[June 2016 – Marie Claire] Song Joong Ki – Interview

DO NOT TAKE OUT.

DO NOT SCREENCAP.

You’re quite busy these days.

I couldn’t imagine there would be such reactions. “Descendants of the Sun” is just one of the projects in my career. Of course, as an actor, it makes me happy to get good reactions about a project I did. However, I think there will be a lot of of tears after the final episode. I must cry to my heart’s content then say goodbye. Even if I don’t mean to, I think I must distance myself from it a little bit. And now I must focus on my next project. If anything, I hope that when I remember “DotS” in the future, I will be able to say it’s a project that I have no shame about when I’m asked if I did all I could.

Do you feel that it will become a project that you might be ashamed of?

Hm… Instead of “ashamed”, how could I put this?… In a far future, I think I will be a bit sorry when I remember this project. It’s true that I really gave my all because it was my first post-army project. However, I got injured during filming, so there were many things I wasn’t able to do and it’s something I regret.

The reactions were so amazing that people even talk about a [DotS] syndrome. I’m curious to hear how being acclaimed like this by so many people makes you feel.

To be honest, I’m very happy. I’m currently experiencing things I had never experienced until now. Stuff that makes me happy keeps happening and I also get the feeling that I’m improving little by little. Should I say it’s the feeling of having a callus? As I garner more interest, my family and aspects of my personal life are also getting revealing. It’s something I must endure, but everytime something like this happens, I struggle with it. I think I must not hurt other people. Like “this hurt me, so I must not let other people get hurt by something like this”. I have thoughts like that. I don’t want to hurt others because I know what hurts me. Why isn’t there something like this? When you feel pain in your shoulder or you hurt, someone gives you a massage and it feels nice. I feel hurting works the same way. I’m very happy these days, but unhappy stuff happens too. Me saying this doesn’t mean I stress that much about it. I feel like it’s just a callus slowly growing thicker.

DO NOT TAKE OUT.

DO NOT SCREENCAP.

You made your return with a drama after two years of absence.

I think this time was about take a step back and to fill me up. I think these two years were profitable for me. Son Hyun Joo is my drinking buddy as well as a sunbae I really like. Before I went to the army, he told me something that really helped me. “Don’t use unusual skills, go through with standard skills. You’ve been living as an actor and as a star until now, so going to the army, getting your hair cut and being in a troop with guys 8 or 9 years younger than you will help you a lot. And this time of your life will help you with your acting.” Just like he said, this time spent with these guys brougt me fulfillment. If I got rid of something, wasn’t it arrogance? To be honest, I hate being called arrogant, so that makes me even more careful. I think I’m not arrogant, but I’ve been living as an actor so I feel like I probably had some arrogance that I wasn’t aware of. This time of my life made me got rid of this. And what I won is a free mindset. And I think I found out some know-hows about how I should live my life as an actor.

Sometimes, people ardently acclaim an actor then look away for a brief moment. It isn’t easy to keep a free spirit about it.

There’s no one who feels confident about this. And I think it doesn’t apply only to celebrities. If you want to do this job for the rest of your life, shouldn’t you discipline your heart in order to not give up and to deal with stuff like this? When you try to control your mind, there cannot not be this growing callus. There might be a downhill road, so I shouldn’t get swayed and I should wise up. Kim Min Ki sings this song called “Mountaintop”. Here’s how you can sum up the lyrics. “Don’t show off and say you climbed up to the top of a big mountain. Next, you go downhill. And when it happens, find another mountaintop to reach”. I must become wiser when I try to find another peak to reach. Thankful, I’m not scared of things like this.

Choosing your next project must be burdensome considering how great the reactions were for your return to dramaland. The fact itself that “Battleship Island” is a movie directed by Ryu Seung Wan creates anticipation.

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DO NOT SCREENCAP.

It never happened to not be worried before starting a new project. However, this tension is nice this time. It’s a bit different from the tension related to the box-office success. I’ll be 33 when this movie filming is over. We will shoot for about 6 or 7 months and I have faith in Hwang Jung Min, So Ji Sub, Lee Kyung Young, Lee Jung Hyun and director Ryu Seung Wan. There’s no filming set that isn’t exhausting. It can be torture to the point it’d also be an emotional struggle, but I feel like there will be great energy on this set. It’s the anticipation that we will bring out each other’s positive energy. I go from being an army soldier to a soldier for the independance. It’s another role that is about working for the country. (laughs) According to the roles he plays, an actor can be remembered for a long time or forgotten right away. As an actor, this element is interesting and charming. Playing Yoo Shi Jin, playing this independance soldier, as an actor I still don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing for me. I don’t want to be swayed by people’s reaction to a character I play and I want to enjoy and rely on the power of the project and the script.

Looking at your filmography, it seems that there’s an amount of dramas and movies.

A lot of people think that way, but I don’t look at things this way that much when I review a role. I think people think this way because a project I did recently got good reactions. I don’t know yet if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to film a lot. A friend saw my fate and actually told me to not film too much. (laughs) I have yet to find the answer.

To be honest, I can’t picture you aging.

My fans also worry about that a lot. It seems that my face when I’m old will have no charm. (laugh) That’s why I want to be better at acting. It’s clearly obvious that looks are really important for an actor. That’s why I want to be better at acting. Acting is what makes you able to go beyond your looks. That’s what I must do, so I will be able to go down slowly that downhill road.

How were you in your 20’s?

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DO NOT SCREENCAP.

I really hustled. That’s why I’m satisfied. I’m a bit sad that I wasn’t able to enjoy it a lot, but I have no regrets because my life was interesting. I will try to live and enjoy life a little bit more during my 30’s. Be it during filming or when I’m doing another activity, conflicts I couldn’t imagine arise sometimes, so I want to go through life frowning less when it happens.

Is right now the shiniest moment of your life?

It feels this way. It can be because so many people like me, but I’m having fun with my life right now. Acting becomes a little bit harder, but this is what makes it more interesting.

You’re acclaimed by a lot of people. Do you have any complex?

Of course, I do! Compared to (Lee) Kwang Soo, I’m short. Well, if I’d try to be tall, I wouldn’t want to be tall like this. (laugh) Doesn’t anyone think about what they’re good at and what they lack in? I tried to break away from this “will I be able to keep doing well” doubt. When I pick a project and go on the set, there are times when a project is so hard that I wonder why I agreed to do it. For projects like “Deep-Rooted Tree” or “A Werewolf Boy”, I chose them because I thought “let’s confront myself”. Of course, when a project gets completed, it’s not only thanks to me. Any work of art is a group project. It’s a job that can be possible only if every single person, even the youngest member of the staff team, is there. Bringing everybody together is the responsibility of the lead actors.

It seems that any role is always a challenge to an actor. Are you the type to be decisive about challenges?

I hesitate. I hesitate, then sometimes I try and sometimes I give up. Ah, anyway, this side of me can be a complex.

What weren’t you able to challenge yourself with after hesitating?

It can be dating, it can be the army, too. I went late after hesitating.

You’re currently an outdoor brand model. In your CFs, there are also scenes where you walk around the city. Is it something that you have always enjoyed to do?

I like walking around. Even when I’m overseas, I like walking around. I’d walk around and then ride in a car. I went on a vacation in Japan and I even walked around for a few hours from Shibuya to Roppongi.

You probably can’t walk around like you want to when you’re in Seoul.

Still, I enjoy taking a walk once in a while. I like Hyehwa-dong which is the neighborhood where I lived in when I was in college. I also enjoy walking in quiet places like the road in the Blue House area or Seongbuk-dong. When I walk around Seongbuk-dong, I mostly meet old people, so I can greet them and walk around freely. It’s nice.

It seems that you’re a courageous traveler?

I’m the cautious type. However, I’m a traveler who is curious about many things. I can’t hold in my curiosity, so I give a try to stuff I feel hesitant about.

Among the trips you already made, what did you try that you felt no hesitation about and went for it?

The week before I started filming the drama “Nice Guy”, I had the urge to go on a trip at 11PM, so I left for Japan on my own. I traveled all by myself, on my own. To be honest, it’s not easy for an actor to go on a trip on his own, but I gave it a try. I went and read the scenario over and over again, and then I came back. Still, I enjoyed that time.  I think it gave me the strength to finish safely the shooting of “Nice Guy”.

I wonder about what you do when you’re not acting.

I talk with Kwang Soo, we play video games, we have a drink (laughs). Since Kwang Soo became the “Prince of Asia”, we haven’t been able to see each other often. Here’s how it always goes these days. “Where are you?” “Malaisia.” “Where are you?” “Thailand”. I’m planning to get a little revenge. When I’m asked where Kwang Soo is, I should answer “he’s overseas” (laughs).

This year will probably more unforgettable than any other year for you. 

I don’t know about other things, but I do wonder if this year isn’t the year when I fulfilled my filial duty to my parents. To my parents who live in the countryside, news programs are an “absolute” thing. They really liked to see their son on the news. I thought that I made it when it happened. Next time I get offered to be on a news program, I must definitely go, right? (laughs)

Last question. Are you happy these days?

I am happy. In the past, I kind of had the nice guy complex, so I didn’t really know how to say no. I’m better at expressing my thoughts now. And what’s better than anything else is that I learned how to enjoy my life.

 

 

DO NOT TAKE OUT.

DO NOT SCREENCAP.

Marie Claire
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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11 Comments

  1. Aw. He’s so grounded and down-to-earth, and he sounds so earnestly honest in his answers. I love how candid he is, about feeling like he’d like to be taller, and how that’s a big of a complex. It makes him feel like a regular guy – albeit one that is very talented and hardworking. ^^ Thanks for your hard work, dear Sunny!! ❤

    1. I guess anyone spending time with lee kwang soo and jo in sung on a regular basis without being as tall as them might have a little bit of a complex about their height xD but their trio is just so adorable 😀 I really like how he sounds that the huge success of DotS doesn’t feel this huge when he talks about it. He’s like, “well, it’s just another job for me so… But I’m happy you like it”

      Thank you for reading ♥♥

      1. “well, it’s just another job for me so… But I’m happy you like it” – EXACTLY. You summarized it so well! XD That’s exactly the sort of response he’s got, to DotS’ insane popularity, and I love that he’s so down-to-earth about it. ^^

  2. i noticed that the interview wasn’t in full version. was wondering if you picked the important points to translate, or was it intentional to leave a chunk of it? it was a really good read, as I wanted to know how he felt post-DOTS, coz it was so huge, just like what the interviewer mentioned “DOTS syndrome”.

    1. Erf. You’re right. WordPress ate the last section and I didn’t notice. Thanks for pointing it out! I’ll fix it as soon as I can. 🙂

  3. Aww 🙂 This is what I love about SJK ❤ He's so down-to=earth and so humble. He answers honestly and comfortably (which makes the reader/listener to feel comfortable too). I so love him 🙂

  4. Bought Marie Claire June issue and thankful that I got to read this english translated version interview of SJK. Thank you 🙂

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