[Interview] Jang Hyuk, his passion gets stronger every year

original article from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=106&oid=312&aid=0000047071

Translated by Gumi.


Jang Hyuk recently finished filming MBC drama ‘Fated to Love You’ which gained attention due to his reunion with Jang Na Ra after 12 years. Starting with the shampoo scene, his character in the drama Lee Gun was completed as a comical(manga-like) character and breathed in Jang Hyuk. It seems to be a current trend in drama character making, to exaggerate a character in the beginning for comic setting and let it flow smoothly into melo scenes in the latter half of the drama; and Jang Hyuk completely owned it. He credited it all to Jang Na Ra who ‘built the house well and waited for him’, but it is his own work that balanced out the energy between comic and melo scenes.

Jang Hyuk got famous as ‘little Jung Woo Sung’ after his debut, with his rebellious mask. Through movie ‘Volcano High’ he grew as a promising movie star, and he received loved for a long time as a highteen star. After he aged a little, he added on his filmography a couple more of representative works, such as ‘Chuno (Slave Hunters)’ or ‘Tree with Deep Roots’. In his 17 years of acting life, what stands out are projects overwhelming with his unique energy. That’s why he is always called ‘passion Jang Hyuk’. Wouldn’t ‘Fated to Love You’ also be recorded as one of those projects for him?

Jang Hyuk of September 2014 who just finished this FTLY seemed like he had a lot of thoughts. No matter what the question was, he immediately poured out long answers. It’s a proof that he thinks a lot usually.


Q: Lee Geon feels like a Japanese manga character, with his unique and protruding characteristic. On the other hand, there are some characters that are natural and don’t protrude. As an actor, which type do you feel more comfortable?

JH: When I act, should I adjust the character so that it fits me, or should I build it from scratch, I’m still not sure which approach is right. Maybe it’s a question of ‘chicken or egg, which one is first?’ But what I think these days is that expressing a lot is only possible when you know a lot. On my second thought, both are right. Me going to the character, or bringing the character to me.

Q: Which case was it for Lee Gun?

JH: In acting Lee Gun, I thought of controlling him through keep hitting him, like dribbling. If we have to score a goal through this scene, director and Jang Na Ra was passing the ball to each other, and I was dribbling the ball.

Q: I heard you paid attention to hairstyle or fashion as well. On the other hand, also heard you completely trust your staffs in that area and depend on them.

JH: I don’t sit in the back seat of a car when my manager drives. I always sit on his side. If I sit in the back, my manager becomes my chauffeur. But if I sit next to him and talk, he becomes my colleague. And I talk about the drama with stylist staff sitting in the back. We read scenario together and find the answer together. I believe we have to make it together.

Q: Did you watch original version of FTLY by any chance?

JH: I did. What I felt after watching was that, it’s same gimbap (rice roll…? korean sushi..? seaweed wrap…? how do I translate it?) but of a different kind. Isn’t gimbap something like that? If differs by what material you put in. In Taiwan original version, the male lead wasn’t as comic as Lee Gun. In our case, first our director wanted a comedy, and I answered ‘If you want I can throw it all, but please just make sure I can come back.’ Because director made me trust him, I could play Lee Gun. On top of all, Jang Na Ra the actress built the house well. She built the house well, so that when I came back to join her, it wasn’t awkward at all.

Q: FTLY had good responses from China as well. Is it because the original was popular? Were there other reasons?

JH: I think it’s partly because the original was popular, but partly also because the re-interpretation got positive response.

Q: I feel like you would’ve felt how the market has enlarged, by seeing good responses from China.

JH: After I filmed SSBG I went to Japan for the first time, and I was surprised. I was like, how do they know it all, what we filmed in Korea? This time I think it was also thanks to Jang Na Ra. She’s a convincing actress in China.


Q: This drama also parodized your past experience as rapper TJ.

JH: I wanted to open a new genre back then. 14 years ago, the only way actor could actively open a new genre was through music videos. But then if I don’t have an album, I couldn’t make music videos, so I ended up publishing an album. Since I was a bad singe, we decided that I’ll be a rapper. (laughs) After all these time past, there’s a lot of comments on it, but back then my original intention was that.

Q: Then what is the ‘new area’ you want to open up now?

JH: There are a lot more projects I haven’t done than projects I have done. Big or small, in every project I do I can try something new. Rather than the grand thought of ‘opening the new area’, I think it’s more like, what I do this year is different from what I did last year, so I think I can naturally challenge myself like that. I realized this was my 30th project. That means I was on 30 different filming sites, and every single one of them were different. There’s a difference in media, such as movie and drama, but even when I work with same director, with different characters and different fellow actors, they were all different.

Q: For your 2014 version vision, can’t you also think of getting on hallyu (korean Wave)? You have filmed in China before as well.

JH: I don’t have grand vision or anything. I’m not a hot trendy actor in 20s, and it depends on what project, what situation I’m given. Right now I don’t have any specific plan. I guess there’s a potential, only when coincidences let things work out.

Q: Last year you experienced MBC Sunday Night’s ‘Real Men’. What was the motivation behind your participation?

JH: I went to army in my late 20s and returned in November as a 31 years old. In retrospect, I was busy with thoughts at that time. It was when the first digit of my age was changing, and if I just think about it, when I was shifting from 19 to 20 I started acting. Those times when the first digit of my age changed was when I experienced big changes. But then I was busy acting, and I felt like I was forgetting a lot of things. So last year, in my late 30s, I felt like maybe I could get those feelings again if I go to army before my first digit changes. If I thought of it as a variety show, I wouldn’t have gone. I went in with those thoughts, and indeed I could feel something new. I was in the army for one week every month, but compared to the other three weeks, that one week was a longer time and I felt so much more.


Q: Now that we are talking about age, you are still characterized with your passion regardless of years passed. Don’t you ever get tired on filming sites?

JH: Filming sites are always fun and enjoyable. Of course there are days when things just don’t work out and I feel down. But I love the energetic feelings on site. In my point of view, it sometimes feels almost like selling something on markets. I made something today, on some days I sell a lot, on other days I don’t.

Q: At your company, you are famous for ‘coming to work’ earlier than managers.

JH: My dream before was to become an office worker. My father worked in construction industry, he often went somewhere far like Saudi Arabia. Seeing him, I wanted to have a job that allows me to come back home at 6pm. So I like the feelings of office works. It’s already my 20th year in my company. When I go to the company, I can read or go to practice room and practice, and my work-out place is also near.

Q: You dreamed for office work that much, but ended up being an actor.

JH: It’s a funny mystery. I never imagined myself becoming an actor, but I ended up becoming one. Life is funny like that. When I was 19 and was talking about future with my father, one if my father’s friends was a professor in Physical Education university. I was doing sports at that time, but didn’t have a strong vision and that friend said ‘since he did art/sports(in Korea, they lump together art, music, sports together) area, why don’t you let him do another thing in that area’. So I tried fine arts. And somehow I experienced theater, and it was so fun. I ended up going to college for theater/movie major. But even until that moment, I didn’t have strong goal of becoming an actor, I just worked hard as a habit. I worked hard when I did sports as well. But after filming a drama ‘Model’, I realized that actor is a job that has to get ‘picked up’ by others. You are in a competition, and if you don’t have your color and your charm, no one hires you. I tried out in countless auditions, and learned that it doesn’t work if I just throw what I want to throw. I had to first create common ground, and then throw my thing. And I met some attractive actors on filming sites, and felt ‘Actor is an amazing job. I have to build it up like they do.’ As time passed, I enjoyed it more, and I wanted to do it more.

Q: Do you snap out of characters easily?

JH: I’m pretty cold in that aspect. No matter how much in love I am with my character, I’m well trained to cut it off. When I’m working, sometimes I end up filming two different projects at once. If I’m still holding on this character, I cannot act that character. In this kind of situations, I learned to just snap back to myself. Even when I’m not filming, when I go to promotional works and get treated well, I keep thinking ‘This is not mine’.

Q: What is your strength in your opinion?

JH: Passionate. That’s my only strength, there’s nothing else. But this passion is getting stronger every year. I think I am now more passionate than my 21 years old self.


Q: When do you have time for yourself alone?

JH: During dawn time at home, I spend time by myself. I often watch movies, and it feels like going on a trip. I feel that when I’m working out as well. In fact, regular working out is a promise with yourself, and keeping that promise is a hard thing.

Q: Is there any words you want to tell your hoobae (junior actors)?

JH: I want to tell them to experience the filming site a lot, come out and tackle it. I met great sunbae(senior)s on site, and spent most valuable time there. These days I often join after party of premieres as well. If I become friends with actors I meet there, it helps when I’m acting later.

Q: What kind of person do you want to be?

JH: I don’t have a particular idea about what kind of actor I want to be. But these days, since I have children, I want to become something more than a good father, I want to be a good person. Before, there was only being an actor in my life. Now, being a good person is my bigger goal. A person always have good and bad aspects, but I want to be one with more good aspects.


12 responses to “[Interview] Jang Hyuk, his passion gets stronger every year

  1. Thank you so much for the translation so that I can know Hyuk better! I really want to read his book and hope it can be published in English as well.

  2. He looks really good in orange

  3. I wonder why not trying the internatinal market. I`m sure he`s worthwhile.

  4. So happy to meet this actor “at the top of his game. ” May he have many more years and wonderful projects to share with us. I am not a fan of “filming/scriptwriting on the go” and feel that a significant part of FTLY’s success was due to its being a remake; therefore providing the opportunity for severe editing upfront. Here’s hoping his future projects are up to his level of talent. Thank you to all who provide these insightful translations to help us better understand this wonderful actor/human being.

  5. thank you gumi for sharing your talent again with us!
    i wish i could hear him say all this and i swear
    i will never get tired of listening to his voice.

  6. This makes me wish I could read his books. He has so much to say and a lot of depth and dedication, as he said, passion, for what he does in life. And he works hard. That’s a fine quality.

  7. Gumi ssi..gomapseumnida

  8. his last sentence…..Lord, why this man is so adorable…love him not only as an actor but also as a person….thank you gumi for your hard work translating all these “treasure” for us..

  9. Thank you Gumi, for bringing us all the news n updates of JH.

    How can we love this an even more???! D:

  10. JH is so precious, so thorough. His responses are so well thought out and to the point. Definitely shows the passionate person and actor that he is. I just rave at the fact that he has so much to say all the time and it’s always food for thought, never really boring how others joke about it haha.
    Bless your soul, Gumi. Thank you!

  11. he looks like he has lost a lot of weight

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