antagonism between us in the beginning. At some point, I came to think “I want to protect him, I want to give him strength, I want to tease him and pester him because he’s cute”. However, he (Im Siwan) is shooting many emotional scenes these days, so we don’t really joke around like before. I just squeeze his shoulder. And then we get to talk on the phone when we’re home.

There are 4 young co-workers in the drama. How close are you in real life?

We’re very close. The sunbaenims also said they’d never seen such a good atmosphere on a drama set. I think we wouldn’t stick together like this if we had met in an other drama and just played characters and not “sibling” characters. Even if it was just one person, whenever this person hurt, we’d take care of it. It wasn’t because it was the right thing to do, we did it because we really cared, so it just came naturally to us. They’re so kind. When we act together, we can know each other. You get to feel how sincere this person is. I met genuine people through “Misaeng”.

As an actor, what did you gain with “Misaeng”?

I came to wanting to give myself compliments. I think I need to in order to act for a long time. I think I wasn’t indulgent with myself until now. Because of my greed as an actor, I worked so hard that I even shot three or four movies in a year. There were even times when I was truly hurt when I saw the result. I tried to live by thinking just about my goal or my ambition and it was so hard. Besides acting, I felt that I didn’t go through any significant growth. I thought to myself that there will be many things I must free myself from, that I will get hurt again, I will suffer, I will feel lonely, so I will live more as a human being. With “Misaeng”, I went forward and I survived. It taught me that I can understand and be happy with a role.

Before “Misaeng”, you shot many indie films. You were even called the “Indie film Song Joong Ki”. When you received the indie film star award for “Social Phobia”, I remember how you said that doing indie films taught you how to do your best. Do you think you will keep doing indie films?

Of course! I know the force of indie films. It’s the heart coming from its creators who love the film. Every time I see it, I think about the way to be an actor. In the end, it can be common and short to say this, but it’s about doing your best. Things can get done because people work together and do their best. This is what I want to do in the future.

To sum up Han Suk Yool in one word, we can say he’s the “idealist who steps into the real world”. Do you think of yourself as an idealist or a realist?

When you listen to the stories of office workers, there are many people like “Manager Sung” who break the hoobaes at a company, but I found out there are also many people like Han Suk Yool. When the frustration is too much, Han Suk Yool closes his mouth and his ears. I think there are many people like that. They lose their personality step by step and become indifferent. However, I think I’ll always be closer to an idealist. I still have many dreams. It’s not about “I want to reach this position, I want to become this”. I’m thinking a lot about everything I have to learn and figure out about acting.

If you make a comparison with the ranking status in a company between the employee and the assistant manager, which status do you think you’ve reached now in the acting world?

I think I’m filling in the application form. I’m currently preparing to go to the interview. I think I didn’t get promoted, but the audience is watching over me. If they see my acting and want to see my next project, they’ll tell me to come and take the interview. (laugh) If I’m recognized as someone who truly loves and enjoys acting, I will be the finalist who succeeds in the end. If so, I’ll be able to wear the “actor” title.

Which kind of actor do you hope to become?

It’s something I say in every interview. I want to become an actor Korea needs. I want to hear that this movie definitely needs the actor called Byun Yo Han. I want to do romantic comedies, thrillers, family movies, sports, action movies. There are many things I want to do. I really love acting, and I hate it too. (laugh) The whole process is very hard, but I think it’s so much fun to get hooked [?] and go out there.

How will you remember 2014?

It’s a year that gave me strength. When I got exhausted after living hard, when I liked acting less than I do today, I think that if I look at this drama, my strength will come back. It’s reassuring like taking medecine early just in case you’d get hurt.

Original article: Marie Claire
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.com


6 Comments Add yours

  1. jandoe says:

    You translated this! AWWW I love you for this, thank soooo much 🙂 It is so, so great to get to know him as the actor/person. I luff him already, definitely hope to see him more in future!

    1. onesunnylady says:

      i hope “misaeng” will be his breakthrough to do more dramas with bigger roles.

  2. Tampa21 says:

    Thanks so much for translation 🙂 I really admire Yohan these days

    1. onesunnylady says:

      Thank you 🙂

  3. 220cm says:

    Thanks so much for translating this!

    I hope his wish to be “an actor Korea needs” comes true over time (:

    1. onesunnylady says:

      “Misaeng” definitely helped to put his name out there so it’s his chance now to really go mainstream. he does have potential.

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