Ten years after his meteoric rise starting with “My Lovely Kim Sam Soon” (2005, Daniel Henney is now a star. He starred in dramas such as “Spring Waltz”, “Fugitive Plan B” and movies like “Seducing Mr. Perfect”. After working overseas in the US, in China, he was also in the movie “Spy” released in 2013. This time, he takes on a new challenge for him : voice dubbing. He lent his voice to the brother of “Hiro”, the lead character of Disney animation movie “Big Hero 6”, as well as the robot doctor “Teddy”.
◆ First dubbing work, detailed expression complicated to create
– How was your audition for “Big Hero 6”?
▲ The audition lasted 2 hours. It was really hard because animation movies don’t have a scenario, the script just keeps going. They asked me to improvise for 20 minutes, so I did. It was really difficult. (smile) I’ve been a Disney movie fan since I was a kid. I loved “The Fox and The Hound” (1981) and I enjoyed watching “Frozen”, so I really wanted to try this.
– How was it to work with Disney?
▲ People were very nice. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a place where animation is created, but people have big gestures and speak with heartfelt sincerity like animation characters. It wasn’t just the people creating directly, the secretaries, the parking attendants, they all greeted me first and were caring. I had been contacted me and had been told the director wanted to see me. Despite being someone with a very high status, he treated me without showing any authority.
– Wasn’t dubbing acting hard?
▲ Any aspect of acting is still hard for me. However, I didn’t want to make a mistake and I really wanted to do well because I’m a Disney fan. I was a bit nervous and a bit scared before walking into the recording studio. I acted all by myself in a room with just one mic. The directors with a high status were watching me in the room in front of me. (smile) I tried my best to act like a kid and not think. It became more natural as time went by. On the other hand, since I was all by myself, I could let go of everything. One’s voice or behavior can change according to the discussion they’re having, so I tried my best to express the difference. I’m an only child, so it was a bit hard for me to express a warm friendly voice to the little brother.
– Is acting in English easier than it is in Korean?
I will always be more comfortable with acting in English anyway. When it comes to acting in Korean, I think I can do well if there isn’t too much emotional variation, but it’s still hard for me to show emotional acting. I usually mix Korean with English when I speak. My dog is a Korean dog, so I usually speak in Korean because she only understands Korean. (smiles)
– What’s the biggest priority for dubbing?
▲ Voice tone. This is also about conveying the story, but the character keeps moving, so it must shows also in the way he speaks.
– Is there a scene that was particularly hard to do?
▲ The scene where they test Robot Baymax. I didn’t have a partner reacting to what I did, so I was acting all by myself and the process of showing emotions was hard. That’s why I actually did run in the recording booth and I did jump around. I was doing crazy stuff like this. (smile) I had to do one line over again like 50 times. This scene alone took about 2 days to shoot.
◆ “I’m a Korean actor”, “I refused several times to play characters putting down Asian people”
– Do you have plans for Korean projects?
▲ I always do. I really want to do a Korean project. I do want to play a gentleman like my character in “My Lovely Kim Sam Soon”.
– How are you perceived in the US? Are you a Korean actor or a US actor?
▲ They usually see me as a Korean actor. When I go to an audition, they’re sometimes even surprised and tell me “your English is very good”. (smile). There are people who believe “despite being a Korean actor, you can clearly play a character in English”.
– Are you working more overseas than in Korea these days?
▲ Still, I’m a Korean actor. If it weren’t for “My Lovely Sam Soon”, I wouldn’t be here today. I was able to build a career thanks to Korea. I do hope Korea is proud of what I do and I also wait for US projects because I want to shoot the best projects over there too. I’m working hard. Hollywood makes me many offers, but I have the Korean actor’s pride, so there are also projects that I will never do.
– Projects you will never do?
▲ Asian characters are still limited. Asian characters from ten years ago or today are similar. Recently, I was offered a lead role of a TV show based on a popular movie. However, one of the reasons the original movie was famous was because it belittled the Asian character, like by using a specific accent when speaking English. I struggled to agree with things like this.
– Is your next project set?
▲ I auditionned for two movies not long ago, so I’m currently waiting to hear how it went. I hope I will be able to greet you through a good image.
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com