[March 2016 – Allure] Lee Joon Gi – Interview


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Do you remember where our last interview was?
Hm, wasn’t it in Canada ?

In the plane from Canada to Seoul. While getting through severe air turbulence.
Indeed! I had just been discharged from the army, right? I had dreamed a lot about it, but reality was different. Haha. Air turbulence is the scariest thing in the world. Seems like I’d hate to lose everything.

A lot of time has passed since then. Many stuff happened to you, right?
Regular stuff. I shot a project each year. The biggest change is that I got older.

Isn’t getting older a gift for an actor? Especially for men.

I think so too. I hope my age will mix well with the projects I will shoot. I want to find projects like that.

How about last year? You beat your turbulence fear and were busy shooting in Sicily, Shanghai, Capetown?

I didn’t rest last year either and worked. I shot one Korean project, “Scholar Who Walks The Night”, but I had shot a movie in China before that and I had lived in Shanghai for a month. I was also in Sicily, I got to witness with my own eyes how much beautiful and special places they are. My most vivid memory was my stay in South Africa for “Resident Evil 6: the Final Chapter”. I stayed for about a month. I don’t know if it’s because it was more of a cameo sort of thing, but I felt not pressure and I really enjoyed filming. Even when I wasn’t filming, I went around the set and learned a lot.

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I saw the pictures you took with Milla Jovovitch! Congratulations for your first Hollywood movie! It must have been very similar to how you enjoy filming action scenes?

Haha, it can’t be called a big move to advance on this market. Milla is an international actress, but she did nothing to show it. Although she was probably exhausted from all the hours of fighting scenes she had to shoot, she never lost her smile and seeing her like that also motivated me a lot. I like acting with my body. It’s something I’m proud of, but it’s also a burden at the same time. That’s why I try to make everything perfect on set to the point to be stubborn and she was exactly the same. She didn’t spare herself at all and she listened willingly to my suggestions.

Did director Paul Anderson personally chopse you?

I was told he couldn’t speak Korean, but he set on mute a drama I was in and read me through my facial expressions and the emotions I expressed. Milla, who is also his wife, told me he was glued to his laptop for a few days to watch my videos. Especially “Gun Man in Joseon” and “Scholar Who Walks The Night”.

It must be awesome to be evaluated and recognized by someone from another culture who doesn’t really know you?

I was so thankful when I heard about my casting process. I didn’t get cast because of the recognition I get in Asia. To be honest, it can happen that you get cast for a cameo only because of your popularity without your work even being watched. I’m thankful that I got contacted because he liked my work. No, I was moved. I didn’t have a lot of scenes, but this was a good experience to allow me to dream and make plans about many things. I’m always filming no matter what, but I’m always left with unsatisfaction every year. Even if my projects don’t hit “daebak”, I hope to come across good projects. I’m very ambitious about that these days.

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You seem quite unsatisfied with viewer ratings. Which project was the dearest to your heart and hurt you the most? [t/n: I hope it doesn’t sound too dramatic because the question in Korean uses a metaphore that really sounded weird to me if I kept it in Englisht]

“Scholar Who Walks The Night”. I thought it would really be an original and fresh story, but I think its power of persuasion fell as time went by. I was very greedy last year. I wanted to try a complete different style of acting, but it seems that I wasn’t able to convince properly the viewers when they watched it, so I’m a bit sad/unsatisfied about it.

It’s hard for a drama to succeed as a “special/unique drama” in Korea.

It’s not easy to find succes in Korea with some specific genres. It does seem viewers want to watch bright and happy things, even if it’s a drama. I hope I will keep doing this kind of projects. There are projects that can convey a message, projects that will be meaningful to an actor, even if the ratings don’t go up.

So what did you do meanwhile? It’s hard to see you unless you’re in a drama or a movie! You do absolutely no variety programs.

Hm… let’s say I’m indecisive about variety programs? For instance, if I can enjoy and have fun showing who I am in my daily life, it would be worth it, but I don’t know if I have this ability.

That’s why I prepared multiplice choices. If you were to go on a variety program, which one would you choose? “Real Men”, “Three Meals A Day”, “Running Man”, “SNL Korea”, “Please Take Care of My Fridge”?

If I had to choose one, it would be “Three Meals A Day”. I think it would allow me to show myself in a natural way. And I like cooking and using my body.

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What will you do once this photo shoot is over?

I’m in total hibernation. Every year, I go on a family trip with my parents and this is the most fun. Last year, we went to Fukuoka. We went to Okinawa the year before that and we went to Hawaii before. My parents like traveling when they take a break, so they often go to Japan these days.

Do you personally plan everything from booking the tickets to taking care of the logistics?

Planning my family trips makes me even more thankful to my managers. I had to take care of this managing from the beginning to the end. I had to plan, to make reservations, to rent a car, so this made me understand the struggle of my manager.

Do you work out a lot when you’re on a break from filming?
I like running more than building up my muscles. I like being active. That’s why my fans are sometimes upset that I keep doing action projects.

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Isn’t it because they worry you’d get hurt?

There’s that, and they also want me to play a lovey dovey romance or to be an ordinary guy role. I’m always running around, so it seems that they’re a bit sad about that.

Still, there must be a reason for you to prefer action roles?

Because action isn’t something you can do forever. Action roles mean that you get to use your body a lot to show your acting. As an actor, I think it’s a blessing. However, more exhaustion and countless injuries come with it. I want to keep doing these roles as long as my body allows me to. However, I’m speaking like this now, but I don’t know if this interview will be my last. I want to do a bit more ordinary roles starting from next year. “Moon Lovers” isn’t an action drama per se. It has a large cast. Until now, I was mostly leading my projects from a solo status, but the lead share is a bit divided with others in this drama.

“Moon Lovers” was a bestseller in China. It’s a drama with an early hype that can be compared to “Sandglass” if we make a comparison for us. What kind of role do you play?

I’m Wang So, the 4th son of Wang Gun. Although he’s a prince far from the crown at first, he will become emperor Gwangjong in the future. He has such a rough/wild personality that he’s called “wolf dog”, then he meets Hye Soo, the character IU will play. There will be a romance between the two of them and it will be interesting to see how he gets to become king. The drama is 100% pre-produced, so I think we will start filming right after this long weekend is over. The process of being in a palace and seeing everything that unfolds in this thirst for the crown is fun.

Did you watch the Chinese version “Scarlet Heart”?

I only watched the first 10 episodes. I did the same with “Scholar Who Walks The Night”. I’m the type to watch/read the original work if there’s one, but only enough to understand and have a reference.

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Kim Kyu Tae directs this Korean version. It’s your first time working with him, right?

Director Kim Kyu Tae is one of the big reasons that made me choose this project. He directed dramas such as “That Winter, The Wind Blows”. I thought I would learn a lot from working with a director with such exceptional cinematography. That’s why I asked first without knowing which actor he had in mind.

What do you want to gain from this project?

If there’s one thing I must gain, shouldn’t it be the love of the viewers? At the end of the day, being an actor is about communicating with the audience. I’m immersing myself with this role as I think it’s the last sageuk of my youthful days.

When you actually turned 30, you did say you didn’t want to lose your sense of innocence even when you’re old. So how does it go? Is it going?

I think my sense of innocence is passing well. I feel like becoming nicer and nicer will make me disappear. I wonder if I’m not becoming too transparent to the point to disappear…

Haha. What do you mean? A sense of innocence can be found in many ways.

How to say it… On the contrary, my life has become extremely simpler. Even more than before. When I’m not filming, I do nothing in my own time. Even when I rest, I don’t have hobbies to relax. I just stay at home.

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But you’re more enthusiastic than anyone else. I still have a video of our wrap-up celebration I filmed with my phone in Canada. Even if you had debuted as an idol, I don’t think it would have been weird for you.

I sang and danced while drinking, didn’t I? This is being innocent. I don’t go when things are weird. Even now, once an event is over, we gather in a room and we just have fun. I guess some people wish to go to some famous club, but I spend my time in a simple way. Still, since the staff work really hard, I want them to have fun, so I will try to go the club at least next time. I should really be reborn as an idol in my next life. When I look at the idols these days, I’m very jealous of the various experiences they get to live.

Isn’t it why you really have no scandal? You don’t even have romance rumors going on.

I really have none. It’s really no fun. For celebrities, when a scandal breaks out, it must get a little bit to their head because it shows they’re a bit famous, even if the medias don’t talk about the scandal. However, I’m becoming more and more cautious when I’m around people. I wonder what makes me uncomfortable these days when we decide to go out and have fun after a day of filming. Is it also because I’m getting old?

Although you’re passionate, you’re always humble and polite. Isn’t it burdensome for you to live by this image of the exemplary student?

Thank you for seeing me in such a nice way! Because I love people, I can do nothing but to face with sincerity each person. If someone is fake about everything, life would be so hard and horrific, wouldn’t it? It may seem that I’m in a mold, but I think there will be people who remember my sincerity. It would really break my heart if these people get disappointed and turn their back on me.

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You will go to the VIP premiere of the movie “Dongju” by director Lee Joon Ik. Do you have a forever special bound?

It’s a special bound, right? He’s the one who allowed me to live so intensily as the actor that I am today. Although I wasn’t able to contact him for a while, he still looked over me like a father takes care of his child who left home. When I call him my savior, he scolds me. Here’s what he says “You’re the one doing all the work, so don’t go around saying stuff like that.” I told him I was working with young people these days and we act like friends and he said we should act like friends too. I must pester him to hurry up with his next project and to cast me!

It’s almost the New Lunar Year. Do you know how you will spend the holiday?

On the day itself, I’ll go greet my relatives, I’ll receive the greeting bow from my nephews/nieces and I will give them New Year’s cash gift.

You must be married in order to receive the greeting bow…

I want to get married. I’m 35 now. However, I haven’t realized that yet. I mean, the fact that I must get married. I get scared when I think about marriage.

Although you have yet to get married, you’ve become a sunbae at some point.

Sunbaes who used to see me like a baby in the past consider me like their colleague now. They’re like “Joon Gi, you’ve worked a lot too, right?”. It’s more pressure for me. There are many young people in this project. I must lead them and do well by setting the example because I’m not an old sunbae with a lot of work experience.

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You mean you’re a good hyung who take care of the others on set?

Hyunie (Byun Baek Hyun) is really nice these days. I take care of all of my hoobaes, but Hyunie particularly catches my attention. That’s why even if I only have one word to say, I end up saying it to Hyunie. We live right next to each other, so we see each other often and I want to take care of him more because he doesn’t have a lot of acting experience. When I see him, he makes me laugh often. Seems like I’m really old now. For real.

Have you set all your plans for this year?

As I’m filming “Moon Lovers”, I think I must seek something else. I want be a bit more combative this year. I’ve been focusing on dramas all this time, so I must also focus on movies for a while. First, I’ll try to live a good life as the 4th son of Wang Gun. I’m a king! How much of an upgraded status is it!

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Do not screencap.

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

3 Comments Add yours

  1. maulidhappt says:

    If I had to choose one, it would be “Three Meals A Day”. I think it would allow me to show myself in a natural way. And I like cooking and using my body.

    junki likes cooking… /brb crying/

    but anyway, I don’t really watch his drama (I did try watching Scholar who walks the night, but i got bored after 3 eps), the one that introduced me to him was My Girl, him and dongwook is like a perfect combo combo ❤

    looking forward for him to act in a no action/saeguk drama/movie, I want him to play a role of a cop or detective, it suits him XD and looking forward to his cameo on resident evil! yay ❤

    1. 1sunnylady says:

      Scholar Who Walks The Night was such a letdown b/c I had Lee Joon Gi and Lee Soo Hyuk in the same drama and as antagonist, and both as vampires??? it was like a fanfiction dream comes true for me, but the plot… meh. Ah well, * shrug * the actors were really not to blame in this. it’s the plot.

  2. Little Winter says:

    Reblogged this on little0winter0fragrance.

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