You picked the word “Sunset” as a biker tattoo for this photo shoot. What’s the reason?
When I’m having a hard time or when I’m exhausted, looking at a sunset soothes me.
Is it an habit you got as you started working?
When things were hectic after I debuted. You know there’s this emotion a sunset gives you. I looked outside when the sun set down, it gave me comfort because it felt like time stopped. I wrote on my Instagram “today’s dish is a tasty sunset” wich a similar meaning to “tasty food gives me energy”. That’s why fans call me “Sunset Jun”. Haha.
There are many times when you don’t know well what you’re doing around your debut. Are you a little bit used to it now?
True. Right after my debut, although I was conscious of what I was doing, I was really out of my mind. Now I’m able to be aware of my surroundings as I tell myself “I’m on my way to do this. I managed to do that. It is already the evening.”
In September, it’s your second anniversary since your debut. Instead of doing things you didn’t know about in the past, aren’t there more things you find difficult now?
There are things I got used to after doing them a few times. However, the fact that the people I work with, the places, the contents are different, it’s not about getting used to it. I think it’s more that I figure out the fun it is more than before when it scared me.
“Hwajung” was your first attemps at sageuk. It was a good opportunity, but it must have been a lot of pressure. What was the reason that made you go “still, I must do it”?
Although it was stressful, I was greedy to play the role. Nobody had played the role of Hong Joo Won before. This character existed, but no one knows what kind of person he was and the only place you could find him was in the historical records, so I became ambitious as I thought “if I make him new, this will become [the representation of] Hong Joo Won” and I was determined to go for it.
In the beginning, there was a bit of a controversy about your acting skills.
It was really heated. If it was about giving off a regular vibe with “Cunning Single Lady” or “What’s With Family?”, the sageuk emotion itself is dramatic. I thought it was similar to the modern-day dramas and that’s how I acted. I monitored myself and I was the only one being so weird. I was very surprised seeing myself showing an acting different from the other actors!
Do you think you have improved now?
I think I’m better than I was in the beginning. However, I had this “this isn’t it, no matter what the drama is, if I do it a little bit more, I feel like it will work out” feeling. “Hwajung” is addictive.
Is there a project you are satisfied with?
The omnibus movie “I’m Sorry, I love you, Thank you” that is about to premiere. I haven’t seen the final edited version yet, but I portray some kind of cute rebel guy. If the director said “this part is a bit unfortunate, should we do it again?” as we watched my scenes, I’d also go “yes, I feel it’s a bit unfortunate too”. Working with the same mindset made it worth it.
You really have a nice gaze. When you were filming the variety program “A Match Made in Heaven 2”, your face was very close to the female contestants’ during the “wall move” segment and you didn’t even blink once. I thought this was a gaze only someone confident could have.
You won the prize if the heart rate of the girl went up. I asked myself how I should do it and I tried the wall move. However, Hani-nuna told me that even if it was just acting, my expression was scary.
She said it was scary, I wonder what she meants by that.
I don’t know what she meant. Was it a compliment or not?
You’ve been wearing the “yeonhanam” [t/n: a man younger than the woman in the relationship] title since your debut. It’s not the cute yeonhanam vibe, it’s the trustworthy/reliable yeonhanam vibe. I think it’s because of your gaze too.
I like being called yeonhanam. I was born in 1993, so that’s why I have the title now. As I’m getting older, I will natutally lose this title. I’m planning to enjoy it as long as I can.
How about playing the role of a yeonhanam with a lot of aegyo?
It would be nice because it would be completely different from my personality. I will keep playing trustworthy yeonhanams.
You were cast to play Baek In Ho in the webtoon adaptation pf “Cheese In The Trap”. Every announcement about the casting is a big issue.
I had a meeting with the director today. He said he thought about me since the planning stage.
What else did you hear?
That I seem to be very greedy/ambitious. To have a little bit more fun, to come to the set without planning things out, that if I do things this way, I’ll get rid of this greed. He told me this kind of things. I could really relate to that.
Why are you perceived this way? Are you really greedy?
It seems this side of me stands out a lot. It’s not that I shouldn’t have any ambition at all, but I think I also need to be a little bit more relaxed to be a bit more comfortable, to be free.
Some people are worried because Baek In Ho is a character different from the roles you did so far, others have even bigger expectations.
I’m still focusing on “Hwajung”, so I can’t think much about In Ho. There are still many people who don’t believe in me. I’m not hurt by such reactions, but I definitely want to show them my acting. Ah, the director also said not to be greedy… Often…
It’s true! You really are very ambitious! Were you into webtoons before?
Just one year ago or two, I read a lot of them. I read everything I found interesting on each portal site. I started reading the whole series of “Cheese In The Trap” again recently.
I think you can try many interesting things because you’re a rookie receiving attention. It’s not just drama or movies, but you do new stuff like webdrama or starcast, and also Naver’s “V app”. Are all those things natural for people born in the 90’s?
Ha, I don’t know if this is natural for me because I didn’t get to experience the life of the previous generations or because I was born in the 90’s. It’s a bit strange. I do think I get many good opportunities, compared to others. I’m always so thankful to the 5uprise members and our agency.
You must make time on your own for the “V App” real-time broadcast. Isn’t it burdensome?
Heyyy, it’s not about giving up on some hours of sleep and it’s about dedicating 10 or 20 minutes of your daily life. I haven’t done the first broadcast yet, but I think I will really enjoy communicating with the fans on the spot. Aside from sign meetings or the fancafé, we don’t have other opportunities to meet our fans, so I’m craving for it.
How does it feel to see that more and more people recognize you?
I’m embarrassed when I meet fans and I have no makeup on. However, I like that people recognize me. Is enjoying that people pay attention to me makes it my vocation?
Were you like that when you were young?
When I was a child, I was shy, very shy. Still, getting attention wasn’t something I disliked even back then. Other people get really embarrassed if they receive attention, but if I put my mind into it, I was able to do a presentation in front of a few hundreds people… Do you know what the difference is?
I think I know. If you were born in 1993, then your friends are at the age to go to the army now. While working like this, don’t you think your life is very different from your friends’?
I think I’m just a 23-year-old guy. I’m not in the “I must be more mature” mindset. I think what I do just matches my age. I want to become an adult who acts according his age as he keeps getting older. I want to become a grown-up-like grown-up.
What is being a grown-up-like grown-up?
When people are going through a hard time or are tired, their self-centered side comes out. Even if they’re not usually this way, when you’ve spent a few sleepless nights, it’s hard to pay attention to people around you. However, I try to tell myself often that I’m not the only one having a hard time. It’s something hard to explain. I think you don’t become a grown-up just because you say you’re a certain age. Well, because I’m young for now!
You’ve been working for two years without taking a break. What would you like to do if you had a free week with no schedule?
Having no work for an entire week? You mean being completely free for an entire week? In that case, I’d go overseas right away. I think I’d check what the next flight is and would leave right away as soon as the hotel reservation is made. The country doesn’t matter. Going over there and having nothing might be not fun, but I think going overseas itself will make me feel in vacation.
What’s the reason for you wanting to go overseas?
The work I’m doing right now is interesting, I’m very thankful for the situation I’m in. However, I want to take time to think about everything I’ve done so far. So many things came to me while I was working. I wonder how nice it would be if I had time to organize all my thoughts.
Do you think a week would be enough?
It would be just perfect.
You said earlier that you learned many things while working. What did you learn?
So many things. From acting technique to human relationships, behavior, I learned it all. I learned many things because I met mostly people older than me… Hm… Should I specifically pick out one thing to tell you?
You did learn the art of doing interviews!
I was shy, but I got used to it as I met more people. I found out how talking, discussing with people can be interesting. I like how it makes me change. I think I’ll become someone who knows how to approach people in real life as much as I want to approach them in my heart.
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com