[February 2017 – Maxim] Kang Haneul – Interview

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Do you know you have the nickname “Fairy tale maker”?

It’s just that I think it’s important to have good manners. I’m not a nice person. (laughs) I do nothing worth to be called “fairy tale maker”.

It’s true we only hear good stories about you. Just brag a little since you were already given this nickname.

Ah… It’s really hard. (laughs) I think it’s the hardest question I’ve ever received so fard. To be frank, it seems that people who have met me never got a reason to frown because of me. I do try and make efforts to make it that way. It’s nice for me and for other people to be happy, so I don’t want to create circumstances that would make me people frown because of me.

Looks like that’s why you got this nickname. However, it often happens that the world doesn’t go like this.

I know that reality is grey and dreams are orange. However, I think that the moment you see things in a pessimistic perspective, the situation does turn wrong. I used to see things only in a negative way, now I try to look at things from a positive perspective and I try to be happy.

I heard in a podcast not long ago that “New Trial” director Kim Tae Yoon had no A/C at his place and you gifted him one with. Why do you often make this fairy tale happen?

No way, how do you know that? It’s not a fairy tale. I lived in an officetel and the air conditioner was installed. We went to a bar after filming and he asked which coffee shop we should go to the next day. He said we had to be out because there was no A/C at his place. Since the A/C was already installed where I lived, I gave him the one someone gave me.

I heard it wasn’t a gift but something you bought and gave him.

People just want to call it a gift. It wasn’t something expensive. It was something that could cool down only a small place.

Where’s the lie, though ? I think you will get better at accepting this nickname of “Fairy Tale maker”.

Haha… It’s really not like that.

I heard you do meditation these days. How does it help you?

It helps me so much that it even gives me the strength to live. Thanks to meditation, I feel like my self confidence is growing.

You posted a picture of a bracelet you created yourself. The deep quote along with it was memorable.

It says “I care about nothing but what I choose to give my attention to”. It meant “let’s live while loving myself a bit more”. It’s about not wavering, regardless what people say. And I read a meditation book for the first time not long ago. In the book, it was written “this, too, shall pass away”. I thought this saying was only about negative things, but they said that this saying is also about the positive things that disappear suddenly. This quote really left a deep impression on me.

In an interview from last year, you said your goal was to become a good person. So how are you this year?

My topic this year is “let’s live the moment”. I had a really hard time. After worrying about how to turn things back around, I started meditation. I was reading a book, and I found this sentence “the past is a lie, the future is an illusion”. This one sentence really influenced me. The fact that the past as well as the future can’t harm your energy. These words hit home and I’m trying my best to be happy.

I heard you already knew about the Yakchon five-way intersection murder case. What did you think when you received the scenario?

I like investigations programs. And watching these programs gives me info and I look it up when it triggers my curiosity. I found out about the Yakchon five-way intersection murder because I told myself “I want to know about it”. I did feel anger and a sense of injustice as I watched these programs, but I was curious about else there was to say about it, so I did a lot of research afterward. And I received the scenario. Before even I got to read the scenario, I could only be interested when I heard it was based on this story. I felt that somehow it was a movie I would do.

It seems that it wouldn’t be easy to play in a movie based on a real story.

I’ve done three movies like that so far. Every time, I always get this “the real story must stay as the real story”. The movie is based on the real story, but this fiction called a movie must keep its own flavor. Saying this doesn’t mean I want to convey some kind of message or highlight some emotions. What I hope is for the audience to be so invested by some sense of duty that they will become interested in this case.

You play a character who was wrongly accused and spent 10 years in prison. I’m curious to hear about the research you made to portray this character.

I imagined Hyun Woo. Emotions such as anger, this feeling of injustice were more eating him from the inside than being openly expressed. That’s why I tried my best to express more of a negative energy than simple pain.

At the beginning of the movie, you have long hair which makes you look reckless. It was unexpected because it’s a look we had yet to see you with so far.

It’s unfair, but I hated showing you one image. Aside from getting the “he’s a nice guy, why is he framed?” reaction, what I wanted was people to make the connection and think “if he’s that kind of guy, it may be possible to frame him”. The scenario only said the character had long hair, but I parted my hair because I wanted to express a more depraved look. Same goes for his tattoos. The character had one, but we talked about it and added more tattoos.

I heard you actually met those who were involved in the real life case.

I met his wife and his children. Instead of talking of heavy stuff, I tried to keep the discussion only on daily stuff. I tried not to talk about the incident or the movie. After meeting them, I thought “how to understand these 10 years, how to understand how they feel”. That’s why I tried to understand only the character in the scenario. I didn’t dare to understand this man. That’s why Jung Woo and I had a drink with the children, we took pictures together and we had an enjoyable talk.

I felt you went all in and let everything go in this movie. I was really startled when you showed a frightened expression.

When I shot this scene, the director asked me if I was okay, and I answered “if you’re okay, then I’m okay”. It was the same when I was filming “Dongju” and I had to shave my head, there was a time when the people around were firmly against it. However, it never happens that I worry about my image so much that I avoid to do stuff like this. As I’m getting older, I don’t want to be ashamed when I watch myself on a screen. That’s why, even when my entourage was against it, I remained stubborned and went through with what I had in mind. Isn’t acting about doing the most to give the best interpretation of the character you must play?

How was it to work with Jung Woo whom you’re actually friend with in real life?

I think each actor has his own acting method. Some actors may be distant in real life with an actor because their characters have a conflict. As for me, regardlesss of the situation, regardless of the characters, good acting will come out the better the friendship is. With Jung Woo-hyung, we were able to try out different things as we went “we did this like that, so how about we try to do it this way?”. It was organic and I think it showed well on the screen. He’s 9 years older than me, so it was about me being able to talk to him in such comfortable manner and him him truly treating me well. I was very thankful.

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Maxim (2)
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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