[November 2013 – Allure ] Jo Dong Hyuk, the man – Interview

Allure - Jo Dong Hyuk


“The man, Jo Dong Hyuk”, how do you feel when you hear these words?

I want to ask “why?” because I’m really curious about what makes you think that.

Because this image comes to mind when we talk about you. On the set of “Beating Hearts”, you expressed your disagreement when you disagreed with something, this thought got stronger when we saw you like this. At some extent, wasn’t it for the team?

I think the lack of communication was the biggest problem. It was like “don’t think and just do what you’re told”. I coudn’t understand because we were constantly in these impossible situations. However, I didn’t know it would come out because Won Joong-hyung is a nice guy and all the dongsaengs are nice too. I told myself that I should speak up, even if it’s just for me.

You’re not expressing a regret, are you?

I’m not. I don’t regret it. Thankfully, all the misunderstandings were cleared and I was able to do a better job during filming. The situation was that we had kept fighting for two days. After talking it out, everything got better. I think it was a good thing for everybody.

There are times when someone just has to step up for others. However, here everything is caught on camera.

Indeed. I’m usually not someone who interferes. I like being quiet… Right. Broadcasting makes it stay for a long time. I have no regret, though.

Your heart must be beating hard during filming. How do you feel when you’re on the set?

My heart beats hard. It beats hard when I hear the sirens and it’s time to get to work.Especially for fires. Of course, every setting is important and is hard, but… Do you know this? Each siren has a different sound. There’s a siren sound for fires, there’s one for rescue, one for emergency… They’re all different.

You’ve spent so much time doing this that you’ve become a real firefigther. This is nice to see.

When I hear the fire siren, it goes straight to my heart. You can hear the radio in the fire truck. We don’t really recognize them, but firefighters do right away. There are many times when they listen to the radio message and they could just go without their fire suits and come back. Yet, when they put on quickly their fire suits, you think “somthing really bad happened”. From that moment, my heart beats hard.

You must be able to handle situations of emergency now?

You shouldn’t do a hasty intervention. It’s the rule. However, when there’s no one but me and there’s an urgent situation to deal with, I must do it. To be honest, while filming “Beating Hearts”, this was the most important rule. No one should get hurt because of us. I’m really careful during this filming.

What did you feel or what kind of expectation did you have when you were offered to join the program?

Korea doesn’t give enough spotlight to firefigthers compared to the importance they represent for us. We see them a lot in movies, but there aren’t many people who think “firefighters really have a hard time, it’s an awesome job”. It’s a very respected job in the US. I wanted to know about this job and and I wanted to let people know about it. And I also wanted to try something I had never done before.

When you said you had a hard time, it sometimes feels like you might have regrets.

Now that I have actually experienced what it is, the only thing I have in mind is that I hope this program will be a way for firefighters to get a better treatment. Even if it’s just little. I’m filming with this earnest mindset.

What is the thing you find the most unfortunate?

It’s always a war. Like for the fire suits, firefighter squads don’t have the same suits. In one word, each neighborhood’s suit is different. Wearing better suits for any situation would be better. Fire burns the same way wherever it is, right? Soldiers and policemen get a discount when they go to a park or an amusement parks, but firefigthers don’t. I want to change things like this.

You’ve really become a firefighter! You probably hear it from other people a lot, right?

It’s a bit embarrasing, but I think I do. As we go all around the country for filming, we keep changing fire stations. I’m a bit nervous and impatient for what’s to come. I’ll start filming a drama soon, so we’re in talks to see if I can film both projects.

The filming of “Inspiring Generation” started. We know it takes place in Shanghai in the 1930’s. What can you tell us about this drama?

The final script came out not long ago. I play a Japanese character. I use a sword. I think it’s a drama that will have a lot to show. That’s why filming will take long and will probably be hard. I do think it will probably be fun because there will be many highlights.

What do you think of your character?

It’s a man who quietly stands there with his sword. Always.

Is he cynical?

I think I’ll have to portray him so he doesn’t look cynical. Speaking quietly, making it look like he’s hiding something because he’s supposed to be the best sword fighter in Japan. As soon as he appears in episode 2 or 3, he kills three or four men. I’m still thinking about the way to portray him. However, I don’t think he’s a bad character.

It’s been a while since you’ve filmed a drama, so you must be impatient to start?

When I film a project, I feel many emotions and I learn a lot. However, there’s a sad side to it. I actually wanted to try something different because I’ve already portrayed many characters with decent clothes like doctors or directors. How to say this? I wanted to find my own style. That’s why I’m making a lot of efforts. I wanted to show a masculine image a bit more appealing when I said I’d try to be a firefighter.

Do you think we haven’t been able to see your real style all this time?

I want to be a little bit more comfortable with my acting, but the job itself is about being comfortable with your acting. We feel completely different when we wear a suit or when we wear jeans. It’s the same with acting. I want to feel comfortable with my acting just like when I feel comfortable when I’m wearing jeans, but I often only wear suits.

Anyone would say that’s because you look great in suits!

Haha. That’s why I wore jeans to come here. I really feel comfortable. I want to do things a little bit more like this. If I do, I think people who see me will say “ah, his is acting is getting better”. However, people say that my facial features also play a role in how I’m perceived because acting is different based on the way it’s done by someone who looks dull and someone who has strong looks. I look a bit strong, right?

Hm, you have a gentle gaze? Your little wrinkles when you smile are very beautiful. As they say, the eyes and the voice are very important for male actors.

True. I’m very gentle. And when I smile, my smile is big.

Your looks are different from a couple of years ago.

I tried to change my looks. I did some tanning, I really tried to control my weight. I think there are many things to do. Building up your body was popular back then. And I got caught up in all that at some point, but right now I work out just to stay in shape. Should we say that it gives a better human vibe? I think it’s better.

You were in a play, you didn’t decline being a firefighter, you also did camping. You’re a “greedy” actor, aren’t you? [t/n: greedy in a positive way as in he wants to try many things]

I am. I thought I wasn’t greedy, but I realized that I really am. It’s irrelevant to say this, but I’ve been going crazy lately because I want to play golf, even by myself. I think golf is a very difficult sport. An actor can get into his role when filming has to start. It can’t always go “How to show good acting? Ah, acting”. That’s why I’m always taking interest in something else. Actors find themselves spending more and more time alone as time goes by. Because I have a lot of time for myself, it’s hard for me if I’m not into something [to pass time].

Is it your way to find balance?

For “Beating Hearts”, if I had done it a few years back, I might have put up with things I didn’t agree on. I would have only do what I was told. However, I did what I wanted and that’s why everything started to clear up. When I was in middle school, my friends and I were all “hey, friends are life”. And this passionate feeling that I felt back then is what I feel for the rescue team and for my colleagues. I felt again that I had this kind of feeling inside.

How do you think you will remember this year?

Filming “Beating Hearts” made me feel that I have been living without taking time to think all these years. When I meet people as a firefighter and not as an entertainer or an actor, I think to myself “we really lead selfish lives”. I hate selfish people. That’s why I was very ashamed. I think this is what I felt this year.

Do you feel for the first time this carefreeness of someone who passed through youth with various changes?

Before, I thought I had to be friends with everyone, that I had to do things a certain way to show good acting. However, being like this… How can I put it? It made me feel emptier. And it’s something I’m very afraid of these days. I don’t really drink alcohol. Yet, I happened to drink like this because people would say “let’s have a drink, that’s the way to become friends”. I’m actually someone who doesn’t speak a lot, but I purposely tried to speak a lot. When I’m like that, it makes me feel hollow once I get home. I think “why am I living like this?”. That’s why I do things the way I want to now. And it makes me happy.

Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


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