[July 2010 – GQ] Song Chang Ui – Going Slow – Interview

GQ - Song Chang Ui

You’re like a church oppa.

Haha. I do go to church.

So, church oppa. Isn’t the way you look a drag in your life?

Instead of saying that it was a drag, I’d say that I can’t perfectly carry my own style as an actor. However, I came to the conclusion that there are many good aspects about it too. I have nothing else but that. If I don’t own it, what I’m supposed to do?

Your looks must be making dating easy for you.

I can’t date these days. You probably don’t know, but I can date because I take a break once in a while.

The biggest church oppas give up on dating and don’t date at all, so… What is a sexy woman in your eyes?

Instead of a woman you find sexy as soon as you see her, I like the opposite better. There’s a charm to women you struggle to talk to, that are hard to approach.

Talking about stuff like this isn’t something you dislike, right?

To be honest, women like this are just pleasant to look at for me. It’s not the kind of woman I like.

Why did you get cast to play Tae Sub in the drama “Life is Beautiful”?

I heard writer Kim Soo Hyun saw Lee Sang Yoon and me in the drama “Scales of Providence” and that’s why we both got a role. I couldn’t even imagine that my role would be a gay character. Who would have anticipated it? I decided to do it because I felt like this kind of role wouldn’t come around twice.

Did you think you were good for the role?

I started making some resolutions at some point. Like not checking the internet while I was shooting the drama, this role would be the talk of the town. When shooting such a long drama, my image as an actor was also something I had to think of because I can become ridiculous when I don’t match the role, when I don’t pull it off, when I don’t get into it. I worried a lot, but I feel like half of the burden was taken away because many people unexpectedly opened their hearts.

Tae Sub made his coming out. You must have been more at ease in real life too.

True. It happened in episode 20, so something feels a bit more at ease since then. To be honest, when we rehearsed the crying scene when he’s on the floor and grabs his father’s leg, all the actors at the reading session were crying together. The writer said she was the first time she saw actors crying like that during a reading session. When we actually shot the scene, it wasn’t as much as when we first read the scene.

This scene… I had the feeling that every actor tried to match the “Kim Soo Hyun style” dialogue tone in the beginning. I thought you were the one showing your own acting.

Hm… I think you’re right. It can be because of Tae Sub’s role itself. However, compared to the beginning, I think many things melted. The writer and the director tried to match Tae Sub and Kyung Soo to the actors playing them. As in instead of making requests, they believed in me and turned me into Tae Sub as time went by.

Aren’t things a bit awkward with Lee Sang Woo who plays Kyung Soo?

Instead of saying it’s awkward… What should I say? We trust each other about the way we are portraying these gay characters, we care about each other… That’s why we’re also trying to establish a sense of distance somehow.

Did you find things worth to imitate in order to portray a gay character?

Of course, acting is imitation. Still, my acting right now isn’t based on imitating someone. My approach for portraying this gay character is my understanding of Tae Sub’s feelings and emotions. I talked a lot with Lee Sang Wo about the way to adjust the level of affection. People who watch must be at ease, so we can’t make it burning/passionate.

Did you become an actor who can now pick the roles he wants?

No. I don’t think I’ve shown a wide range of acting. For instance, I should try a comic role in order to get offered other comic roles, right? Since no one has seen my comedy acting, I don’t get offered a lot of roles like that. Still, I don’t feel the obligation that I must try some kind of roles because it’s a standard.

How about musicals? I feel like you do musicals while you’re taking a break from dramas.

When this interview is over, I will go to a meeting with musicals producers. I read the synopsis and I think it’s a nice project, so I’m planning to do it. However, do people usually live while having a strong strategy about what they do? I see as far as the things right in front of me. As you probably know, the most important thing is to do the things you want to do. While doing things this way, I have my own vision and my own direction, but it’s not like I’m moving forward while following a strong strategy.

I was planning to ask you who your rival was. I feel like you have an answer.

It’s a competition with myself. It’s very childish to think that it’s a competion to defeat someone else. While portraying Tae Sub, I thought a lot that I had to control myself. It’s not a role I chose because I wanted to become an actor that no one could dominate. It’s a choice I made because me playing this role is because I’m trying to defeat the me who wanted to reject it. I think it’s the only way to remain aloof when you act. To be honest, I cannot not worry at all about competiting with others. I just acknowlege it as I keep following my own path.

Who gives you such worries?

Well, let’s just say they are people like that.

So what comparison would you make between the Song Chang Ui in a dram and the Song Chang Ui in a movie ?

“Boys Don’t Cry” wasn’t a box-office hit. It was my first time being a lead character, but I don’t want to give a good grade to my acting. This movie premiered three years after we shot it. Most of of the scenes I did took place during the teen years of my character. Acting a teenager itself was hard. I think I couldn’t really portray the emotions or the speech of a boy. It should have been less imitation, right? However, what is a movie that does well nowadays?

Strong movies?

I think you’re right. I saw the movie “The Servant”. I think it will do well. More because there are many things that make it worth to watch than because of the bed scenes. I want to try to shoot movies in the future.

Being good only at acting must be everything for a celebrity, is it okay to say so?

The number of actors who are sensitive about what people say about them or about being an issue is less than you think. Is being an actor such an amazing job? For instance, while I’m shooting this drama, I often hear “is Song Chang Ui really gay?”. I don’t care. That’s because I have a category for things I think and worry about and such talk just don’t fall into this category. To me, I think that except for when I’m in front of a camera, when I’m on a screen, when I’m on a stage, I’m not an actor. I’m an ordinary person.

Even if you can think like this, there must a lot of restrictions. You’ve been acting for 9 years. Are there times when you get the feeling that you can’t do more?

Many times. Of course, it can be because I’m not satisfied with my acting, because the project turned bad, because I got eliminated from the casting…

You can do nothing but put up with it…

Of course. Still, I have no thought of giving up.

Don’t you get angry?

Do I seem to be such a playboy? I’m used to endure things. When I get angry, I can’t justify it. I’m a sensitive person, so even if I don’t know if it’d be work-related, I just endure it. When you get angry, you always cause harm. When you get angry and say the right things, people gossip about you, your image gets damaged, and people hate you.

There must be people you hate.

I really hate people who pretend to be something they’re not. I hate people with a poker face. I just like easygoing and honest peole. I don’t really like people making a big deal out of everything either. It’s exhausting to match them when we see each other.

What are you like when you drink alcohol?

I become reckless as I talk much more and louder too. I kind of have some sort of emotional highs and lows, so it gets more severe and when my mood is “up”, I can hug people and do stuff like this.

Is this the real you?

It is. The one I am when I drink is the real me. That’s why people who can drink well have a charm. Even if they become completely different when they drink, I am comprehensive. Of course, it’s not about stuff like turning into a dog…

You’re a pitcher in a celebrity baseball team, so how would you describe your pitches?

They’re all fastballs. I’m not a pro, but I just throw fastballs. Baseball is my favorite sport. People who like soccer ask what kind of sports baseball is, but isn’t it more interesting instead of running all the time? I like wearing a uniform and running.

Baseball aside, is there something you want to do in a summer evening?

To be honest, I kind of have itchy feet. It often happens that I go to Jeongdongjin because I’m by myself. I’m a regular at the pojangmachas over there. When you go to the Jeongdongjin area, aren’t there a railroad and the Sun Cruise boat? It’s toward the end of the breakwater. It really makes me feel happy when I go there. On a summer night, when the weather is ice, I feel like I’m going to the sea. It’d be nice to have a glass of soju with a dish of sliced raw fish.

Is “Life is Beautiful” your best project?

The most important is what is ahead of me. Instead of selecting different things to reach a goal, I think that if I’m good at the things right in front of me, there can be a masterpiece. So right now, it is the best project for me.

GQ 2
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


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