[July 2017 – W Korea] Kim Soo Hyun – Ordinary Man – Interview

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We’re in Hawaii. We’re back in Hawaii four years after “Secretly, Greatly” premiered. Time really does fly by.

Maybe it’s because I get the feeling it’s only me, but I do feel like time flies by like “wow”. It’s like I’m on this small planet that makes a 360-degree revolution? When you work on a project, people usually say you must put your daily life in a box, anything unrelated to your character, for a while. As for me, I can’t really think about nothing else but my character, so that might be why I get the impression time just repeats itself. I’m like the student who is like why not study when you have perfect attendance because you keep going back and forth only between school and home? (laughs) It’s been four years since we’ve been to Hawaii. It’s been four years since this movie premiered. I hope this parallel is good luck.

The teaser of “Real” got released yesterday. As soon as it was released, it scored 2 millions views.

It’s the first clip revealed about this movie, so we were extremely curious and worry. I’m just thankful there were more good reactions and encouragement than I expected.

There was much more mystery around this movie than usual (laughs). There was almost no news about it.

I know news told around the middle of filming help a lot a movie promotion. However, I thought a bit differently this time. More than an impact made by articles and pictures, I wanted the outcome to be as much as possible about my efforts and what I can do as an actor. This isn’t about self-confidence. This is about going through a long night until dawn comes. Saying every little thing going on during this long night doesn’t make dawn more meaningful. It just makes time goes faster and makes you put up with it. When I first read the scenario, I had many interrogations about my character Jang Tae Young. Usually, the actor goes through the process of understanding and expressing the character. How should I put it? In this movie, as I read along the scenario, the character Jang Tae Young convinced me about what had to be expressed. When I say Jang Tae Young, I mean the level of action he must give, the way he smoked his cigarette… The fact that this character doesn’t really follow the guideline image I’ve been showing to the audience, this is what could make me also approach the audience with a reversal image when the movie is released. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t cautious, but that’s because I won’t be able to test my safety forever. I think this word “actor” is about being given a job that no one else but me could do. I hope this is how you will see this movie.

That’s complicated. Am I the only one feeling this way?

This movie is a bit complicated (laughs). I often say as a joke that you must see it six times to understand it. I don’t know if it’s because filming was hard, but it’s true that I personally saw a new layer every time I read the script. “Real” is an action noir movie mixed with a thriller side, a mystery side and a melo side, so I know the mise en scene required a lot of attention. More than anything, I can’t wait to see the CG work, I heard the CG work is still being processed. It’s taking as much time as filming. I think that’s why you must watch the movie more than three times (laughs).

You play two roles in one. Embracing two different type of emotions must be quite difficult for an actor.

We started filming in January 3rd of 2016, so I lived as Jang Tae Young the real and Jang Tae Young the not-real for nearly 6 or 7 months. Some days, I had to switch between the two characters constantly, and I did feel a bit disoriented on those days. And I also had to exchange lines with the characters surrounding Jang Tae Young, so I even had to calculate how to create the synergy when I was facing them. Because the point is for the audience not to find my two characters unnatural. If I didn’t make them feel natural, it would have felt really forced upon the audience or as if I demanded sympathy for the character. Once they see the movie, I hope the audience will feel like they have watched the panorama of Jang Tae Young’s life and emotions in a natural way. The content is complicated, but I hope it’s not a movie that makes people feel uncomfortable.

When you talk about acting or a role, you’re very serious. Were you also that earnest in the way you enjoy playing bowling? You trying to be a pro player was a hot issue.

I don’t think that much about things. Especially when I’m into something, I tend to get obsessed with it. Last year, it was bowling. I enjoyed playing bowling. I enjoyed it, so I was curious about taking this enjoyement to another level and I ended up going often to the bowling alley. There was this challenge at the end. The one variable was the fact that I often go to the bowling alley at night. The pro tournament began at 7 in the morning and went on for 15 games straight. That’s why I built up my condition by practicing at this hour before the tournament began. I would have probably not tried it if I had said to myself “what if I fail? what if I become a prop bowling player?”. I just started like that. Usually, if you manage to go through the first round, they give you your license. Getting this license wasn’t my goal, so I made it to the second round. I really practiced hard. It turned out to be a life experience. It’s not that I’m not sad about some stuff, but I have no regret.

People have many expectations when it comes to you. Do you put some pressure on yourself?

If the movie is a success, I think about more things in my next project. That’s how it is from an actor’s point of
view, from an agency’s point of view. I must also think about my fans. However, thinking too much also makes me lose my way. It’s difficult for an actor to deal with the burden of his own existence. At some point, you unconsciously get trapped inside your own feelings, then these feelings get exaggerated. In the end, you must manage to reflect on yourself. As you repeat this process like drill after drill, time just blends and don’t you frame yourself into your own mold little by little? Doing this would actually make me figure everything out, right? Figure out who I am, what kind of actor I must become.

Actor Kim Soo Hyun is persistant, collected while being rational. How are you in your daily life?

The actor I am and the person I am in my daily life aren’t that much different. Because me being Kim Soo Hyun is the starting point for both aspects. It’s just that acting is an optional aspect of my life. Within these limits, I may need to be a bit more careful and focused, but the pivotal point doesn’t change. Someone can deviate but can’t get rid of the sense of responsibility or duty that he/she must have. If anything, there are high probabilities that the actor in me takes over the daily me, so I try my best to stay focused and rational to decresase the probability.

In our eyes, you made it. All your projects were a success. You have money and fame. Still, is there something left you’d like to accomplish?

I didn’t start this career thinking “I should become this, I should achieve that”. It’s really plain to say it like that, but I started this because I liked it and I got acknowledged for it because I worked hard. That’s because as far as the topic of successful stability, the entertainment industry isn’t a place for pushovers. There’s no manual to tell you how to be successful, but there’s no manual to tell you how to crash either. It’s all about “the moment”. You can’t tell someone was lazy among those who sweat blood and tears in this industry. Who sets themselves to become a bystander about their own life matters? It’s not about to have accomplished everything or to have accomplished nothing. My hope is to walk well without stumbling on the path I’m walking now.

“Real” drawing in ten million people. Isn’t it what you want to accomplish right now?

I’ll change what I said. “Real” drawing in 20 million people, this is what I want to accomplish (laughs).

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W KOREA
Translation : @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks dear Sunny, for this. Kim Soo Hyun is such a dedicated actor, who is clearly serious about his craft. I enjoyed reading more about his thoughts, and how the experience of acting is for him, immersing himself in a character. I wouldn’t have been given that glimpse into his mind, if not for your hard work. THANK YOU~! ❤ 😀

    1. Thank you! I must say, I actually read the itw right after it was uploaded. But RL kept being distracting, so unfortunaly I wasn’t able to upload the translation before the movie premiered. I decided to go ahead anyway because I think it gave a bit of perspective, considering the backlash it got.

      Thank you as always for your words of encouragement. It really means a lot to me. 😀

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