[June 2018 – Vogue] Lee Sang Yoon and Lee Sung Kyung’s collaboration – Interview



T/n: this is a request by @rememberremem11. The Lee Sung Kyung part will be up in a couple of days.

In the drama “About Time”, Lee Sang Yoon and Lee Sung Kyung create a fantasy romance. In reality, this man wants to freeze the fall when he went on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, she wants to freeze the moment she cried hard in front of her mom.

Before deciding to shoot the drama “About Time”, Lee Sang Yoon went on a Santiago Camino pilgrimage. Last year, he thoughtlessly booked a flight to Santiago where he stayed from ealy September to mid-October. He had booked a hotel room only for his first night. Not knowing how much days he’d be walking, how much he’d be walking in a day, he didn’t plan where he’d spend his nights. He just relied on himself as situations came along. This was the free time his agency had granted him after his request. As we’d get full of expectations or regrets at the beginning of the year [?], Lee Sang Yoon decided to go on a pilgrimage. “While filming “On The Way To The Airport” and “Whisper”, my worries started growing. As I worked, I started getting ambitious too. I paid attention to more and more things, but my ability reached a limit. Not being able to say “yes I can do it” to everything was frustrating. I longed for a moment to look back at myself and think. Back then, director Park Shin Woo suggested me to walk for 2 or 3 weeks, even if I didn’t get on pilgrimage to Santiago.” Lee Sang Yoon walked until the end. The Camino de Santiago is more than 799km long, and he reached the sea by walking an extra 100km. He went to France’s Wineries and spent 3 nights and 4 days, then he even went to Nice. He booked rooms for a cheap price through a smartphone app. He solidified his changing self in Paris which was the last city he visited.

“It was nice to get a simplified mind as I walked the Camino de Santiago. It’s a path you walk by leaving behind the “let’s reflect on myself” intention. You just walk and the only problem on your mind is finding something to eat and finding somewhere to sleep. You reach a village when you take one, two steps. I ate when I was hungry. I slept when I was tired. I walked with director Park Shin Woo and we talked a lot. My mind hadn’t been at ease this way in a long time.” Director Park Shin Woo and Lee Sang Yoon worked together on the drama “Angel Eyes” in 2014 and their relationship is based on talking about their worries. To Lee Sang Yoon thinking about the “About Time” offer, Director Park Shin Woo told him as a joke “you guys would be a tall couple, so that would be fun”. Director Park Shin Woo believed that playing in a romantic fantasy with Lee Sung Kyung would allow Lee Sang Yoo to awaken the image Lee Sang Yoon had.

“About Time” is a romance drama with Choi Michaela (Lee Sung Kyung) who has the ability to see someone’s life span and Lee Do Ha (Lee Sang Yoon) who is a son in a chaebol family. There is this fantasy machine called the life span clock, but the biggest expectation in this kind of drama is the lead couple charm. The charm of Lee Sang Yoon’s character is to become ultimately a love bulldozer although his latest breakup left him cold. Wasn’t he scared of finding a limit and being fed up with the “chaebol lead man” concept? “On the contrary, I had no worry about this aspect. There’s never a complete new original character in this world. Although it starts with a standard character, it will become different according to the person portraying him.” While shooting “On The Way To The Airport”, Lee Sang Yoon even said “when I shoot a melo, I feel like something isn’t fresh”. In the end, it’s different but it does start like a melo. “In “On THe Way To The Airport”, it was hard for me to figure out how to express emotions that can be shameful in an affair. Toward the middle of filming, I felt very confused. I seeked advice from my sunbaes in my company and they told me that it’s hard to give a fresh feeling to the melo genre. That’s why it requires to be detailed even more. I feel like “About Time” was clearly defined. The life span clock in “About Time” was an element that created a conflict, but the love finds completion in phases. And Lee Sung Kyung and I are a good match. She has a lot of energy and is lively like Michaela, so acting with her was no trouble.”

And he added that he had acting and his life and the choice was easier than before, his attitude toward them became clearer. “I said things became simpler when I walked on the Camino of Santiago. It was similar to the time when I debuted. I just loved acting. I only made efforts to be good at the roles I was given. As time went by, I realized that my roles didn’t break social conventions. Of course, it’s something to think about when deciding to take on a role, but when I play, I forget about it all and it’s only about the sincerity. However, that’s what I think about from time to time. I’m trying to go for an acting style with the simplicity I got while walking on this road.” That’s the reason he shot the variety program “All The Butlers”. He said that he wondered if he’d be a nuisance to the program because he’s not made for variety. “Now I tell myself “I wonder how I’d be in a variety program, let’s give it a try and find out”. I’ve come this far by making safe choices, but I’ll try not to from now on. And here’s even what I think. I wonder if the stiffness/the frustration in my acting weren’t because of this tendancy. I said I opened my heart, but didn’t I lock myself into the same pattern, into being the same. In my personal life too. I’ll try to experience and do things I have never done before.”

Lee Sang Yoon recently bought a piano. It had been a long time since he had played the piano. Because piano was something he did because he was forced to when he was a child, he had let go of it once he became an adult. His mother was the saddest one about it. “I watched Lee Sung Kyung playing the piano in “About Time”. She played the piano with the right vibe as it should be and that made me jealous. Right on cue, I met Cha In Pyo-sunbaenim on the set of “All The Butlers” and he told me “you must carry on with your decision”, so I followed his advice and I started playing piano again. In the past, I would have just said “I’d also probably be good at it if I started playing again” as I’d be all sad but do nothing about it. I’ve changed, right? I purchased (Lee) Seung Gi’s middle/high school piano. When the drama is over, I’ll take lessons.” Lee Sang Yoon said that he’ll do any of the things he’ll be curious about or that he’ll want to do. He dreams of trekking in the New Zealand mountainous region, as well as completing the Pacific Crest trail of 4,285 km like in the movie “Wild” and the novel of the same name. “The trekking process in “Wild” takes at least six months. I don’t know if I could have enough time, but I definitely want to do it from start to finish. I also bought a book written by a Korean person who went to this place.”

His motivation isn’t juste due to the pilgrimage effect, so isn’t it because he also wants to break this “introvert elite boy” image? “In the past, I tried hard to get rid of this perfect student image. I purposely chose roles that were the opposite of this image. One sunbae told me this. “Do you need to absolutely deny the strengths others see in you? When I acknowledge such situation, I actually overcome it the next time it comes along”. And I agree. I built my confidence by working on my strengths, so I think I’ll do well if I overcome it. I’ll be able to change.”

Anyway, I also can watcha movie with Lee Sang Yoon as the hero. “I’m very greedy when it comes to cinema. I’ve been interested in ‘1987″ and “Little Forest” lately. I particularly like hero characters like those in “Avengers”, “Iron Man”. Actors in the DC Comics and Marvel comics movie speak their mind on how they get stuck with this image, but I’m jealous. I can become an lively character of our childhood.”


Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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