Following is interview done by tenasia, posted in August 22. I loved the interview, and yesterday I realized that it’s not only me who enjoys his interview, so here it goes, another translation for u guys 🙂 But it contains some spoiler from the movie so beware of it. The original article can be found in http://m.news.naver.com/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=106&oid=312&aid=0000017639
Which one is harder, a soldier or a rescue worker? I asked a random question to Jang Hyuk. Currently what defines Jang Hyuk are those two words, a soldier and a rescue worker. He is meeting the audience as a soldier on television and a rescue worker on movie screen. And he is getting hot response for both of the roles. ‘Wow, that must be hard for him,’ you think when you see him. In his age which is almost reaching 40, he is more ‘passionate’ than anyone else. On TV, and on movie screen, that passion just shows. That should be the reason why people love him.
He has yet another image on shows such as ‘The Guru Show’ or ‘Hwashin’. He has this weird charm that “makes a variety show into a documentary”. You throw a ‘joke’ at him, and he answers with an ‘academic paper’. I guess that’s just his personality, not a made-up image. In the interview that took place right before the release of the movie ‘The Flu’, this ‘documentarifying of joke’ continued. I asked without much thought, ‘which one is harder, a soldier or a rescue worker?’ but his answer contained his own ‘philosophy’. I could feel the sincerity and weight in his words. He has experienced a ‘fall’ from a hot star’s position due to the army scandal. But he changed the crisis into an opportunity. Jang Hyuk returned, with a stronger self both inside and outside. And he has been continuing his run. This actor, he is pretty attractive.
Q. Have you seen the reaction to the movie? Tell me anything you remember.
JH: They say it’s a disaster movie, and is scary although it’s talking about hope. And they also say they get weird feelings when someone coughs near them. Didn’t the swine flu a few years ago cause so much fear, especially because of the rumors? My child was just born at that time, so I could feel the fear in the movie more personally. In the movie, the virus is indeed deadly, but the rumor spreading in the camp and the confusion is even scarier.
Q. Some people say it’s ‘Park Minha’s movie’. What do you think about this?
JH: I don’t care whose movie it is. If I wanted to make this my movie, I would’ve tried to portray a hero. I understand that some people think Kang Jigoo’s character is unreal. But even in a war situation, there are people who run away for their own lives, but there are also people who stay and protect. That’s how balance is kept. So that’s why this is a people’s story. And in that story, there is a child named Mir acted by Park Minha. The more important point of the movie is what feeling it gives to the audience.
Q. Kang Jigoo tries to protect Mir so much, but she’s not even his family. And he falls in love with her mom Inhae (Soo Ae), but she’s not being nice to him at all. What causes him to keep protect the mother and the girl? ‘Crush on her’ does not seem like an enough explanation.
JH: Of course ‘crush’ was there, too. But it’s not a monotone reason. I heard soldiers joke around and laugh with each other right before a battle to get rid of nervousness. I think it’s similar. You share the same feelings. For example, if ‘Real Man’ was some other variety show, there wouldn’t be the sense of camaraderie. What kind of experience you share really matters. There’s also the matter of guilt. He is with this child, and at one point he loses her. Just think about how you will feel if you were responsible for your friend’s child, and you lost him. He tells Inhae that she should send the kid away when he finds out Mir is infected. He feels guilty, sorry, and very common and typical thoughts going on in his mind. Well, I guess the part he puts his arm around Inhae’s shoulder is out of ‘crush’, haha.
Q. As I watched the movie, I thought it would’ve been really hard for you. And seeing Kang Jigoo, he certainly feels like a hero, but after hearing your explanation, I guess not necessarily.
JH: I wasn’t too challenged physically. I have pretty good stamina, haha. Personally, I found getting the character right much harder than physical hardships. When I first saw the scenario, I said ‘Hey this kind of person doesn’t exist’. He felt unreal. I said ‘Please make him look not too heroic’ and started filming. But there was one thing I could sympathize with him. If something ‘pulls’ me, I just go with it. And Kang Jigoo was such a person too. That, sometimes, can seem to be heroic. But if you really analyze it, he actually didn’t really help others except Mir. He didn’t really have a grandiose goal of saving everyone. He simply wanted to send Mir to her mom. He wasn’t being a hero, but he was just following his emotions, and ended up looking active. When we were actually filming, we even thought he wasn’t doing much so we put in some scenes for him. But in the end those scenes got editted out.
Q. If it was actual Jang Hyuk, what would you have done in a situation like the movie?
JH: If my family is there, I’ll get in. When I was young, I couldn’t stand someone else yelling at my little brother. I could maybe yell at him, but not anyone else. But if I’m in a different region, and if I’m asked to vote pro or con of closing the city…I don’t think I can do it.
Q. I just came up with a random question. You currently have two sons. You acted with Park Minha this time, didn’t you think it’d be nice to have a daughter as you acted with her?
JH: I thought A LOT that it’d be nice to have a daughter. But it’s 50-50 chance. It could be a son, it could be a daughter. The important fact is, I can’t choose. So there’s a chance I’ll end up with three sons. Hahaha.
Q. You have already worked with director Kim Sung Soo in ‘Please Teach Me English’. That’s already ten years ago. How was director Kim on the filming site after ten years?
JH: He looked happy on site. I think that’s the biggest difference. Director feels a lot like a general. He has to be in control of everything and move everything. He still has that feeling, but that feeling became much more delightful. My personal wish is that directors of that age can work more.
Q. How much percentage did the director have in the reason you chose ‘The Flu’.
JH: 100%. This may be a little different story, but I think the most representative disaster movie is ‘Contagion’. ‘The Flu’ is also a disaster movie, but it is more focused on different kinds of people. ‘Warrior’ also shows different kinds of warriors in a limited setting in Koryeo dynasty. I thought this scenario also shows different sides of people in the limited infected area. That’s what the director is good at.
Q. He is known to be a fierce, scary director.
JH: True. But there’s a difference between a scary person and a strict person. He’s more a strict person. And when he did ‘Please Teach Me English’, he was actually really kind. I heard the rumor that he was scary, but I didn’t experience it myself, haha. I’ve known him since 1996, and director Kim at that time would encourage even extras, telling them “This scene’s main role is you.” And even when he does get mad, it doesn’t go over a day. He lets it go.
Q. This is irrelevant to your movie, but I can’t not ask about ‘Real Man’. You had the military service scandal in the past. And currently you are doing a military variety show, ‘Real Man’. I’m curious what you felt when you started it. I’m sure some people were saying “He didn’t even go to the army properly, and he’s doing an army show”.
JH: This may not be the direct answer, but I felt the words “Peaceful sea cannot make a skilled sailor, violent sea makes a skilled sailor” (Gumi: I’m not sure if this is the right translation). Anyway, what has been done cannot be undone. I have to carry them till the end. But if I get conscious of it and start limiting myself, I feel like I can’t do anything. I did start ‘Real Man’ precisely because it is army. In my late 20s I was imagining my 30s, but I ended up starting my 30s in army. I felt like I had clear footprints of what I had done in my 20s, but the army swept them all away. But then as I lived with my original name, not Jang Hyuk, in the army, I was slowly finding myself. I lived every day well, leaving clear footprints. After I came back from the army, the strong yearning for acting changed me a lot. I started to have more active approach, and thankfully I got to meet good dramas and I came to this point. And I watched ‘Real Man’, and it didn’t feel just like a variety show to me. So I thought if I do it, I could get the feeling of starting again, and I wanted to do it. I also thought about, what would my children think when they find out about this? I think it won’t be easy. So partly, I thought, if I could at least show them doing something to make it up, wouldn’t it be a little better? That kind of thought was combined. I still don’t think RM is just a variety show. And that one week of filming is a ‘healing’ experience for me. And I get to enjoy three weeks of freedom, haha.
Q. You experienced being a soldier and a rescue worker. Which one is harder?
JH: As I do Jeet Kune Do and many other sports, I get a lot of questions, ‘Is this one stronger or that one stronger?’ I really don’t know. It depends on how the person got used to it, how long he did it, and how much experience he has. I have actually been a soldier so I can tell that experience, but I haven’t experienced being a real rescue worker. But I did get the feeling that rescue workers are not doing it entirely out of noble duty. There certainly is strong sense of duty, but the comradeliness between the workers is really important. There are too many accidents happening, but there’s always lack of workers, so when one of them is off duty, others have to cover more. Off duty person also doesn’t feel comfortable about it. So that sense of camaraderie was a strong motive.
Q. Your first drama after the army was ‘Thank You’. People associate Jang Hyuk with charisma, before and after the army. But personally, I liked your image in ‘Thank You’ as well. But I feel like your image is getting fixed to one side.
JH: I’m totally feeling what you’re feeling too. An actor and his public image are two different things. I did do different projects, such as ‘Searching for the Elephant’, ‘Maybe (Rabbit and the Lizard)’, ‘The Client’, but they seem to be less appealing than my other works. I am keep trying. And I don’t get anxious and think, ‘Isn’t it too late?’. I try my best at what I’m currently doing, and I try out different things, too. Important thing is to separate myself from my characters. There will be good moments and bad moments, so if I don’t separate myself I will end up being shaken. Or at least be influenced.
Q. I’m seeing you a lot in talk shows these days. Of course there’s movie promotion to do, but it also looks like a strategy to change up your image. To expose your more delicate side.
JH: I’m more emotional than rational. So I don’t move according to strategies. For example, I never got out of the company I started with. If I start a project seeing a director, I go till the end seeing only that director. Now I’m getting good responses in TV shows, but how long will that last? I don’t think it will last forever. My essence is always an actor.