You portray a boxer in your new movie. I think boxing is a sport based on instinct more than any other sport. Now that you’ve tried it, what’s your opinion?
First of all, it’s fun and it’s more exhausting than I thought. I think that it’s a sport you must try at least once when you’re a man. While I was preparing for the movie, I was told I had to strike for real, so I did a lot of sparring and the more I did it the more I felt some kind of delight.
This goes for “Always” directed by Song Il Gon, but when I look at the projects you’ve done until now, it seems that you enjoy gentle melo stories about pure love.
I like melo stories with a classic mood. My personality is the same. I hate complications and even when I love, I can love one person like crazy.
Is that the reason? Even if you make people laugh in variety programs like “Infinite Challenge”, you seem to always show one color. Should I call it a brown color?
Hm, brown color? It’s my first time hearing something like this? Do you mean it in a good way or in a bad way?
It means that you look cool because you manage to maintain one style and one tone. This might cause misunderstandings because people don’t know the real So Ji Sub and it can be burdensome for you.
I don’t force myself to change for the people who look at me. I’m not someone like that because it’s not what I can do and show.
You probably had thoughts that you want to break this image.
Yes, when I was a rookie, when I was young. People really had many misunderstandings about me. First of all, it was because I don’t speak when I meet people for the first time. When someone I was awkward with came, I just left. And since my eyesight is poor, when sunbaenims were around, I didn’t greet them. There were many misunderstandings that I was a rude bastard. That’s why I made great efforts to change. Like smiling a lot, talking a lot. But people around me told me to stop, they said I wasn’t being myself.
Do you like or do you hate the nickname “So Ganzi” [t/n: means So Cool]?
I really had a hard time when I heard it the first time. To the point I even hated stepping out of my house. Because I was worried, even when I went to the supermarket. There was no Twitter back then, but I couldn’t move because wherever I went, whatever I did, the internet went crazy in real-time. I wanted to get rid of this, so I purposely dressed in a sloppy way before going outside, I put on some weight. After a while, I found myself again and I was more at ease. Anyway, even now, I like it much better when I’m called by my name than when I’m called “So Ganzi”.
The words “So Ji Sub’s way” left a big impression on me. “It’s sad to listen to stuff that none of us want to hear about”.
That’s the way I feel lately. I hear a lot of stuff I don’t want to hear. Wouldn’t everything be exposed if all we did was to do nothing else but listening and seeing everything? I hate seeing and listening constantly, so I want to shut it out, but I can’t, so it gives me a lot of stress. I hope I could live without having to listen or see.
What image did you have when you were at your lowest?
I put on weight for four years to the point I even reached 85 kg. It was the first time of my life. I was overflowing with energy and it was great for many things. However, I couldn’t work because of this body, so I lost weight and to be honest, it’s a torture. I don’t really like this body. It’s good for the job I do, but I’m all groggy and I don’t feel like a man.
You recently released a hip-hop album and you made an unexpected appearance in “Infinite Challenge”, but it seemed that the meaning behind it was to see you as So Ji Sub and not you as a character.
There’s no big meaning. It’s just that I enjoy taking on new challenges. I really like hip-hop. It’s just something that I want to keep doing.
You’re thinking about releasing other hip-hop albums?
I will release them through a digital format.
Ah, is it something planned for soon?
I think I must prepare. I will try to make it more fun, cooler.
How about trying comedy? Don’t you think people would actually like you 100 times more?
It seems that they would. However, that’s not how it is. I realized that they enjoy something for a brief moment, then they want to see a different image after a while. Of course, I also like comedy or sitcoms. Even if it’s just a little, I don’t think my next project will be dark.
There are times when I’m jealous of actors because they don’t work all through the year like a salary man.
Ah, that’s never like that.
You mean you work all through the year?
I do work all through the year. When I don’t look like I am working, it’s actually when I’m busier. To the point, I’m actually more relaxed when I’m filming a project.
Rumors say you’re always at home, but it doesn’t look like it.
I’m almost never home. Of course, I enjoyed being by myself in the past, and I didn’t really enjoy meeting people. Same goes for speaking. However, it’s not the case now.
Is there a specific occasion that made you change?
If there’s one big difference, I think it’s that I do it now because I enjoy it.
It seems that this change is influenced by your age?
It might be because I’m getting older. What I’ve been thinking about lately is to forget the past and not to worry too much about the future. When you look around you, it’s like everyone is running toward their future, right? However if you ask them if they’re happy, they can’t really answer. If you’re not happy right now, can you really be happy five years, ten years from now? This thought made me change to make efforts to live enjoying the moment and be happy.
Have you ever thought about your own influence or your own strength?
I think about it. That’s the reason it became an habit for me to imagine everything starting from the worse situation when I work and I have a choice to make. If I make a mistake, my heart is ready to handle it.
Are you listening to what others say until you make a decision?
In the past, I,used to make almost every decision all by myself. No, even if someone talked to me, I didn’t listen. Right now, when I must find a common ground, I do discuss about it. If things go wrong, the situation can get worse, so I seek advice from people who are involved in the situation.
You’re a top star in Korea. You’re at the top, so it must be even twice scarier to make your next move.
That’s how I felt until recently. When I’m trying to make a choice, I think to myself “even if it’s hard, will it be okay once the project is over?”. I let go now. Because stressing myself to death won’t solve a thing. I think I end up working more because I hate worrying. I make a decision for my next project before the one I’m doing is over. It puts me at ease.
What thrills you the most? TV programs, sports, foreign actresses, any mere little thing is good, so if you could talk about one thing?
I don’t make it that way. If I keep talking about it, it might create misunderstandings, and that will be thrilling! I really can’t handle it.
So is there something you’re really into, acting aside?
I thought about it yesterday. Small things like having a drink with my friends, having fun and being happy when I do something, right? I actually have nothing like this. That’s why I became sad all of sudden. Even if it’s from now on, I’m trying to find what can make me happy.
I know you like photography.
I liked it.
And not anymore?
I wanted to take many pictures because I liked it, and I thought I was good at it, but there were many misunderstandings. I was asked to hold an exhibition and to take some pictures. It slowly turned into a job, so it was burdensomme and I put down my camera at some point. I wish stuff I like and enjoy wasn’t taken away from me.
What do you secretly enjoy to do when you’re by yourself?
I’m trying not to talk about stuff I like.
Saying there’s nothing you like, it sounds like you’re lonely. Are you lonely?
It always feels this way.
You will reach the stage of knowing how to enjoy loneliness.
Although I hate being alone, I must endure it, so I’d say it’s more about getting used to it than enjoying it. Think about how when you work on a set with a staff of 50, 100 people and go home when you’re all by yourself. This loneliness increased proportionally after I came back from Japan where I met about 5,000 to 10,000 people.
How do you put up with it?
In the past, when I wanted to talk, I’d talk a lot even while looking at a wall and the first thing I did when I went home was to turn on the TV. Because I wanted to hear the voice of someone. I mastered this skill now to the point I’m okay even if I don’t turn on the TV and I don’t speak.
How do you feel when you just wander around so drastically?
I keep emphasizing it, but I’m really changing. (smiles)
If you list stuff you want to do that come to your mind right away?
I want to go camping by myself. If I get a girlfriend, I want to walk around hand in hand like a regular couple. I want to spend time like ordinary people do.
Does it feel like being an actor is your calling?
I don’t think of it as my calling. I clearly enjoy doing this job, though.
Ah, you said that your dream was to create hotels.
Having a job and establishing your life is quite stressful. Hotel is what comes to my mind every time because creating my own space in my mind used to give me some peace of mind. Just thinking about it gives me comfort as if I’m in vacation.
Haven’t you earned enough money to start your hotel even now?
Not like this. It’s not as much as people think it is. Of course, being an actor is a job that makes me earn a lot of money. However, I started being popular with “Sorry, I Love You”. When I was about to get an income, it’s exactly when I went to the army.
I’ve been curious since earlier. Why did you get a tattoo on your arm?
I didn’t want to forget the dignified convinctions and dreams I have in my heart. Each pattern has a meaning. One of them is “I won’t change even if I’m born again”. It combines everything about me like hotel being my dream and my agency 51K. I did this diamond because I hope everything will last forever.
Are you a good judge of character?
I think it’s about being a match because you’re similar. However, you can’t judge people when you catch a glimpse of them.
Do you watch them for a long time?
People can stab you in the back even if you have been watching them for a long time and judging someone is hard when you look at them for a brief moment. It can only lead to misunderstandings.
Even if you’re really cautious, isn’t it hard for you to create friendships?
It is. I realized that I don’t give a lot of affection to people that feel like they will just pass by because I feel the need to watch them for a long time first.
So who’s the friend [t/n: the actual word used is “helper”] you trust the most?
First, I trust myself the most. Family aside, the person I’m the closest with is Seung Hun-hyung.
What do you like so much about Song Seung Hun?
He’s just like a real brother to me. He helped me a lot when I was going through a hard time. We can’t afford to have a fallout now. Because we share too many secrets that only the two of us know. Haha.
Working is something you do with other people. It’s even more the case when it comes to acting. What is the biggest realization you had about people lately?
When I thought I was friends with someone, my trust was unconditional. However, it always disappears in the end. I got betrayed like this a few times by people close to me. I realized that me trusting them in a one-sided way wasn’t important, I must trust to give and receive mutual trust.
Why don’t you do more interviews? You rush into it after a year.
Should I do even less interviews?
Doing interviews makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s an obligation when I’m done with a project. I do wonder if I should do one or two even when I have nothing going on.
When you hear the word “marriage”, what comes to your mind?
I have one image that comes to my mind right away. It’s not a frontal image, it’s an image from behind. The image of a family you see from behind. There’s my wife, there’s me and there’s a baby holding our hands as the three of us walk together. I want this dream to come true before I turn 40.
It’s better to do it fast if you’re going to do it. Think that you’ll be an old man when your kid is in college.
It’s something I pay absolutely no attention to. Because my number 1 is my wife, it’s not my kid. Kids feel like 20 years because once they become adults, I must go my own way. In the end, isn’t my wife the person I’ll be with for the rest of my life? However, when you ask to married people “who is your number 1?”, people who had kids always say their kid. It’s quite sad.
It can be briefly so because they care a lot about their baby.
No, it’s not brief, they’re really sincere. Of course, I really love babies too. However, I wished people would really think about it before they answer to this question.
Which kind of couple are you jealous of the most?
I’m the most jealous of the skinship silver-haired old couples show. Isn’t it a very rare sight in Korea? Because people get nervous about it even when they’re a bit old. I wish things were different. I will try my best to live this way if/when I get married.
Among the things you accomplished, is there one that makes you think “I really did a good a job”?
Becoming an actor. There are several reasons, but the biggest reason is that it gave me the ability to take care of my family. My father got cancer, if I didn’t have what I had, he could really have gone to Heaven. I’m so thankful and happy that he got enough strength to receive the treatment and to be healthy again.
Are you happy?
Hm, I’m happy. I realized that it’s something I must be. Me being happy is the priority and is important because I can share this happiness with the people around me. If you don’t have something, can you share it with others? So, yes, I’m happy.
You particularly talked a lot today, didn’t you?
I talked that much, didn’t I?
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com