[March 2016 – Arena] Jin Gu – Interview


Do not take out.
Do not screencap.

There’s one thing I wanted to ask to someone who truly lives like an actor. What is it to live as an actor?

It’s a gap (?). A gap.

Isn’t acting a job about using your body as a material? It’s nice to get a sense of existence while creating something with yourself.

Most of actors think this way. What’s certain is that it’s an important element for people who work as actors. I think acting is a nice job, even if you torture yourself sometimes or if you get complimented. I don’t know if it will sound very shameless, but I find comfort in complimenting myself. I’m not talking about saying things like “I’m awesome, I’m the best, I’m good”. It’s more like “I did it. I can go to this point for my next project, work will not not come to me”? That’s how I feel when I think about my previous roles.

It’s an interesting hobby. Which moments do you mostly look for?

When I feel suddenly exhausted after reading the script for the next day of shooting, when I feel the next day of shooting will be difficult. I do it when I feel like I’m running into a wall. I do it when I feel a sense of shame or when I feel lonley. Ah, [in moments like this] I don’t look for the truth. I don’t look at things that I think I didn’t manage to do nor at the projects that got severely criticized. I only look at what can heal me. To cheer me up. Things that make me go “so I couldn’t not do it”. “That’s right”. “No need to be chicken about tomorrow’s filming”. I repeat it to myself. However, other actors will do the same. It’s obvious there must be at least 3 out 10 who do it.

You said something quite amazing in a recent interview published online. You said “I’m probably the funniest person on this planet”. Are you sincere?

Well, isn’t it okay for me to say about myself that I’m funny? However, this is what people around me say too. The way I make people laugh is definitely overwhelming.

The Jin Gu that I have in mind is very far from being a funny guy.

Because I never got the opportunity to properly show it. However, I don’t say to myself “I want to show it”. It pours out in situations of my personal life. This image of mine is a “rare item” [t/n: he says it in English].

Do not take out.
Do not screencap.

Your agency must be a bit sad that they can’t really show this side of you.

They were at one point. However, I think comedy and gags must be done with the appropriate code. I think comic movies or sitcoms aren’t for me. If you don’t match the code, you can’t be funny. I figured out that it was awkward and cringe-worthy when I tried to be funny with something that I didn’t find funny. And it was really cringe-worthy and I struggled with that. I felt a sense of guilt as if I was lying. That’s why people couldn’t laugh either. So in the end, I became someone who wasn’t funny. I’m mostly funny through good timing. I’m a timing genius… Why do you smile? It’s something that a lot of people tell me. This is legit truth.

You seem to really enjoy making people laugh.

I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh ever since I was a child. There was one place where I stood in front of an audience with the “I’m going to make them laugh” intention. One day, I was at school. During recreation time, there was a “talent show”, and my friend kept making impersonation. My classmates laughed their head off, but I didn’t laugh at all. I thought, “this isn’t it. He doesn’t know the “flow”.” After that, I tried to teach this flow to this friend without him knowing, but it didn’t work out. At the next recreation time, this friend recommended me. I turned red and I stepped forward.

So it was a hit?

A huge hit. It was the first time of my life I experienced such reaction. Applause, laughter, acclamation. It was explosive. And I thought “this is it!”. And after that day, I found myself dreaming of doing a job in front of other people that would get me reactions. I didn’t think clearly right away “I will be an actor”.

If this was when your dream started, didn’t you feel like you should also be on stage a lot once you became an actor?

I did a musical once. However, doesn’t being on stage mean to keep saying the same lines over again in the same place? This was hard for me. This scene made me sad until the second show. On the third show, the scene wasn’t sad. Since I couldn’t feel the emotion, I had to lie. Movies or dramas give me more stability. They put me more at ease. It’s easier for my acting.

You portray Seo Dae Young in the drama “Descendants of The Sun” that will air soon. Here’s how your character was described on paper. A military man who wore his army gear instead of the baenet coat [t/n: it’s the first type of clothes Korean babies wear] ever since the day he was born. I think there’s isn’t any role that would be a better match for you.

The first reason that made me run to “Descendants of The Sun” and the second reason were because it was written by Kim Eun Sook. It wasn’t Seo Dae Young. When I got recruited for this project, I didn’t even know which kind of character I would play. I was just very happy. I didn’t even need to ask which kind of character it was. I mean, it was Kim Eun Sook!

From an actor’s point of view, what’s great about Kim Eun Sook’s dramas?

Possible words that don’t appear in daily discussions. However, that doesn’t mean her words are childish. They’re nice to hear. Regardless if you’re an actor with a small voice, if you’re big or if you’re an actor who’s good at delivering the lines, when you say the lines written by Kim Eun Sook, you get the line delivery power. Her words have this kind of magic. You’ll definitely know when you watch the drama, but nothing about what Seo Dae Young say is ordinary.

How so?

It’s weird. It’s cheesy. When we were reading the scenario, Joong Ki kept teasing me. He’d say something like “hyung, you haven’t read episode 13 yet, right? Something big happens.” Aren’t there lines like this in a drama? “Do I like you?”. Seo Dae Young says stuff like this. With no sense of shame and a stern face. That’s why it doesn’t sound cheesy or funny. I wondered how to act lines like this before I got to do it and I realized that the words come naturally because it feels like they just pour out from my body, from Seo Dae Young’s body. This is Kim Eun Sook’s power. Regardless if it’s an emotional line, an ordinary line, a childish line to say, she can make any word sounds like they belong to our ordinary way of speaking.

Do not take out.
Do not screencap.

It seems that he has his own charm. Seo Dae Young, I mean.

It’s a pre-produced drama, so filming is completely over now. There’s only the broadcasting part left. Everything has already been filmed, so I do think “wow, Seo Dae Young kills it, he’s really charismatic”. Why isn’t there a fantasy about love from men’s perspective? He’s a man who can’t say “I love you” even when he loves, he just stays in the background and loves in silence. It’s a romance given by a bitter and lonely love. However, it’s a love he protects deeply. This is what Seo Dae Young does.

Is this kind of love the romance many men fantasize about?

To be honest, they probably don’t want to live it in real life. However, there’s this desire that they all want to see. Seo Dae Young is like a stone. He’s loyal. Seo Dae Young is a character many men will like. He has everything that men like. Ah, and he follows the “pure love” code that women will like.

I said I was on my way to meet you and I noticed that men were more interested. There aren’t many actors who get recognition from other men.

Seems like it. Why is that?

Some of them said you’re an actor whose acting goes all out. And I think it’s because you portrayed many characters that men fantasize about, characters like Seo Day Young you mentioned earlier. It might be because there aren’t many actors who have this man, real man image.

I did many characters that men appreciate. I got offered many roles like this. A little bit more masculine. There a melo style I can do and it’s different from the melo Song Joong Ki can do. It’s completely different. As I live, my face became as it is today, my voice and the way I speak, the type of person I am are what they are today. It’s about the appropriate image that fits me.

It’s obvious there is a style you and no one but you can do. However, when I hear casting news about you, it’s the easy “Jin Gu? So doesn’t he portay this kind of role?” expectation.

I don’t worry or think about this aspect. And yet, I think I did get into the process of removing the special clothes that I wore naturally. I mean I don’t do it on purpose. Characters that remove this layer come to me. I think the movie “A Dirty Carnival” is the one that gave me an impact on the audience. My character in this movie was really strong. After that, my name got associated with words like “villain”, “gangster”, “tough guy”. It’s fascinating that the director of “Epitath” saw me as a weak boy when he watched “A Dirty Carnival”. Just like the director saw me this way, he made me a weak boy in “Epitath”. It happens more and more often that I get a role because they saw this side of me. It seems that I’m getting more different opportunities as I’m getting older. That’s why I don’t constantly portray tough roles.

You deal with the situation with a very specific mindset.

Because I think this is a really good mindset. I tend to think that things won’t work out for me if I lose this mindset. It’s necessary for me to keep it.

Don’t you feel any thirst?

No thirst. I have no big conflict. Smooth. Relaxed. Really. Things are just going the way they should be. That’s how I got here today and it will be the same in the future.

Is this smoothness a good thing?

I’m thankful for it.

So here’s the conclusion with no conflict act all. It seems that you’re the type to go “well, it is what it is, it’s just something I do” in whatever you do.

You’re right. I don’t really have big worries. I have a lot of small worries instead. Really small and useless worries. Like I want to buy Legos, I want to buy a lof of them. Should I buy them? Should I not? Worries like this.

Do not take out.
Do not screencap.

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


One Comment Add yours

  1. kfangurl says:

    Muahahaha! He wants to buy Legos?!??? XD Oh, Jin Goo.. why are you so surprising? Seriously. Everything about this interview is surprising. He thinks he’s really funny, and he likes being funny? (That last bit about Lego was really funny, it’s true!) I haven’t followed Jin Goo much at all before this, so it’s all new to me. He sounds drily funny, not unlike his character in DotS. Or maybe that’s just in my head, since I’m loving him in DotS. 😉 Loved him in Falling For Innocence too, and I think it’s safe to say that I’d love him to be on my screen more. Thanks for your hard work, Sunny! Hope the dissertation’s going well! 😀

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