[March 2017 – Elle] Nam Joo Hyuk – Midnight in LA – Interview

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It’s probably tiring to talk about yourself, so let’s try to talk about people you like. Not long ago, you uploaded on Instagram a picture of James McAvoy in his brilliant madness. It was a scene from his movie “Filth” released in 2013. When I’m obsessed with an acotr, I read nearly all his interview. Not long ago, I watched the trailer of “23 Identity” in which he portrays a man with 23 personalities. In just a couple of scenes, I was overwhelmed like “dang! it’s no joke”. And “Filth” was his first movie I watched. The story is a bit dull during the first half, but if you watch until the end, you can get the feeling his acting is crazy. The way he portrayed this drug and alcohol addicted police detective is so amazing that it makes you go “what is this?”.

Do you remember? In our last interview, you mentionned Edward Norton’s psychopath’s role in “Primal Fear”. It’s even fascinating how I watch movies with such characters and it comes out in each interview. Last time, I watched “Birdman” and I fell for Edward Norton, so I went through “Primal Fear”, “American History X” and even “Fight Club”.

You seem more attracted to villain roles. Compared to upright and exemplary characters, I think they give more room to express freely a wide range of emotions. You feel delight also when you watch them.

Have you ever experienced a conflict between your sense of responsibility and this enjoyment? When I get hungry the night before shooting. My face gets swollen in the morning, so I hold back again and again and I eat at dawn. While telling myself “whatever, forget it!” (laughs).

Speaking of having multiple personalities, which personality represents you? My blood type is A, so there isn’t no cautioness about my personality. I can’t readily speak first when I meet someone for the first time. That’s why people’s first impression of me is that I’m a bit cold. I’m actually very affectionate.

So I guessed which personality you want to have! I hope people will find my charm attractive as they get to know me. However, on the other hand, thinking this way makes me feel uneasy inside. It wasn’t like this before. As I got worried about how people would see my external appearance, a side of my personality became fake. “This shouldn’t do” are words I don’t think just once or twice. I want to show you completely the person that I am, but I can’t ignore my image. I wonder how I should handle this.

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Which side of you do you want to show more? It’s hard to say now that you’re actually askin about it. I think the immediate answer is my acting. I want to show you a good image as an actor.

While people don’t know who you are, they put your “Fairy Weightlifting Kim Bok Joo” character Jun Jun Hyung aside and said “he’s really like Nam Joo Hyuk”. Isn’t it ironic? I wonder if the viewers enjoyed my acting because they loved Jun Hyung so much. It’s my first time hearing something like this since I started acting. It’s a great compliment.

Knowing that you’d be in L.A, you had also planned to attend a game of NBA star Stephen Curry. It was the Golden State Warriors vs. the Chicago Bulls. I just had to see with my own eyes the great Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thomspon and Dwayne Wade!

If you wanted to keep it cool and introduce Stephen Curry to those who don’t know him, what would you say? He’s such an amazing basketball player that he’s someone I could brag about and say “I watched him play in real life” if my kid asks me one day “dad, do you know Curry?”. Fans cheer and shout for every action he does.

When was the moment you were the most cheered on? When I was in my fan meeting in Thailand, I think I heard every cheer one can hear in a lifetime. I had no idea overseas fans would be so happy to see me. Once it was over, I was overwhelmed as I left the stage. Can I say that it’s like winning as an athlete and standing for the first time on the podium.

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Do you wonder how things would have been if you had kept playing basketball instead of giving up because of an injury. I don’t know if I would have broken another part of my body (laughs). When I think about it now, the whole preparation process until the competition starts was unnerving. The training was extremely hard. However, the result of all the practice you go through ad nauseam is 100% revealed on the court. This is what is really thrilling. Thanks to that, I realized early that good things happen if you make efforts. My classmates were half-jealous half-envious to see me attend only 4 classes a day and then go to practice, so our English teacher said this: “you guys must follow Joo Hyukie’s example. While you write and read an English word a dozen times to remember it, Joo Hyuk shoot a ball on the court hundred times every day in order to touch the ball in a game.” These words really hit home. That was truly what it was. The words “when you go for it, it comes true” aren’t empty words. I learned this required mindset during the three years I played basketball.

Your desire for winning is probably out of the ordinary. I was short and tiny when I was in my first year of middle school. I heard randomly a friend of my supervisor said “why do you make a kid like this play basketball?”. I clenched my teeth and practiced. In my mind, I was like “just wait and see if you’ll be able to say the same in a year or two”. And I proved myself through my skills. This person changed their opinion about me. And even now, as I look back to these few years, I’m still running forward.

Do you know how to dunk? As I grew up a lot during my third year of middle school. I When I was a senior in middle school, I grabbed the rim and did pull-ups. I kept doing dunks here and there when I played basketball with my friends, even after I was done being an athlete.

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Isn’t it against the rules for a former athlete who plays in a neighborhood competition? Haha. Seems like it.

You moved to the opposite position once you started acting. You’re right. I experience a different level of acting with each project. In “Fairy Weightlifting Kim Bok Joo”, it was with Park Won Sang-sunbaenim who made a cameo as the psychologist treating Jun Hyung. My scenes with him were short, but his skills came right out. Although he did nothing special, I really felt like he was a psychologist. It was the same with Kang Haneul-hyung
in “Scarlet Ryeo Heart”. His acting is about self-control and you’re just blown away when you see him on the screen.

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If you were to choose your best performance? I remember the scene in “Fairy Weightlifting Kim Book” in which my character Jun Hyung reunite with his mom who left him when he was a kid. Even before rehearsals, I started having tears as soon as I saw Yoon Yoo Seon-sunbaenim who plays my mom. Although I tried to make it through, I actually didn’t manage too/ And it was even harder when the word “mom” came to my mind. After I was done shooting this scene, I thought “I can do this kind of acting!”.

How about talking about your mom? There are so many things I’m sorry about when it comes to my mom. She probably had a tough time raising me. I’m a Busan guy, so I don’t express my feelings well, but I think a lot about my mom. I’m just sorry for everything. As I’m getting older and getting to know the world more and more, I realized how much of a tough time my mom must have had.

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Have you already cried in front of your mom? After having a meal together, my tears came out and I couldn’t lift my head up. I turned my frustation back to my mom and I cried while making her angry. She must have been really sad. I live with my mom right now. I did wonder how I would be if my mom wasn’t here once I finished shooting the drama. I must treat her better when I’m with her. I think it’s something that is real only in my mind for now.

Who’s your mentor in real life? Myself. I spend a lot of time on my own, so it’s rare for me to have opportunities to get advice from other people. I ask myself questions and I give myself motivation.

The question you asked yourself the most lately? My mind is filled with the words “how to do this?”. I think “Fairy Weightlifting Kim Bok Joo” made me show my potential as an actor. My worry about my next project, my next character. While working on this project, I learned that good energy gets conveyed when I enjoy acting. I think that’s what I should do for my next project. My mind is busy. What should I do to get a role to enjoy acting a little bit more, what should I do to manage to convey my sincerity. This is what I think about.

Doesn’t it get much easier the more experienced you get? I mean it’s like when you receive the ball and your body moves more out of practice than because you think about the reaction you should have. Oh, said like this, it does feel that way! When I started playing basketball, my movements were stiff because I wondered if I should shoot or break through. Later on, the way I played came naturally to me.

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Who else do you like? I often mention MMA player Connor Mac Kregor in interviews. When I see him, I think about living life to its fullest. This may make me sound very ambitious, but it’s about making efforts to death in order to get what I want. My goal actually came true. There’s the fact that people use me as a role model because they can relate. My goal to do a job that I like is something I’m sure of and my ambition gets bigger.

I shouldn’t bring up your close friendship with Jisoo, shoudl I? It’s okay. I’ve always talked about Jisoo a lot (laughs).

Talk about yourself now. What is the thing you don’t like about your looks? I think I look meek, so I wished I looked more masculine.

Do you wish you were taller? My height right now is exactly what I like.

Are you “best friend” boyfriend material? I’m not good with it like that.

Are you a good listener? It depends of what the story is about. I try to listen by being patient and thinking the situation over with the person, setting the small talk aside.

Do you feel lonely? I do.

When do you particularly feel lonely? I feel lonely each moment. I’m a nocturnal person, so I like the moment between day and night.

Have you ever woken up and just walked out? There’s this one time when it was 4 in the morning. I rode my bike to Yeouido as I followed the Han river track.

Do you think of yourself as someone emotional? I think so. I like Jeju-do so much that I even traveled there all by myself. I really like the scenary in the sunset glow. That’s why when I go to Jeju-do, I drive around at sunset while listening to some Damien Rice or Maximilian Hecker. When I was in L.A, I also enjoyed watching the sunset while listening to Damien Rice’s “Delicate”.

What has been your perfect dream lately? It’s not mine. It’s my aunt’s dream. She talked about a penthouse at the top floor of a big building that you get to after riding an elevator. The city was at her feet and there was the shining sea in the horizon. She said she stood on the highest stair of this building. I can’t really talk about it well to others because it’s a nice dream.

So what is the moment you enjoyed so much and wished it weren’t a dream? Right now. Although it’s only been two years, I couldn’t imagine I would work like a model and a day like today would come.

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Elle
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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