[Roundup] Nam Joo Hyuk talks about “School 2015”

Nam Joo Hyuk

So I will only focus on the answers because yes, I admit it, I’m too lazy to translate each sentence of description. I’ll give you the context when it’s necessary.

Newsen interview published on June 29th

About how high school students roles are still more comfortable for him

“If I get offered roles at the age when school uniform is the best look for me, shouldn’t I keep wear the uniform?”

About the reactions he got for his acting

“I think I definitely showed who Han Yi An was during the first half of broadcast. I had a lot of cheesy lines, so my friends told me a lot how cheesy it was and I also heard that I did well considering what I worried about.”

He isn’t satisfied with his acting, so he’d give himself 40 points out 100 for what he showed in “Who Are You?”. He’s determined to study hard and improve because many stars before him got their breakthrough with the “School” mini series.

About his casting

“After I finished “Surplus Princess” last year, I started taking acting lessons. I didn’t study for a few months. It was just about the challenge when I took the audition for “Who Are You?”. I got lucky. The director called me and we had 5 meetings. We talked a lot and I didn’t know if I had the role until the very day of the reading session. After the reading session, I got the role of Han Yi An.”

About his preparation to play a swimming athlete

He learned swimming only two months when he was a kid, but his already good sports skills helped him. “I’ve been playing basketball ever since I was a kid, so I’m in good shape and I like sports. Learning sports is like some kind of ability. I like things like this.”

About his shirtless scenes

“I play basketball often, so I think I showed you the best muscular body that I can have. I think it was my limit.”

About the reason he called his character and Gong Tae Kwang “loners”.

“Sleeping is the only thing Yook Sung Jae’s character does. Since my character is an athlete, he’s not seen often in the classroom. That’s why I got the impression they were two loners. The director called us the “dumb brothers” because we were always spacing out. We relied on each other and it gave us strength. (smiles)”

About his character and his vision of love

“It wasn’t 10 years, but I experienced unrequited love for 3 years. I wondered if liking someone for 10 years was possible only because he was Han Yi An. Wouldn’t it be exhausting?”

About why he prefers Lee Eun Bi over Eun Byul

“Go Eun Byul is very cool. Eun Bi is someone that makes you want to protect her, a girl you want to look after, you want to take care of. It’s probably because So Hyunie is a good actress, but I did think “I want to protect her”. However, for Go Eun Byul, the more I looked at her and the more I thought “she’d survive anywhere”. Right now, I want to play roles that go the best with my image. I want to wear a school uniform again. I want to play characters who experience sweet love. And I want to play good guys until the end. More than thinking about my next project, I think I must watch “Who Are You” and figure out my weaknesses to fix them. I’m planning to practice a bit more.”

Donga interview published on June 30th

About how Go Eun Byul is similar to his ex girlfriend

“I had a girlfriend I used to go to school and walk home with. We started dating in my 3rd year of middle school and we stayed together for 3 years. (smiles) She was cautious and very self-conscious. That’s why she was sometimes reluctant about being with me, but I always saw her off by riding the bus with her. I liked her so much that I couldn’t contact her after we broke up.”

About his relationship with his mom

“I’m an only child. I argued a lot with my mom during my school days, but I don’t know if it’s because I give her money now, but she’s always in a good mood. (smiles) I told her once that I’d buy her a house once I earn money. I feel like this dream will come true a bit faster than I thought which makes me even happier. I’ve been living on my own since last year. My mom worries a lot. That’s the reason I contact her more often and it’s nice.”

About his nice guy image

“Fans call me “the nation first love”. I can only be thankful for that. However, I don’t know how viewers looked at my acting. I do feel like there were more negative comments than positive ones, but getting such title will come along when I can really show my charm. I don’t want to do something in particular to become this “nation first love”.”

Abour playing a lead role

“The “School” franchise itself is well-known. The pressure was big. I wondered if I’d be able to do well like the sunbaes before me. However, around the middle of filming, the only thing I had in mind was “will my acting be better?”. There was more and more interest about me and I feel like I must be careful about my words and my behavior. I’m trying to be more serious instead of showing an immature behavior even if it’s just a little.”

About how he wants to keep playing in high school romance

“I want to show the charm I have at my age. Like the high school student I played in Akdong Musician video. The role of a guy who loves only one woman and not a character who likes two sisters like in “Who Are You?”. There’s a lot of model turned actors. Each of them has a unique charm. I hope I will get more opportunities. I think I’m preparing myself to seize the right opportunity again.”

MBN interview published on July 3rd

About the pressure of being in a popular franchise

“The burden was big when “Who Are You” started because “School” is a series that many people know. Now that filming is over, I feel another kind of burden. I feel like people have other expectations now. I’m preparing myself to make up for the expectations they have.”

About his character Han Yi An

I didn’t really understand either how Han Yi An suddenly loves Lee Eun Bi. In the second half of the drama, Han Yi An is going through some kind of “mental breakdown” situation and acting was too much for me because I was struggling to understand him.”

As a 20-year old guy, he chooses Lee Eun Bi as his ideal type with no hesitation.

“If I were Han Yi An, I would have chosen Lee Eun Bi. Go Eun Byul “died”, lived on her own and came back. I’d want someone I can protect. And this is Lee Eun Bi.”

About his preparation because his character was a swimmer

“I learned how to swim for two months when I was in elementary school. Right before filming started, the only thing I did was to go to the swimming center 5 times. I like sports, so I think that’s why I learned fast.”

About imagining himself receiving an award for “Who Are You”

“I’ll be greedy if I receive rave reviews for “Who Are You” (laughs), but it’s something I never thought about,” he shyly answered.

The actor he wants to play with is Jo Jin Woong of “A Hard Day”. Edward Norton is the Hollywood actor he admires. Among actresses he’d like to work with, he chose Kim So Hyun.

“I want to work with Kim So Hyun again. Not with an unrealistic story of loving two sisters at the same time. I want to play a regular youth romance. That’s the only way I wouldn’t care if there’s a love triangle.”

About how he reacted to the wedding news of Park Soo Jin whom he had chosen as his ideal type

“She was only my ideal type. It wasn’t to the point of acting like Park Jin Young in “Your House”. It did hurt. After filming with So Hyunie, I had to hold my heart after hearing about this news,” he said with a bright smile.

About his military service plan

“I usually don’t check my emails. Two years ago, I carelessly checked my mail. At the end of page 1, there was the Military Manpower Administration signature. I opened the letter and it was my enlistment notification. If I had been late, I wouldn’t have read this email if it were 2 pages. I wouldn’t be here today. (smiles) I almost got drafted two years ago because I didn’t prepare. It’s fortunate that I’m able to be here today. First of all, I’ll postpone my enlistment for now and I’ll keep working.”

Starin Interview published on July 3rd

About the negative comments on his acting and how Yook Sung Jae who was the second lead got more recognition

“I accepted the hard truth. I will redeem myself by showing a better image.”

His profile states that his height is 187 cm, but he actually looks taller because of his broad shoulders and long legs. His height is an advantage for a model but can be a problem for an actor. Kim So Hyun is “short” so it made filming more “difficult” and he couldn’t slouch since the director pointed out being natural with each other was important. Nam Joo Hyuk acknowledged the fact that finding the right camera angle was difficult.

About the low ratings

“The drama didn’t get high viewer ratings, but it seems that it was talked about a lot. I think a lot of teenagers would have watched it, but it’s hard for them to watch TV at 10 pm. However, the reruns had high viewer ratings. I think a lot of people watched it through the streaming service. The SNS reactions were great. What was even better was the fact that mothers were interested in it. We were able to make an impression with the image of nice teenagers. It was to the point we were worried they’d be disappointed later on.”

About the controversy his casting as the lead created

“My youthfulness is my biggest strength,” he explained as he showed the ambition of a 20-year old to overcome this problem. His role model is Cha Seung Won. Althought they’re in the same agency, they can’t meet often, but when they do, Cha Seung Won always gives him advice.

About being an actor and still modelling

“I hate the idea of running after two things and losing them both in the end. Some people asked if I didn’t become famous too easily in such a short amount of time. It’s fair they ask because I was the lead guy in a drama in less than a year. It can be jealousy without being jealousy. I think the answer is to show them that I keep improving. I will go slowly at my own pace with the “there’s no royal road” mindset.”

Now that “Who Are You” is over, “it’s time for me to reorganize myself. I need time to watch myself. When I was a basketball player, I only saw the ring. I was desperate to put the ball into the ring. Right now, I feel like acting is this “ring”. All I’m thinking about is that I want to be recognized for my acting. You ask if I scored with “Who Are You”, I’d say I don’t know. Here’s what basketball taught me. You must practice and shoot the ball countless times in order to score just once. I think acting is the same. Now it’s time for me to polish my skills for my next project. I think I will show a shoot a bit better for my next project.”

Mydaily Interview published on July 4th

“Now that the drama is over, I’m currently watching again most of my scenes. There are many scenes I find embarrassing. To be honest, it’s a drama I feel very unsatified about acting wise. It was my first time playing the lead, but my acting was lacking a lot. Filming wasn’t easy either. I had little time to prepare because I rushed into it, but when I look back now, I do have some regrets. I could have done better. I’m very sorry that I didn’t bring Han Yi An to life in the way I should have.”

Despite not being satisfied with his acting and the pressure of being the lead guy for the first time, he did start feeling at ease around the 4th episode with his acting become a bit more stable. “Still, I think my self-confidence helped me a lot. When I was acting, I was able to work on my ability to adapt. I’m trying my best not to lose this feeling.”

About playing with Kim So Hyun as if he were facing two different persons to match Lee Eun Bi and Go Eun Byul

“I was confused too. Eun Byul disappeared and Eun Bi appeared. I thought it was Eun Byul and it wasn’t her. Meanwhile, I got injured and I could no longer swim. The confusion just went on. However, I think that’s why I was able to show Yi An’s emotions because I was truly confused in real life (smiles).”

About working with Kim So Hyun who is 5 years younger than him but who has been acting for 9 years

“It must have been exhausting for So Hyunie, but she didn’t show it at all. That’s why I felt like she was the nuna sometimes.”

About a past picture of his that resurfaced on the internet that brought up suspicion about him getting plastic surgery, he explained that he got braces during his 3rd year of high school and that’s why the picture looked weird.

“It’s just a picture that came out weird because of the angle. Personally, I think I looked cute.”

He’s starting to taste what acting feels like. When he played in “Surplus Princess” last year, “I wondered how it would feel to see myself on a screen when I show good acting. Now that I’m acting, it’s fun to me and I have ambition now. The ambition of doing better. I’m studying acting right now for my next project. Watching myself act makes me see where I’m lacking. Things like my pronunciation, diction, gaze. Ah, I’m still modelling. I want to keep modelling if it’s possible.”

Hankooki interview published on July 4th

About playing the lead guy a year after debuting in cable channel TV drama “Surplus Princess”

“A good opportunity was offered to me in very little time. It was exciting, but I felt more the worries and the pressure because I was lacking a lot compared to the role I was given. I wanted to do well, but it didn’t go as I wanted, so I was upset. However, this is just the start for me. I think I will get more opportunities in the future. I won’t just wait until these opportunities come to me, I must prepare without taking a break.”

About the viewer ratings going up with each episode

“The viewers ratings were low, but it kept rising with each episode and the reactions around me were nice too. It was amazing. It was my first time experiencing something like this. It gave me strength and that’s why I was able to keep acting. However, it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to be number 1 of our time slot.”

About how the process of Yi An going from loving Eun Byul to loving Eun Bi wasn’t smooth

“I didn’t know how to understand his feelings. The Eun Byul he thought was dead came back, but he didn’t say he was happy about it and he got angry. Personally I even thought “does Han Yi An have some anger management issues?”. I was confused just like my character who was in this confusion too.”

About how his acting skills are still lacking

“I can’t never be satisfied. I wasn’t confident about some of aspects of my acting. I feel like I showed this lacking image so I must fix this. This is what I say to myself.”

About Kim So Hyun’s professionalism

“She’s really a good actress. When we said our lines, she was so into the moment because she was caught up in sincerity. I asked her how she managed to be so good at crying and she said “I’m into the moment”. She often seemed tired because she couldn’t get enough sleep, but she never showed it and kept working hard. I think she’s a proud and charismatic girl. I felt many emotions.”

About Lee Eun Bi being his ideal type

“Eun Bi is a girl that I want to protect, but Eun Byul is a girl who can live well on her own.”

About his competitive mindset

“I don’t really like skipping stuff [?]. If someone criticizes me, I keep working hard until I can tell myself “will they say the same thing again next time?” Director Baek Sang Hoon understood his competitive mindset. “The director told me “do you know what acting is? Being in sync with your character. He knew that I had to be stimulated to do well. That’s why he told me these stimulating words.”

About how some people think he was a model first to become an actor

“I got offered good opportunities as soon as I debuted. That’s why I hear around me the question if I did modelling to become an actor. It’s absolutely not the case. Being a model was my dream ever since my 3rd year of middle school. This dream came true and now I have another dream. “Surplus Princess” is the turning point that made me think about acting. At that time, I accepted the role because the director wanted me to, but seeing the sunbaes acting made me wonder how I would look like on a screen. I wanted to see how I would like when I show good acting.”

About how he wants to take things slow and play young roles he can still play now

“I want to show the most charming image that I can show. After that, I want to play roles with a complete opposite image. I want to play a psychopath. If I show you suddenly a reversal image from the innocent and gentle guy, how different would it feel? This makes me even more impatient.”

T/n: you know there’s a writing problem when you had teasers like posters pointing out that the lead guy would end up with the lead girl, but lead guy admits in nearly every interview that he doesn’t get why he does end up with the girl in the end. Oh, School 2015, oh School 2015… * le sigh *

MBN via Nate, Starin via Nate, mydaily via Nate, hankooki via Nate, Newsen via Nate, donga via Nate

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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4 Comments

  1. Oh, thanks for this round-up, Sunny!! Such a treat! I am quite charmed by Nam Joo Hyuk, as you can tell! XD Love that he consistently sounds so earnest about improving himself and doing better, I’d definitely love to watch him do better as he takes on more roles. I’m surprised that he doesn’t have that much swim experience, he looked so convincing in the pool in S2015!!

    1. Jo So Hyang and Nam Ju Hyuk are probably the ones who did the most of interviews after “School 2015” ended. I thought Kim So Hyun would be everywhere… but she’s probably too busy with her movie filming. Besides, considering how the ending was criticized, it’d be probably awkward for her and Yook Sung Jae to find ways not to diss the drama but still tell the viewers what they want to hear “Eun Bi should have ended with Tae Kwang”… Lol the love storylines in this drama… I can only laugh about it now. I was team No One anyway, I’m just disappointed that the writers didn’t seem to bother to give proper explanations on how the whole exchange was possible at the orphanage and I wanted more of the Eun Byul/Eun Bi sisterhood… We had like 3 scenes? I guess the special effects cost a lot and took time to edit, so they settled for a few amount of scenes… but I don’t know. Like the fact Eun Byul “always wanted to study abroad”, but we don’t know what. And then we get just a card saying she’s coming back. I mean… lol okay teen love, teen angst, the feels. the end.

      1. Oh yes, there were quite a few weaknesses in S2015. I enjoyed it for the most part, though. I did think the ending was weaksauce and quite a cop-out by the writers, but I don’t regret watching the show. Which I now need to review. I’m about a third of the way through writing it – must get back to it! XD

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