[July 2015 – Sure] “High Society” Lee Sang Woo – Interview

Sure - Lee Sang Woo

Since the end of the drama “Feast of Gods”, it’s your first interview with “Sure” in 3 years.

I’m not quite different from the shy guy I was back then. I feel like one’s lifetime is very short. I’m even now an expert of this kind of photo shoot. I improved little by little, but I feel like the process took a very long time. I’m not completely comfortable with what I always do.

After the drama “Glorious Days”, you took a break for more than half-a-year. Some people would go on a trip during a break. What did you during that time?

I wanted to go to the US for a month or two. Borrow a car and go on a road trip all by myself. However, I wasn’t able to do it. When you keep filming one drama after the other, there are things you keep postponing because it seems that you do nothing if people don’t see you on TV. Time just flew by because I attended family gatherings or I went out with friends I couldn’t meet or with acquaintances of this industry. I used to have an hangover after enjoying a night out with my friends. I had no filming going on, so I could be comfortable [t/n = drink as much as he wants] and meet my friends for 2 months. Looking back now, it’s sad that I didn’t leave everything behind and just went on a trip.

Meanwhile you also held a fanmeeting in Japan. I saw what was posted on your blog. It was a very fun atmosphere.

Because there were singing and a talk session. Dancing is still hard for me. I must rehearse for a long time, but I can’t do all the things I want, either because I’m lazy, either because I don’t have the skills to do it.

The directing team of “High Society” is the same as the one of your previous drama “One Warm Word”. You said your role was a cameo, so I wondered if it wasn’t because there was some lingering feelings about your previous drama.

It’s the same writer and the same PD. Their take on the characters she writes is very realistic. That goes also for Jang Kyung Joon. The dialogues are clean. I enjoyed filming “One Warm Word”. They offered me this cameo. It was before my next project, so I had no reason not to do it.

To be honest, I hated your character in “One Warm Ward” so much that it made me want to change the channel. I was expecting you to play another kind of character after that.

It was a character a bit difficult to portray because it was an attempt to change the type of character I usually play. It was nice during the first half because I got to play a husband with a macho image after showing only the image of the man who takes care of women. Producers reacted positively to this image. I received many offers afterwards. Trying to change was a bit hard indeed.

However, your character of Seo Jae Woo in “Glorious Days” was dull compared to such expectations.

I was planning to take a break after “One Warm Word”, but I wasn’t able to because I started filming “Glorious Days” right after that. I started rehearsing a month before broadcast started and practiced my scenes, but I thought I didn’t prepare properly. I can’t say that I didn’t wonder if this wasn’t why I always portrayed similar characters. That’s why I took some time off to rest before my following project. However, I realized that taking a break to change that wasn’t the solution.

It’s not that the actresses you played with weren’t young, but Park Hyung Sik, Uee and other actors you worked with on “High Society” were very young. What did it change?

I still feel like a maknae because most of the projects I filmed were with sunbaenims with experience. The word sunbae means that you must take care of your young hoobaes and build a friendship with them. Compared to my age, I think me turning into this kind of sunbae is a bit of slow process. I’m still shy.

In the movies or dramas you watched recently, was there a role you wanted to play?

I saw “Mad Max” on the biggest screen at the Lotte World movie theater. Among the latest movies I watched, it’s one I enjoyed. I asked myself if I would have been able to play in a movie like this.

Do you aspire to play masculine roles?

I don’t. I don’t have such aspiration. However, there are characters I haven’t portrayed yet. I want to try to play a masculine and macho character. If I throw myself into it, won’t this type of roles come to me too? I have yet to find a role that I want to try after I read the scenario, though.

I don’t think actors usually feel this way.

Indeed. They choose project through a process lead by their agency. Because actors usually get cast because of their image. They check if you have the heart-warming image, the upright image, the sincere image and the offers come.

Do you worry a lot about the fact you play similar characters?

(now) I don’t. Such worries can have an influence on the hiatus I can take, but I decided at the end of the day that both situations are good. It’s good that I’m able to play characters that got me where I am today and if I get the opportunity to change, the door of a new acting potential will open for me.

If you count the roles you’ve portrayed, even the small ones, you’ve played close to 20 roles. When you’ve been working for a long time, it’s hard to maintain the passion you had when you debuted.

The passion you have for your job should never cool down. I don’t want it to happen. Ten years ago, I did many interviews for my first movie “Almost Love” and my second movie “Don’t Look Back” because I was a rookie. Now that I think about it today, I think that was when I realized what being madly passionate means. When I just look at my sunbaes, it’s nice to see how passionate they are rather than looking at people whose passion cooled down. I don’t want to make mechanical moves. Even if my roles are similar, I’m trying my best to keep a positive mindset a little bit more.

People get married when they’re ready to move to another stage of their lives. In an interview, you said you found babies cute, but you didn’t seem to dream that much about getting married.

I’ve been married 7 or 8 times in the dramas I’ve played so far. I even got slapped by my father-in-law while I was wearing a tuxedo… (smiles) I have no fantasy or expectation about marriage. I guess it’s probably because I did it many times [in dramas], but it doesn’t make me particularly enthusiastic.

Even a man as realistic as you thinks about it at some extent.

Hm… One’s inclination isn’t black or white. This is not being contradictory. Sometimes, I’m realistic about one thing and not when it comes to something else. As I live my life, what I hope, what I dream about, that’s the environment I’ve been living in. I think they turn to reality through this process.

So is there anything that makes you dream?

Well… Hm… I’m a very simple person. When I looked at things like a wide and nice bathroom and bright white towels, I was rasied in an average home, but it seems there were things I couldn’t have when I was a kid.

Is there something you can’t control yourself about?

Like the cigarettes I want to smoke when I’m on a set I think I can stop smoking. I didn’t particularly have a reason to quit until now. And I also had a game addiction. I got addicted and cut it off fast. I can control myself about almost everything.

Isn’t there a difference between going into your 30’s from your 20’s and going into your 40’s from your 30’s?

Going into my 30’s was an important turning point in my life. Until then, I had been living spending time with my friends, shooting pool or lazying around. When I was on a filming set, I was scared when the camera turned my way. I was awkward with people I didn’t know, so when filming was over, I’d leave fast to go and meet my friends. At that time, I came across the project “First Wives Club”. This drama changed my life.

You’re really a shy person! Even more than right now. (serious tone) Someone like this can’t make it in this industry.

Still, I have managed to come this far which is a blessing for me. I talked about it in a few interviews. At that time, Ahn Nae Sang-sunbaenim came to the SBS studios even on his days off and he made me rehearse. It lasted for about 9 or 10 months. His character had many lines. The time he should have spent reading the script for his role, he spent it teaching me. I could not not have done it. I got interested into studying acting. I can’t express how thankful I am.

What do you want to do within the years you have left in your 30’s?

Hm… I didn’t think about it. I’m the type to take life as it comes rather than do things I planned. I just go with the flow.

Work aside, what do you enjoy to do these days?

Ah, I have something similar to a segway and there’s one wheel. I have fun when I go around riding it. While wearing a hat and my sunglasses.

What’s your next project?

There’s a project I’m currently looking at. If I decide to do it, shooting will start soon.

Sure

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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2 Comments

  1. I know this interview is about Lee Sang Woo, but honestly, the thing that hit me the most reading this was, High Society was written by the same writer who wrote One Warm Word??? :O That’s so crazy! Coz One Warm Word was so careful and nuanced with the characterization, and High Society was so flat everyone felt like a caricature. I.. think I learned something today. I just need to figure out what! XD

    1. lol well, not every writer can write on any theme… Maybe the chaebol world with young adults wasn’t a setting the writer managed to work with? Are you watching LSW’s weekend drama with Eugene? I want to watch it, but weekend dramas are soooo generic and I just finished Make a Woman Cry”, so I’m going to wait a few months before another weekend drama.

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