[February 2017 – Elle] Jisoo – Radical Paradise – Interview


Instead “you’re handsome”, the words I want to tell you are “you have charm”. I have a big of a “charm”, don’t I? It means that I’m able to show various faces. As an actor, it’s something nice to hear. 

It seems that you have a trendy face these days, a face well-liked by the public. Ah, if it’s in that way, then no… Because I will work as an actor for a long time, so it won’t do if my face gets “eaten” [= people want to see my face] only now.

Is there an aspect of your physical appearance that you’d like to fix? There’s none. I want to live accepting my physical appearance. Because I can’t change it even if I try to anyway.

Wasn’t last year the time of your career when you were the most active? If you were to do your own evaluation? I challenged myself about a few things. If I look at my filmography, as I’m building up my experience step by step, some things make me happy, others make me sad. I underwent trials and errors, so I also feel that I’m improving.

Your cameo in “Doctors”, your role in tv movie “Page Turner” left a strong impression. The characters you’ve portrayed so far are quite diverse. Do you have your own technique to take on each character? My starting point is the process to understand my character. What is his personality, what are his thoughts, what are his goals in life, I try to find an answer to each question. After that, I try to approach it with my personality. I estimate what we have common, how I would behave in his situation, and that’s how the character leaves his imprint on me. I create meeting points between the character and me. Like “He’s so good with his words, why is it so hard for me” (laughs) ?

Personally, the time when your charm truly stood our for me was your cameo in “Doctors”. Why?

He has this strong flirty masculine vibe. Is it possible not to fall for that? If so, I will definitely shoot a romance this year. I also imagined that it would be fun to get to play properly a character like Kim Soo Chul in “Doctors.

You felt this “devilish charm”, didn’t you? Heyyy, hearing that I have this kind of charm still doesn’t do much for me. For instance, when I see Eddy Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, there’s just some depth pulling you in without you even realizing it. They’re both good-looking, but they’re not known as pretty-faced actors. I want to ooze this devilish charm just like pretty-faced actors do. It’s just a wish that I will always have because this vibe or this feel is just something they were born with. From now on, I must find what makes me charming.

You ended up enrolling in an acting acadamey when you were in high school and you’ve come this far. Do you believe in fate? I do believe! Regardless if something good happens, if something bad happens, whatever it is, if I see it as fate, there are times when it puts me at ease. I realized that it makes it easier to overcome the hard times.

You will probably always remember the moment you opened this acting academy door and went in. I will, right? I’m curious about things and I like challenges. It’s a complete different world, but when I think about it, doesn’t me being able to knock so easily on that door come from my experence as a judo athlete?

If you were an athlete, then you probably have guts. I have no guts at all (laughs). If I had guts, I would probably still be an athlete today. I would have kept doing it even if I hated it. My style is more about the instinct to follow my heart.

You’re close with a lot of actors whom you went to middle school, to high school with. It’s so adorable that you’re even called the “Byun Yo Han’s family”. How were you during your school days? When I was with my friens [t/n: same age], I took the lead and be like “let’s eat it”, “let’s do that”. When I’m with the hyungs, I follow their lead. When I’m with my friends these days, I just try to get them to lead. It’s the way to avoid taking responsibility for the annoying situations we try to avoid (laughs).


Unexpectedly, when men gather, they do nothing special. All we do is eat, go to the PC room to play computer games, we ride cars and we go here or there.

Do you have no neighborhood friend you really get along with? I do have neighborhood friends I share a long history with. I thought everyone had long-time friends like I do, but I realized it wasn’t the case. When I’m really tired and exhausted, I feel good when I meet these friends. I feel like I’m in a safety zone when I’m home with them.

You play police officer In Guk Doo from the police academy in the drama “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” which will air on February 24th. What can we expect? In Guk Doo is a cool police officer who will step forward whenever there’s an injustice. If you watch the dectective Lee Jae Han in “Signal”, he has this human side while protecting his principles. In Guk Doo is a character you definitely want to meet in reality. You will be greatly entertained by the love triangle between Park Bo Young-nuna and Park Hyun Sik-hyung. There aren’t many things I can talk about because the drama hasn’t aired yet, but you can anticipate a great synergy between the three of us when we manage to get out of a situation.

Are you someone with clear principles? I live my life with freedom and no fixed vision of things. The line is not to hurt others. 

The lead female character is a woman with amazing strength like “Hulk”. In real life, would you be attracted to a woman that strong? Or would you be attracted to a woman with a delicate image who makes you want to protect her? To me, it’s the latter. However, in Do Bong Soon’s case, she finds the balance between the two aspects. She looks adorable on the outside and makes you want to protect her, she has this unexpected strength. It’s a character turning into a female hero, so people who watch it will feel a catharsis.

So you have always enjoyed watching movies. Do you have your own way to show your appreciation? When I’m into an actor, I usually watch all his filmography. It started with Ryan Gosling, and lately I watched everything Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jeremy Irons did. English actors have this charm about them. 


When did you start watching so many movies? Since I was very young. Movies felt like a dream. Should I say I didn’t really know where the line between fiction and a documentary was. I thought “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Ring” were all true. The most shocking experience was when I watched “Once Upon a Time” and “Drunken Master” on TV. No, there are strong people like that in this world! Even now, when I watch a movie, I have this nice feeling that I’m dreaming. That’s why I wish the running time was longer like when you don’t want to wake up from a good dream.

Which dream did you hate waking up from recently? “Lalaland”. It wasn’t just the music, I liked everything.

Being an actor is also about being temporary. Doesn’t that make you anxious? I felt this anxiety more in the past. I haven’t taken some time off since I debuted. I finished a project and started working on another one right after. Leaving aside of how big or small the roles were, I kept getting roles and this was what I wanted, so I was thankful. In order to get rid of this anxiety, I didn’t stop becauce I wanted to train faster.

You name is trendy, just like the word “millenial” is. You grew up in an era rich of culture. How to find stability? Around me, I have friends who aspire to be actors. Even not in the field, I have hyungs who keep improving their skills by shooting indie movies. Although I keep acting, I don’t get this stability feeling. I wonder what is actually stable in this world.

It seems that you’re good at brushing aside things you can’t resolve yourself. In the past, I constantly obsessed over these things, I had regrets, but now I have some peace of mind. My experience grew little by little and it seemed that I didn’t do well. What I will be able to deal with is what I acknowledge as such to be dealt with.

Do you mostly stay at home when you’re not working? I like going around. I drive around. It’s not a big stress. I do hope people will recognize me. On the other hand, when people pretend to know me, it makes me feel uneasy and happy at the same time. It’s a self-contradictory feeling (laughs).

Do you have an old habit? I must get coffee as soon as I wake up. I walk in any coffee shop I find and I definitely get some coffee. I listen to music when I sleep. What else? Ah, I wear perfume. I use the ones you can properly hold in your hand. I have many collections. I like perfume.

What else do you like? Cars and electronic equipments.

Should I ask you about the car models you like? I drive a Volvo. It has its personality. I’m attached to it because it seems that it never gets broken, no matter how much dents it gets. After sharing a car with my mom, I bought my own car a few months ago.

Your standards in relationships are about having a pure soul”? How can you know someone is like that? To be honest, I don’t set fixed standards. When all the persons I like gathered one day, I realized they all had this honest passion and they gave me this warm feeling because they’re sincere. I thought to myself “all the people around me have a pure soul”.

In your own standards, would you say you’re about talent or efforts? Hm, I quite don’t know what talent means when it comes to acting. If you use the word “skill” [t/n: he uses the English word], I can think of it as having a strong observation power, a strong concentration power, a strong imagination power. I think if you set aside all these aspects, the first thing you find are efforts. If you just look at the actors I mentionned earlier, you may know they made last-ditch efforts. The more you do well, the more you seem to have talent, everything is thanks to the efforts you make. So my conclusion: efforts!

You’ve constantly played main characters, second leads, but don’t you have plans to build up the confidence that being the lead role gives? The goal I want to achieve is to play in good projects or play good roles. If I proceed that way, this kind of roles will naturally comes along, right?. That’s the mountain I must overcome. I’m currently climbing it.

You seem to have a clear world. What I want to do is clear. To be honest, it’s just my instinct. Actually, I’m not so sure when I look at the acting world’s standards. Becoming a great actor, there’s no right or wrong answer about how to become one.

Your dream as an actor and as a man? As an actor, I want to take on the challenge of a youth movie or a musical movie like those I’ve enjoyed watching so far. As a person, it’s to support my family. And there’s this simple expression “let’s just enjoy this moment”. This is the hardest thing to do. Just when we did the photo shoot on location earlier, I wanted it to be over quick because I was so cold (laughs). That’s why I try to always remember these words. You must be happy when you have 1,000 won, so you will be happier when you have 100,000 won.

I thought your great goals would be a bit more outstanding. To be honest, this is the greatest thing in the world. Isn’t it so?


Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


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