[Esquire July] Jang Hyuk, He Lives By the Manual


Rejoice, our mighty Hyukie came back with his mega sexy magazine photoshoots!! omg he is looking soooo ridiculously beautiful…..as always.

Thanks to janghyuk_no.1 from instagram for posting the photos and interview. Follow her at https://instagram.com/janghyuk_no.1/ 

Translated by myself (Gumi).

Jang Hyuk, He Lives By the Manual

Press a button, and you get all you want. More flawless than the newest smartphone is Jang Hyuk’s own quality-guaranteed manual. There is a reason why he is in demand for more than 20 years.

Q. I heard you were filming a movie in China.

It’s a noir movie. I filmed it for 40 days in Taiwan.

Q. How is filming abroad?

It is very different from filming in Korea. You film for 40~50 days, and since the time period is shorter we start with a very detailed and precise storyboard. I had no problem working with actors from Sinosphere. Co-starring actors Simon Yam or Wallace Huo are all veterans, we had fun together.


Q. You were the icon of rebellion when you had your debut.

My debut drama <Model> was a pre-production, so although it was broadcasted in 1997, my actual debut was in 1996. I filmed it for about a year. And the next project I did was the movie <Zzang>. Outside and inside, the character had a masculine vibe, and after it I had a series of similar roles. Including <Volcano High>.

Q. Then how do you feel now, after 20 years since Debut?

I feel comfortable at filming site now. Of course it is not always fun and enjoyable. There are days that are excruciatingly painful, or when I get irritated. But the joy when I move keenly, feeling every nerve of my body…that’s only possible at filming site.

Q. So you learned how to enjoy your work?

I didn’t dream of becoming an actor since young, but I learned a lot at filming site observing others. Wow, actor is an amazing job. This actor has this kind of charm, that actor deserves respect for that aspect…I reached a stage where I truly enjoy my work from within.


Q. You have numerous hit projects over past 20 years. <School>, <Successful Story of a Bright Girl>, <Tazza>, <Midas>, <Iris2>, <Chuno>, etc. They are all over different genres, too.

I think my age right now is the great age for an actor. In this occupation, it is really important who is around you. I have met great senior and junior actors who have helped me out, and created synergy with me. There are certain genres that work well at certain time, too. In 2002, romantic comedies were on tide so <Successful Story of a Bright Girl> also got good responses. When I filmed <Fated to Love You> with Jang Na Ra again last year, of course romantic comedy is less common these days, but it was retro and fresh at the same time.

Q. Seems like you don’t have much limits or prejudices for roles you play.

It turned out that way because I think it is important to show versatility as an actor. I believe a real actor should not limit himself in form and time, and should show various aspects via one-episode dramas, movies, or dramas.

Q. You did historical dramas consecutively, with <Shine or Go Crazy> and <Empire of Lust>.

Lee Bang Won is a character I had wished to act from before. Lee Bang Won in <Empire of Lust> is very different from interpretations that previously existed. He was more…on the edge? I interpreted him as the one who had to be strategic, and who also was thirsty for his father’s acknowledgement. <Shine or Go Crazy> had 24 episodes. I did wish it was a little longer so that we could more fully develop the story. It felt a little rushed.


Q. Was variety show experience completely different?

<Real Men> was not really just a variety show for me, it was an opportunity for me to look back on my 30s. I lived a long time with name Jang Hyuk, and when I was called Jeong Yong Joon (Jang Hyuk’s real name) at the army, it made me reflect a lot. So I thought <Real Men> would remind me of the time spent at the army, and the army environment would give me an opportunity to stir up something in me.

Q. You look consistently great when you work. You are really good at keeping in shape.

Now that I’ve done it for so long, it became a part of me. It’s the same with acting. Any thing is difficult at first, but as you keep doing it you get know-how and it becomes fun.

Q. Actors these days do SNS a lot as well. Revealing and expressing is more in trend than being mysterious.

It hasn’t been long since I started SNS. At first, I was cautious because I was afraid things could be interpreted differently from intention depending on different views.  More so  because I’m an actor. But at some point, my thought changed. Wouldn’t it be fine if I share just some aspects of comfortable everyday life? I do think communication is necessary.


Q. You did a photoshoot holding smartphones. Everyone would agree, but smartphones are leading the world now.

Not only actors, but most people around are being strongly influenced by smartphone these days. It allows you to do many things at once, and connects you with those far away, so it is definitely convenient. However, I feel like it also makes you get a little distant from those close to you.

Q. The phones you took photos with today are in vivid colors of blue and green. Design has improved greatly.

In 1999, I filmed advertisements for Samsung Anycall folder phone. Back in those days, cell phones were huge in their sizes. Functions are of course important in phones, but designs are very important as well. Now smartphones are also serving a role as fashion accessories. The era where it was only used for phone calls has passed. Now you use it in various ways.

Q. One of the best roles of smartphones is camera function. The phones you filmed today can take a picture with simple two taps. Do you take selfies a lot?

I don’t take a ton of them, but I do find them useful to record that I was there at that time. Selfies represent the time and space I belonged to.

Q. Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Jong Kook, your same-aged friends of Dragon Brothers, are having their prime time these days.

They are my friends who started working together at the young age. It is not easy to continue working as a celebrity. I am grateful that my close friend group can continue working together. They will keep doing great.

Q. I feel like you are the icon of renovation and challenge. Your challenge for Sinosphere market is one example. Pioneering the new area takes a lot of energy. Don’t you want to walk an easier path?

In pop culture, actors need to be artistic and yet commercial at the same time. There needs to be some strategic plans. Of course there is a language problem, but more important than language barrier is how to accept different culture and build cross-cultural relationship. Filming a movie or drama is similar with accepting new and different culture. Exposure to different genres broadens your experience and makes you grow. That’s why I keep moving on.

Q. As an actor who represents X generation, you are a 40 year old who still pulls off romance acting well.

In this career, nothing can be taken for granted. The work you have been doing every year can suddenly disappear. I think I just gave it all under my given circumstances. I focused on how to create something of my own.


Q. When you first debuted, did you expect you to be in this position after 20 years?

I wished so. After the first drama, I questioned a lot, ‘Can I make a living from this?’ Even as I did try-outs, I had doubts that this was my path. As time passed, I learned what suits me little by little, and formed opinions on what I wanted to try acting. If I were asked to act roles I played in the past again, I’m sure that although I improved in skill I wouldn’t be able to deliver the same emotion.

Q. Aren’t you satisfied with what you did for 20 years?

There are both satisfactions and regrets. But if I’m asked whether I would walk this path again if given a chance to choose, my answer is ‘Yes’. The path I’ve been walking on for 20 years has formed who I am right now.

7 responses to “[Esquire July] Jang Hyuk, He Lives By the Manual

  1. Thank you so much for the translation, I appreciate Admin for the hard work and effect creating this site, thank you once again~~

  2. I had a mini heart attack at that picture of hyuk winking. I also reread this interview twice. This is how I know my jang hyuk thirst was growing mighty large!

  3. Pingback: [Esquire July] Jang Hyuk, He Lives By the Manual | My Korean Wave

  4. Hah! Just watched Flu again tonight…in the middle of Tree with Deep Roots. Finished Chuno, Shine or Go Crazy, Fated to Love You…Wow! Just trying to catch up and keep up with this talent! Color me impressed.

  5. Angela Vaughan

    This interview with my sweet Mr Jang is a testimony to why is fans love him.I love him.he’s one of the best actor inside and outside of Korea. he is also very intelligent and he has a love for humanity.I would love to meet this very smart man.

  6. Thanks so much for the translation! I love reading his interviews. He gives very thoughtful, insightful and intelligent answers. It’s inspiring how he always tries to do his best no matter the circumstances. He sees everything as a chance to broaden his understanding and he comes off so grateful for what he has.
    I love this quote and I feel the same way in regards to actors: “I believe a real actor should not limit himself in form and time, and should show various aspects via one-episode dramas, movies, or dramas.”

    So many actors get typecast, but I can see how Jang Hyuk fights against the grain. I think I’ll rewatch The Flu this weekend! 😀

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