[January 2017 – Elle] Lee Joon Gi – Good Neighbor – Interview


Your happiness index? My happiness index in 2016 was high. More than anything, I’m satisfied with the drama “Scarlet Ryeo Heart”. Of course, some aspects were clearly regretful, but this drama allowed me to receive a lot of love all around in Asia once again. And I also mean I created one more character. I was getting stressed out because I kept shooting sageuk back-to-back and I was afraid my character would overlap with what I’ve done before. From a completion perspective, I want to give my character “Wang So” a high grade.

And from a very personal perspective… The satisfaction is similar because I graft my life on my acting career. If anything, I will make efforts to find a little bit more who I am as a person. To be honest, if you ask me if I live a rich life, I would honestly add a question mark. I must have a rich life, so I can be able to show various sides of myself through my acting.  

Which drama have filled your life so far? Hm, I’ve been living a seclured and ordinary life. I’m used to imagine lives different from mine. What’s great about being an actor is that you can bring to life characters you imagine in your head. The thrill makes the stress go away every time.

What have you been putting your energy into lately? The first concert of my Asian tour which started in Seoul not long ago. I really worried about each detail such as the video production, the song making, the event segment. I’m not used to be complacent and take a break. I think my life is about always creating something to show to people. I think my fanmeetings are also one of the outcomes. It’s where I can thank those who cheer me and show me love. I try to make it an enjoyable experience with my fans as if it were a festival.


Don’t you get asked why you work so hard on your relationship with your fans? I should meet my fans to talk with them, shouldn’t I? I do get asked where’s the need to get stressed out and prepare so hard for it. It just feels like an addiction. I’ve been doing this kind of fanmeeting-concerts for 7 or 8 years now. It’s exhausting every time, but when I stand in front of my fans, I feel like a rock star and I receive more energy. It makes me so happy. I would have quit if I wouldn’t have felt this kind of emotion. I shouldn’t give into fame or narcissism, but I want to keep being with my fans as we are right now. Like partners giving each other strength. My fans hate when I say “I’ll keep on going with you even when I’m a grandfather” (laughs).

Not every actor can make fanmeeting-concerts. Aside from the fact you must be a good actor, what else do you need to become a star? I don’t consider myself to be a star. I’ve been doing this job for a while. Aren’t the stars the actors who can be mainstream? What I want is to communicate and exchange with my fans. Entertaining them like this is my way to thank them for being there and I try to create many opportunities like this.

Sure, but no one wouldn’t call you a star. Are you compatible with the star lifestyle? I think it’s nice to be an artist or a star. People who have an artistic side don’t minde being tied down to the mold and to standards. Things such as responsibility and doubts are burdensome sometimes. When I’m at the receiving end of the audience’s love, I must be sincere. When I was a child, I was quiet and cautious. I cared about the perception people had of me. Once I became an actor, I figured out what I had to do to get to where I am today. My personality changed as I committed to what I was doing and felt a sense of responsibility. It’s really amazing even when I think about it.


You seem more passionate about the word “artist” than “star”. You’re right. What’s an artist’s inclination, what’s an artist’s aim. To me, it’s someone who know how to express, how to communicate various emotions and thoughts, someone who can convey more emotions and make people happy, someone who spreads good energy in a wide range. I want to be an artist who does that.

When we say “Lee Joon Gi”, we get this active and healthy vibe, but it won’t always be the case. I talked about it a few times in the past, but I have a severe lack of affection. When I’m outside, I try to smile. Because of this image, people will think that I have a bright personality. Once I’m done dealing with people and I go home, the forgotten loneliness washes over me. I often ask to my fellow actors how I should deal with this feeling. It’s an universal worry that anyone has. As the world is getting more and more hardhearted, human relationships are becoming more and more distant. I feel the exact same way. My luck is that I can forget about my loneliness every time I immerse myself into a new role that scares me.

A situation that you deal with in a mature way? Being the center of a filming set. I play the one who leads the young actors. I approach them first, I listen to what they say and I coach them about their acting when it’s needed. Leading the atmosphere is my responsibility. When I’m in that role, I think to myself “I’m an adult now”, “I have reached this status”. It’s more fun than a burden. As I look at the younger actors who follow me well, we display a good synergy. I really knew nothing back then. I was so awkward when I didn’t know what acting was. Young actors these days understand things fast and the way they act isn’t standardized. What they offer is so fresh. 


Is there nothing you naturally feel getting better at as you’re getting older but you weren’t good at back in the day? I feel that way about romance. I wasn’t confident about portraying a romance because I mostly played dramatic and vivid roles when I was in my 20’s. It was a big stress for me because I don’t have a big dating experience, so my big worry was would I be able to make it real. Now, I easily emerge myself into this romance feeling and there’s more depth to my acting. I don’t mean there was no romance aspect in my previous works. I think my acting skills got better as I kept working on it. Each role taught me something. And it was fun too. I even want to play a role that will allow me to show this romance chemistry.

While still being attached to action roles. Milla Jovovitch whom you play with in Hollywood movie “Resident Evil : Final Chapter” said in an interview that you do your own stunts and your skills are on another level”. I try to give my best while I can do it because there will be a time when my body won’t allow me to even if I want it to.

Your glorious injuries? You cannot avoid getting injured while filming action scenes. (rolling up his pants) I have great scars on my legs. Every time I look at them, I think to myself “my life is quite intense”. They’re like the signs that a good outcome came from my body and the focus I put into it. Even if it’s not right now, I hope I will definitely get to play in a thriller project. I feel I should reach a certain age to portray the inner emotions and psychological description in the right way. I think an actor’s face, especially his wrinkles, allows him to express deep emotions. I’m curious to see which facial expressions I will be able to make when I get a wrinkle, how my facial expressions will turn out when I get two wrinkles.

Someone who makes you think “he’s aging so amazingly”? Ahn Sung Ki has always been and still is my role model. He doesn’t live just for himself, he works hard to lead his family as well as the cinema industry and this image of him is so charismatic. I also want to become a good dad as well as a good actor. 

Don’t your fans also tell you to get married? They say it often. They can no longer bear to see me looking lonely. Instead, they tell me to date privately, they say they don’t want to know (laughs).

How will you feel if one day you’d greet by the word “are you healthy?” instead of “how are you?” Haha. I would be depressed. I have yet to reach the point to hear this greeting. I don’t mind singing and dancing by myself for three hours during my fan meetings.


Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


3 Comments Add yours

  1. water says:

    Thank you so much for translating and uploading ^^

  2. Hi the Sunny Town,
    Greeting from China!
    We are Korean star Lee Joongi’s LJG China Fan Club. We are a non-profit organization and a group of volunteer fans supporting and backing ups for Lee Joongi. We published articles regarding Joongi’s most recent news/updates every week.
    We just saw your English translation of Lee Joongi’s interview article from January’s ELLE,
    which is a great translation! Thank you for translating this interview for our beloved Joongi.
    We would like to contact you and ask for your permission if possible 🙂
    We will publish an article regarding this ELLE interview on weChat public account and weibo in China. We would like to ask if we can cite your English translation in our Chinese article. We noticed that you do not allow to copy or screenshots of your translation. However, from your introduction, you also said that “There’s no copyright infringement intended”. So we would like to ask if we state clearly your website and your name “Sunny Twon” in our article, can we cite your English translation? We can also show you how the article will look like, so you know we keep our promise.
    Usually our articles contains both Chinese and English translations because Joongi has many fans all over the world. The recent movie “Evil Resident: The last Chapter” which he cooperated with Hollywood is also ranking No 1. in every country now. So in order to help all fans around the world to know more about Joongi, we always translate our article in English as well.
    Since this interview is very long and you have already translated it so well, if we can cite your website and name, we will be able to share your blog with more people around the world. Also we are seeking more opportunities/possibilities to cooperate with you in the future, so please let us know what do you think~ Thank you!

    LJG China Fan Club
    Our platforms for publishing Joongi’s articles/news:
    weChat public account: LJG準饭团
    FB: https://www.facebook.com/LJGChinaFanClub/
    weibo: http://weibo.com/lzjzft417
    INS: https://www.instagram.com/ljgchinafanclub/
    Twitter: twitter.com/LJGChinaFanClub

    1. Sunny Lady says:

      thank you for contacting me beforehand. You may post an excerpt of my LJG Eng translations with my credits and a direct link back to my original post. Please don’t copy paste it and repost it like some other fanblogs do without even asking.
      I wish your fanclub well and do not hesitate to contact me if you want to cooperate in the future. 🙂

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