[February 2015 – Cosmopolitan] The three “Misaeng” assistant managers – Interview

Cosmo - Misaeng (2)

Kim Dae Myung – Assistant Manager Kim

What was your take on Assistant Manager Kim to portray him? How did you understand him?

I didn’t want to get to the “how” conclusion. He’s an ordinary man you could find around you. That’s why I needed to look solid. Just like in the webtoon, he’s a reliable and gentle character. When he gets mad, he’s mad and when he cusses, he cusses loud, when he has fun, he has fun. Later on, Assistant Manager Kim quits the company and he joins a small business, but I don’t think he did it just out loyalty toward Team Leader Oh and Jang Geurae. I think he does it for his own happiness. That’s why there was something that my acting couldn’t show it just through my tone. I worried a lot to make this 2D character turn into a three-dimensional character.

What was the hardest thing about portraying Assistant Manager Kim?

My biggest problem was how big of a gap there was with reality. “Misaeng” is a drama that is close to a documentary. They are characters the viewers can feel close to right away. As you watch the drama, you can go “don’t do it like this” and that’s what makes it a drama like a fantasy. That’s why I practiced even the details. I interviewed a lot of my friends who work at companies. For instance, I practiced to say “hello, Kim Dong Sik of One International’s Sales Team 3” in one breath just like someone who has been doing it for 7 or 8 years. Things like how to talk to the director, if I was supposed to stand up or sit to greet him, if it was okay to be sitting to greet the manager, I asked about them and practiced.

Jeon Suk Ho – Assistant Manager Ha

How did you understand Assistant Manager Ha?

I wondered if someone like him truly existed. He wasn’t the villain like people said he was. He’s only one character among various true characters.
I had to have my own sense of validity and logic in order to understand this character before I portrayed him. I thought it wouldn’t work if I thought that this character was evil. Assistant Manager Ha has his own way to face his hoobaes. It’s not that he purposely bully Ahn Young Yi. That’s why his attitude doesn’t change completely even after acknowledging her. He just gave her recognition.

How would you react if a hoobae like Ahn Young Yi would try to surpass you?

I think we’d have a good relationship of rivalry. I think it’s a mix between excessive humility to lower your posture and arrogance. If there’s something to learn, this point is enough and it must be overcome because the two of us must do well in order to move forward together and not be a burden for each other. If the hoobae is smart, if he/she brings it on, then you must compete with this winning mindset.

Tae In Ho – Assistant Manager Sung

What was your first impression of Assistant Manager Sung when you read the script?

“Does someone like him really exist?” is the thing I thought about the most. He’s the “Misaeng” character who expresses himself in the most exaggerating way because he has no confrontation with other characters, he only goes against Han Seok Yul and has a nasty attitude toward him. The thing I was curious about more than anything was to portray him is how to make Assistant Manager Sung shines because there seems to be a gap with reality. I started filming during episode 5 and starting from episode 7 and 8, many people told me that he was the character that was the closest to reality. Hearing that, I realized how the office life is so much harder than what I had thought. And in the second half of the drama, I was determined to be even better. As I checked the negative comments about Assistant Manager Sung, I said to myself that the office employees must have released some stress by writing these negative comments.

So what is a good superior?

As I looked at Sales Team 3, I had this “ah, there’s really something keeping these people together”. I hope we showed many aspects of the real office life, like the friendship within a team. I hope that “Misaeng” brings awareness, that people will see Assistant Manager Sung and change a little as they wonder “do I have the same behavior?”.

Interview: Cosmopolitan
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


2 Comments Add yours

  1. chi says:

    thanks so much for the translation! Misaeng is such a formidable drama, it is interesting to read what the actors have to say about it.

    1. 1sunnylady says:

      “Misaeng” gives me so much feels even a year later. That’s why I ended up translated these itws, although the drama had already finished airing 😀

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