[April 2015 – Marie Claire] Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Young Kwang – Two men in the picture – Interview

Marie Claire - Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Young Kwang

Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Young Kwang, they say they’re close. To the point to see each other 350 days out 365. With looks bringing attention even when they’re alone, they’re always together. They often gather with other men like Kim Woo Bin, Sung Bin [t/n: I think it’s a typo and they’re probably referring to Sung Joon], Hong Jong Hyun. In one word, isn’t it a serious waste of “fabulousness” as well as social imbalance? There’s a way for peers to naturally stick together when they work together. As they became closer while doing their modelling activities together, Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Young Kwang are now actors. Both of them had many changes in their careers and in their lives, but whenever they meet, the truth that they have a friend they’re comfortable with don’t change. And they decided that once they were both done filming their drama, they’d go to Hawaii together. It was a work-related trip, but once the photo shoot was over and the staff went back to Seoul, the two of them stayed in Hawaii and enjoyed a few days off.

Kim Young Kwang

We’ve known each other for so long, that we’re not awkward even when we don’t speak. When we were in Hawaii, we just walked around, we had a beer at night and we discussed this or that. You might think that two men taking a stroll together on the beach in the evening are a gay couple. One foreigner actually asked us if we were twins. I shouted “No!”. It was really nice to sit together on a surfboard and watch the raging waves and the horizon. Our skins were irritated from the sunburn, so we applied lotion on each other and when I looked in the mirror afterward, I said “wow, this really reminds me of old times”. I remembered the time when I didn’t know anything and I started working. We’ve really been working together like this for a long time since our modelling debut.

Lee Soo Hyuk

I started working when I was 17. Our debut show was exactly the same. At that time, it felt that we were rivals without being rivals. We’ve been dreaming together for a long time, and now we’re in a position to give interviews as actors. I think this might be the reason I feel even more a sense of responsibility. We talk about our desire to do better in our acting, when one of us sees a good movie, he recommends it to the other.

Kim Young Kwang

Once we were just the two of us in Hawaii, I kept coaxing him to try scuba diving. In the end, we weren’t able to because of the weather, but I had actually bought a GoPro camera for scuba diving. I took pictures while snorkeling, I also got a two-shots picture with the camera angle when we were eating. And we talked about doing productive work together in the future. We can film funny videos, we can study too. 2015 is our year of learning experiences.

Honestly, the vibe we got from Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Young Kwang was this “opposite attraction” vibe. Lee Soo Hyuk is cool and indifferent and Kim Young Kwang is lively and gentle, they carry a completely different charm. Lee Soo Hyuk’s expression don’t vary much, but whenever I think about Kim Young Kwang, the first thing that comes to my mind is his forever happy smiling face. While being completely the opposite in their voice tone or expressions, carrying different feelings, we get this refreshing feeling that they are true friends.

Kim Young Kwang

We often hear “it really looks like you two are not made to get along, so I don’t get how you became friends”. However, this is exactly the reason we’re close. We learn a lot from each other because we’re different from each other.

Lee Soo Hyuk

I don’t think we have a similar style either. We come from different backgrounds and we see things in a different way. That’s why when one of us doesn’t know something or have a narrow vision about something, he can understand it by looking at the other who thinks differently. Young Kwang-hyung kind of gives this “Daddy-Long-Legs” feeling. Like he’s a match for a first love, he really understands women? This has its charm, but it can be problematic too. I also think about stuff like this a lot these days. Now is the time for me to reduce the gap between the image I have and the direction I want to take with my career. At the end of the day, our career is to be people others use. I need to be cast in order to work, I must totally dedicate myself to the project, these are the things I perfectly understand now, so I’m trying to figure out now what is the best method for me to be used.

What I always feel during an interview is how actors are have a clearer understanding of the limits of their own image than the audience would think. It seems that Lee Soo Hyuk and Kim Young Kwang also wonder about how to use their charm and their image, about how to widen the spectrum of the characters they can play. Can we say it’s the process turning acting into a real job for them?

Lee Soo Hyuk

All this time, I’ve played much more characters with fantasy elements than ordinary characters. That’s why I had many worries like “am I an actor who can’t play regular people?”. Even when I dressed neatly and I had a hairstyle when not one single strand of hair was out of place because I thought it was the best image to match the character based on my understanding, I heard “Lee Soo Hyuk wants to look cool, he can’t let go even in this drama”. It was very embarrassing, but I think it was because I still I showed nothing as an actor. “Valid Love” came along at the time when I really wanted to play a role that could allow me to show the person that I am. When I started filming this drama, my goal with the director was to smash the Lee Soo Hyuk I had shown all this time. And during the filming process itself, there was a lot of adlibs because I got to act with this natural image more than this organized and prepared image. Through “Valid Love”, I really gained some confidence about being more comfortable in front of the camera. This drama made me think that I’ll do much better for my next role, regardless if I get to play a fantasy character or a regular person, so I’m very thankful for this drama.

Kim Young Kwang

I had a lot of “what is the right thing for me to do?” thoughts. It’s only fair to be charismatic as soon as you appear. Men have a simple way of thinking, so they think they must look cool, they think they must be cool. (laugh) I have my own principles and I think I have this fantasy about the noir genre where there are characters that sacrifice themselves in the name of their principles. I’d like to try to play this kind of masculine character at least once. However, I like having fun, so I think people think of me as someone bright and lively. I think this is what makes me able to try to create funny characters that can only be played by me. I really like Jung Jae Yougn-sunbaenim. He’s an actor who can show at the same time this reliable and charismatic image as well as a comic side. Ever since I was a kid, I always thought it’d be nice to age gracefully. Now, I also think it’d be nice if seeing me could bring people happiness.

There are many things they want to do, many places they must go to. As actors, there are still many things they want to prove. As many efforts and patience will be required to reach their ultimate destination, they chose a path where one can question if there’s even such a thing as an ultimate destination. Still, they have a good friend by their side to walk down that road together.

Marie Claire
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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5 Comments

    1. Thank you for commenting 😀 The beginning for me was “White Christmas”. I never thought they’d have big careers back then… Oh, little did I know haha. I’m happy for them ^^. Still waiting for that one drama/movie that will bring all of them together.

      1. Yes…a reunion drama or movie with all five would be awesome! I’d even be thrilled with a Running Man appearance with all five (side note: can’t wait for KWB, LJH, KHN and LYB’s upcoming RM episode for Twenty promo)! Hahaha…I don’t think the FIVE’s fans are too picky. We just love seeing them together. I always watch White Christmas during my Winter Breaks; otherwise break feels incomplete if I don’t. 😀

  1. Hello! Thank you for sharing all these interviews. Yes, reunion of the five would be delightful.

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