Naver Star Column: Jang Hyuk Part 1. Jeong Yong Joon, and passionate Jang Hyuk

There are countless Jang Hyuk interviews all pouring out these days, that it is almost impossible to keep up with all of them. I think it’ll be around 50 pages if you add up all his interviews these days… I’m enjoying reading every single one of them, but sorry I do not have time to translate all of them 😛 But I decided to do this one, just because I felt like it, lol. So here’s translation of Jang Hyuk’s column in Naver Star Column, posted August 21, and the original version can be found in

Hello everyone~It’s Jang Hyuk. How are you all handling the heat? I’m sure fall is coming soon, haha. I’m honored to have a chance to talk to you.

You all know I’m rather talkative, right? ^^ It feels a little embarrassing, but I will try to say all I want to say to you at this chance. For part 1, I will first talk about my life as an actor. Please bear with me even if it feels a little boring to you. Then, I’ll start!

#’Thank You’ The most thankful, happy moment in my life

There’s a drama I cannot forget in my life. It’s MBC ‘Thank You’. Sometimes people ask me ‘What is your most memorable drama?’ and I answer ‘Thank You’. (Gumi adds: That’s not entirely true! I’ve seen him answering Chuno, or Robbers…but then I guess he has more than one ‘most’ memorable drama, which is understandable, considering he’s got more than one super impressive and amazing dramas)

The original title of the drama was ‘We were there’. We did the first script reading at the end of 2006. I was really excited, and felt as if I was a rookie actor. I guess it was even more so, because it was the first drama after military service.

I always carried ‘something’ even in the army. A script, a book, anything I could practice acting with. One of my roommates wanted to be an actor, too. I used to teach him as much as I could. ‘Actor’ is a job that ends when people stop looking for you. You just keep need to knock on the door.

Anyway, so my not-so-easy return was with ‘Thank You’ so imagine how excited I would’ve been. In fact, Jang Hyuk before and after the army is pretty different, although I’m somewhat embarrassed to say so.

But really, this drama was like a jewel to me. Especially, Gong Hyo Jin was a great actress who led me well. Her character wasn’t easy at all. I was grateful to the writer, too, and there were simply too many people to thank. I think I could make it this far because of those people.

#Some people risk their lives, so why should I not give my best

Recently I’m being more recognized through ‘Real Man’ and I’m meeting the audience with a good movie ‘The Flu’, and I thank people who find me and give me works for that. I’m having a great time every day with abundant works ^^

About work, I’m not the type who saves energy. I have two rules. One is to act so that others would feel ‘I want to work with that actor again’, and the other is ‘Let’s not get confused with character and real life’.

I think being an actor is like being a puppeteer. The way audience look at the play would differ depending on how the puppet is moved. Apart from how good or bad the character is, how I move it will change the audience’s view on it.

After my debut, I’ve worked in filming sites for about 30 different projects, and have seen great actors, and not-so-great actors. I try not to show too much emotions on filming sites. Rather, I try to keep passion. I like the expression ‘passionate’ more than simply ‘working hard’, haha.

Oh, so what’s my critical moment that started my passion? That would go back years. I’d say filming the movie ‘Zzang’ changed me a lot. (Many of you might not know the movie, but it’s a precious movie to me.) At that time, I met a stunt man for the first time. The movie had some action scenes. That stunt man was supposed to film being hit by a car instead of me, and by accident, he really did get hit by a car. I was so shocked. He said ‘I’m fine’, but I felt so sorry. He got up after 30~40 minutes, and did that scene again to get OK sign.

After that, I try to do my scenes without a stunt man as much as possible. Some people risk their lives for it, and I saw no reason not to give my best. Being passionate, and putting in everything for acting. I think that’s most important in ‘actor’s life’.

#’The Flu’ filming reminded me of the swine flu nightmare

‘The Flu’ was a hard movie to grasp at first. Its genre, too. I think it’s the type of movie you don’t get until you experience it. When I first read the scenario, I was scared. I could feel the fear crawling upon me.

As I filmed it, I was reminded of the swine flu, and that gave me goose bumps several times. ‘Ah, it really could be scary.’ I think the rumors were more scary than the virus itself. I had healthy immune system, but my son was just born back then. It still scares me now, thinking about it.

#’Superman’ ‘hero’ character? It’s just a person, ‘Jang Hyuk’

My friends or fans who watched the movie often ask, isn’t Jigoo too much like a superman? But I don’t think so. There is reality in him, and rescue workers are actually really working like that. I’ve met them and talked to them, and they were working in so much more difficult situations than we can imagine.

Honestly, when I first got casted for Jigoo, I wasn’t too sure how I should act him. The director told me just to ‘show myself’, but that’s not an easy job. Haha. He added one more comment, he asked me to get rid of heroic sides. I trusted his words, and tried to put more of myself in the movie. If the movie situation actually happens, I think I might act the same way. Maybe Kang Jigoo has been ‘Jang Hyuk-ified’. ^^

Ah, I feel like I must talk about Soo Ae at this point, haha. I wish to act a romantic comedy with her in the future. As far as I know, she hasn’t done that genre yet. People know her as being more chic and feminine, and I guess that’s because she has been acting such characters. Real Soo Ae isn’t like that. She is very relaxed and attractive.

And she focuses well in more intense scenes, so it wasn’t hard at all acting with her. She is a friend I’d like to act again with.^^

Ah, it’s already time to wrap up. I don’t know how you all found my rather unorganized story. I’m actually quite nervous about how you will find it.^^

I am planning to keep walk on my path, just like I have been doing. Many of you associate ‘Jang Hyuk’ with charismatic macho image, but that’s not entirely true, haha. I guess that’s the image that got more imprinted. I try not to care too much about the imprinted images. And try not to be swept away by the air around me.

For example, if you work out with other people, it’s easy to get swept around by others’ mood, right? I try not to get swayed around, and I want to just continue flowing at my own pace. Even if I’m lacking this and that, I hope you can support me!

Please take care in the hot weather, and I’ll make sure to bring more interesting stories for part 2!

45 responses to “Naver Star Column: Jang Hyuk Part 1. Jeong Yong Joon, and passionate Jang Hyuk

  1. May I ask where can I find the Part 2? I searched from the site but not found, please kindly advice. Many thanks!!!

  2. That would be awesome, thanks very much for all your hard work, Gumi. And I hope you enjoy the video too. I think it’s time for me to get to bed, it’s 3:00am on the East coast! arhh! Can’t sleep. And tonight I can’t stop watching the 1 hour Drama specials! lol. Did Jang Hyuk ever do one of those? If not, he should. Right now. lol.

  3. Thank you Lady G for the video. Great song choice, too.
    So many memorable scenes coming back to me.
    One of my very favorite scenes is at the very end of the video when Dae Gil holds up Un Nyun’s chin…he says I love you without saying a word.

  4. I love seeing u guys spazzing over him. I cant get enough spazzing of jang hyuk! Lady G have you watched healing camp? Cuz im sure that will make u fall for him even more

    • “Did you notice that he was on that show to support his friend and so he kept saying to his friend to “use him”?”

      Yes, I think I remember. I totally loved the camaraderie and relationship they had! They worked so well together too and the friend is a really funny guy.

    • LOL. Am I spazzing? I guess I am. 😀 I never saw healing camp, is that another reality series? I’m really not into reality shows, but certain episodes I would watch if it featured my favorite actors like him. I assume I can find it on Youtube. I will have to check it out sometime soon.

      • Its a talk show and its great. You getnto hear jh talk about himself for more more than an hour. But theres no subbed version on web..i knownit cuz i subbednit myself for drama fan cuz i couldnt find subbed version anywhere. Ill try to find a way to upload it without being deleted

  5. I love what he says in this interview: “I am planning to keep walk on my path, just like I have been doing… And try not to be swept away by the air around me. For example, if you work out with other people, it’s easy to get swept around by others’ mood, right? I try not to get swayed around, and I want to just continue flowing at my own pace.”

    These are words to live by. I can only imagine how hard it would be not to be swept around by others being that he is a celebrity. People are constantly judging him. I really commend him for his decision to be on Real Men. He decided that this was what he wanted to do and the criticisms that would resurface about his military scandal did not sway him. He seems like a well grounded person. Awww, I just respect him more after reading this interview.

  6. yes, he was really classy. I think he wore a suit the entire show except when he was in jail, tried to look “poor”, or boxing–so hot.

  7. Oh duh, yes Midas! I definitely remember that scene with his ‘poor’ look. When they all bonded and started working together to get back at these snobs I kept getting chills and wondering what would happen next. Who knew stocks and bonds and money mergers could be so exciting?? LOL.

    • And didn’t he look classy all the time in this series? Even with the “poor” look? I loved that because it showed me yet, another side of him.

      • It was a very different look for him compared to his other dramas, the hair cut, color, and everything. Totally classy. And a terrific kiss scene with Lee Min Jung too. But all his kiss scenes are wonderful.

  8. Wow I really feel I make Drama fan sad! Yes?
    I apologize if i do

  9. So we conclude Jang Hyuk Unlike other actors who have contributed to the role of the head and hand to become lovely .but Jang Hyuk uses only the eyes, this is adorable! That a man can be in three drama different looks to a woman!(lee da hae)
    Chuno, Robber and Iris2.’s All look different and full of words meant. even in the Iris .. he have three look !
    First Look: He loves his job and home, and the beautiful girl, And his enthusiasm for his work and he was a good and kind man
    Second Look: He’s a strange man in his life,he was too silent, a question mark was in his life that who am i? and he had a doubt to everyone and everything.
    Third look: the look of a man who do not want become live and only waiting for death.
    Oh look, another one was. man who suddenly lost everything: mother, father, and his love

    • Cathy,
      I agree with you that the dynamics between him and lee Da Hae are so different in these 3 dramas. I thought Iris 2 was awful but Hyuk was great. 🙂

  10. This has got to be my favorite JH interview, just because it sounds so personal. 🙂

    I love reading about all your thoughts on acting! 🙂

    I think it is an actor’s role to blow life into a character that’s only written on paper and bring the character to life into a 3 dimensional being. I think that’s kind of what he is saying here in his analogy with puppet.

    I agree with Lady G on Oh-Joon in Robbers. Oh Joon was a despicable character. But I could not help falling in love with him because I could feel sincerity in his love for Dal-Lae and his determination to turn his life around. Oh Joon was such a complex character to play and DH delivered it just perfectly.

    He says “Jang Hyuk before and after the army is pretty different, although I’m somewhat embarrassed to say so.” — Something did change dramatically after the military service. I have watched Into the Sunlight and Great Ambitions way back when they first aired. I didn’t think much of JH back then. I thought he was just another actor with a pretty face. He is just an mediocre actor, I thought. But then I stumbled upon Robbers and after that I watched Thank You. Than You is another favorite drama of mine. There are so many layers in this drama, I get something new out of it every time I watch it. Very well written drama. Anyways, I noticed that JH was able to speak with his eyes…I don’t know if this makes sense but I don’t know how else to put it. You can feel what Dae Gil or Oh Joon was feeling just by looking in their eyes. When I watched Chuno, I forgot that it was an actor portraying him, it was Dae Gil himself. I felt the same way about Oh Joon and Dr. Min. Perhaps he matured a lot because of the hardship he went through with his military scandal. I don’t know what the military did to him but it was certainly one of the best things that happened to him.

    • Oh, I appreciate what you are saying but I really feel differently about his earlier works. I mean, yes he was “green” and he has definitely evolved but I did see his innate talent. Now, maybe my perspective is different because I saw his later work first, but hmmm I think that should actually make more critical of his earlier work. Interesting! I see a lot of potential in him while watching Into the Sunlight and more so with Daemang. His eyes spoke, they always did. I assume there are things that I don’t catch, such as enunciation and details like that, that might’ve gotten better and I can’t tell because I don’t speak korean, but the eyes, those eyes always spoke IMO 😉

      • It’s interesting to hear your perspective as well. I do remember watching these two dramas years ago, but I just didn’t notice JH at all back then. I tried to watch Daemang again after reading your review, but I just could not finish it. His performance wasn’t bad at all but I didn’t like the drama itself. His earlier work that I really like is School. He was just perfect in that role. 😉

        • Awww my review made you try? I love that! It makes me feel kind of proud and shy too 😀 But too bad you didn’t get into it 🙂 It is a bit slow, like most old kdrama I suppose. School is a pending item for me still. As well as Successful Story of a Bright Girl.

    • Well you know, there are some old American actors, who after they returned from WWII their whole acting style changed, they were stronger, grittier, and they played some of the best and complex roles of their lives, like actor James Stewart and Henry Fonda for example. Of course at that time the scene of the world changed and things became more darker and less hopeful than pre WWII, but I think being in that kind of situation puts you in a different frame of mind. No more playing around, the army whips you into shape and for actors it carries over into their performances. I don’t know if it applies to Jang Hyuk, but I think in some way it does. There’s a seriousness about war that changes a man, though there is no war going on in S. Korea, there is always the threat from N.K. and I can imagine its drummed into the soldiers during training.

      “I noticed that JH was able to speak with his eyes…I don’t know if this makes sense but I don’t know how else to put it.”

      I totally get what you are saying. His eyes speak volumes. He’d have been perfect in a 1920’s Korean silent film! lol. But just thinking of Chuno, after he throws the knife at Unnyeon and then see’s her face. He has this ‘OMG moment and the camera just focuses on his eyes as he realizes he might have killed the only person he ever loved in the world, the one who turned him into that Lee Daegil. All those raging emotions came into his eyes in that instant. When I recently made my fan video and used that scene it really impressed on me the acting he does with just his eyes.

      • I see your point about actors playing their best and complex roles after serving in a war. I can only imagine all the emotions you are going to experience in a war, like fear, anger, guilt.. having that life experience is like the foundation for acting. If you never felt fear, you wouldn’t know how to portray fear. And the threat of war and training may have influenced him too.

        I watched Hwasin and I remember that. JH was kind of awkward (adorkable:D) when he made those comments about her looks as he came to her rescue. He is just a beautiful person inside and out. Did you notice that he was on that show to support his friend and so he kept saying to his friend to “use him”?

      • Lady G, where can I see this fan video?

  11. Oh, his words exciting and interesting can he say that his story is boring?
    Oh, if I could read his book,i will read it a hundred times!
    Oh god, that picture ..he puts on long black coat in among the wheat is very very veryyyyyy good looking. Really handsome
    I first saw him in thank you drama and I’m extremely interested in him!
    Model his hair was very hot in thank you drama and his face was very cute.
    Perhaps I did not like the Cuno!
    pecause he died in Cuno.
    i very liked the robber!but he became sick in robber at end episodes
    But I do not know why I love Iris 2!he died in iris 2 too!but i veryyyyyyyyy love jung yoo gun and iris 2

  12. This was wonderful. Thank you, thank you Gumi for translating. I love that I can get to know more about the real man behind those amazing dramas and not just think of him as all these characters. This information is sort of new to me, but I’m glad to read all these translated interviews. And I’m so happy to see what a refreshing, hard-working, gentleman he is too. He truly has become one of my favorite actors in the world. I think my ‘love’ was really stamped, not after watching any one drama, but watching his episode of “Hwasin: Controller of the heart.” a few months back.

    I loved this line: “I think being an actor is like being a puppeteer. The way audience look at the play would differ depending on how the puppet is moved. Apart from how good or bad the character is, how I move it will change the audience’s view on it.”

    I’ve never heard acting put that way before and it’s a brilliant thought. Thinking of Oh Joon in Robbers – Truly, in real life, he’s despicable. You wouldn’t want to know him once you learned what he’d done to people. And you’d certainly be hard-pressed to love him. BUT, with the way JH manipulated the character and the audience feelings, you simply fell in love and showed empathy for him in his situation.

    I remember crying my eyes out watching “Thank You.” between the music and the themes and situations. I’m not a big fan of Gong Hyo Jin,(To me she plays the same ‘weird’ and mumbly girl over and over) but she did do an excellent job in her role. And the little girl tore my heart out. As for his character, I watched this right on the heels of Chuno and I almost felt like I was watching Daegil in modern times. Does anyone think so? Even though “Thank You” was made before “Chuno” you realize why they got him later to play Lee Daegil.

    I really look forward to the second part of this!

    • I used to compare actors to musical instruments, and I saw the directors as the musicians. My thinking was, there are instruments that may sound better or worse, some have better basic material and capacity than others etc. In spanish we even use the word wood (madera) to refer to an actor’s innate talent and potential. In my previous analogy I took away most responsibility from the actors and gave it to the directors. But then, with time, I started to change this view. I started to think of actors more as musicians and the director, as the director of an orchestra. This way, the director still is responsible for the overall flow of the piece but each actor is responsible for their own individual performances while trying to be in harmony with the rest with the guidance of the director. Jang Hyuk’s analogy is even better. He gives the visual of an actor as someone who uses his entire body and repertoire of movements and gestures to convey different emotions and awake different emotions in the audience. He is placing much more responsibility in the actor too. He is thinking and “directing” his puppet while trying to fit into the whole story that the director wants to tell. Very interesting and it does give you an idea of why, he is one of the best actors. It’s not just innate talent and hard work, he actually thinks hard about the characters and their motivations.

      I watched Thank You after I watched The Tree with Deep Roots and Chuno. I was actually surprised that Dr Min didn’t cry as much as his previous (and subsequent) characters. I kind of missed his over emoting :D. In my opinion , he was much more restrained in Thank You. Did you notice the after his girlfriend die he didn’t really cry again? I almost felt that this character was too tough and subtle for my taste and that, if I had only seen Jang Hyuk in this character, I would’ve liked him but maybe not “fall in love” with him. But I loved the series and appreciated Dr Min as another role where Jang Hyuk showed his versatility. And who didn’t adore Bom and Grandpa, and the choco pies???

      • Take easy it Drama fan!
        Abandon! Hyukie not cried!
        Hyukie just cried for lee da hae and dam!um..wait..jang nara as young soon when she went to army.he cried!
        But he can very good makes us want to cry!

      • The idea of actors as instruments is a great illustration too. And it makes sense to use ‘madera’ to describe an actor. (I’m Spanish too.) I guess it’s not that they are ‘wooden’ in performance, but that wood can be used for beautiful things and to create something very special, like an actor once he/she gets going in their role. Jang Hyuk is someone who really takes care to study his craft and put in the best performances he can and he improves all the time. You really broke down what he meant by calling himself a puppet. I agree with you.

        I think Dr. Min was very bitter and not too emotional, except when it came to his girlfriend. I believe that he did cry toward the end again when the mom almost died after going out in the storm. Because they had only j just argued and he basically told her (like Oh Joon!) to go ahead and die. But I can’t remember exactly. You’re right though, he didn’t over emote and I guess that’s good. I seriously want a choco pie. I can’t seem to find them around my way. lol.
        Korean dramas and actors sometimes tend to be ‘overbaked.’ I guess it depends who it is whether I’ll be all full of angst or just roll my eyes. lol. Usually with JH I will cry along with him. Dr. Min wasn’t the role that made me ‘fall in love.’ After the glow of Chuno, where it’s more like, ‘WOW!! Who is this amazing guy?? I grew more attached watching Midas and Tazza and Tree with Deep Roots. There was a scene in Tazza, when he calls the boss lady and basically breaks down in the phone booth, begging and pleading with her to help him and demanding to know why she turned on him. It was fantastic. Before that you felt like, okay, this guy is getting to big for his britches and greedy, but that scene you have a complete turn around and you start to root for him to get his revenge.

        • You mean Midas! Yes oh that scene! You make me want to rewatch! Awwww his performance and character after that scene got just so much more likable didn’t he? and still he didn’t lose his essence. Midas was a very smart show. His character wasn’t my favorite but that scene was perfect and there is another one, more subtle that I loved. It’s one after he gets out of jail and meets her for the first time. I don’t want to spoil in case this is still a pending item for someone but I hope you know you know which one I’m referring to. He was dressed kind of “poorly” and eating noodles and drinking soju. She went to make sure what she had heard, that he was “destroyed” was true. I love the layers of this scene. How we, the audience knew what his intention was but how it almost seemed like he was sincerely telling her his feelings too. He looked beautiful in that scene too 😀

        • Oh I found choco pies around my area! They are a bit dry but I read a trick on the web. If you warm them for 3 secs on the microwave, they become moist and delish. They are very similar to moon pies I think.

    • Hi Lady G,
      You say you became a fan after watching “Hwasin: Controller of the heart”; what did you see in him in that that won you over?

      • Actually I was already a fan of his from Chuno and other dramas. But seeing him in a real life capacity vs. playing a character really won me over. So now I feel like, I don’t just admire the acting, I can say that as a person, as his true self, he’s a good man. Not like some guys who may be good actors but in real life they are not so nice and professioinal. On Hwaisin, it was the way he answered the questions, his manners, his stories, etc. It was the first time I saw him outside of a role. For example there was one host that kept saying that Jung Yu Mi is not very pretty. Most people find him to be a jerk and he knows it. Imagine a host doing that to a celeb in America?? Then Jang Hyuk stepped in like a gentleman and made a lovely comment about her looks. Like, the more you look at her, the more attractive she was and there’s a naturalness about her. I can’t quote it but it was something to that effect. He smoothed over a potentially embarrassing and rude situation. I loved that. 🙂

  13. Thank you so much Gumi. I know how much work these translations entail.I love this interview. Even though he is not saying anything entirely new to us, the first person way of telling it is precious. I loved his ^^ and haha lol and what you wrote in parenthesis. Jang Hyuk comes off as a sweet sincere man. He is just so funny telling us to bare with him even if his story is boring lol! We love you adorkable one! You will never bore us! I seriously wouldn’t mind him yapping endlessly 😀

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