Credit: Marie Claire
English translation: Tenshi Akuma, Wen Lee, Springsuk_USA all from ECI
Korean to Chinese translation refer to HK Nation
Poster design: Saad Otabi from ECI
Translation in text:
JKS: I want to work as an actor until the day I die.
This is his direct answer. Jang Keu Suk uses his articulate tone to dismantling his acting methodology. Between his talks, there are some little pauses. In the end, we recognized again that Jang Keun Suk is a natural-born actor.
Many people say he is not like a normal actor. Here to be clear is he is not a ‘wrong’ but a ‘different’ actor. He doesn’t want to be a mystic. On the contrary he utilizes social media like SNS to express his sense of presence. Same as his overseas concerts, he doesn’t use bodyguards to hide himself; he doesn’t just stay in the hotel except his official scheduled day. This is one of episodes while he was staying in Japan for concerts. He tweeted: “7:00pm, tennis meeting. If you come, you will see me.” Soon there were many fans coming to the site. He didn’t show up in a special tennis outfit or neat hairdo. He always projects the real him into fans’ eyes. He does not keep enough distance from fans to make him a star. If he is happy, he won’t hide the feeling. If he is touched, he won’t hesitate to take action. This is Jang Keun Suk.
JKS: Very often, my managers and the agent company complain about me. I understand their feeling. Artist is like merchandise in a sense, so probably they would like me to show the perfect state to the public. But, do you think no defect on the surface really means perfect? I wish I was a glass box that people can see inside. If we understand each other better, there will be fewer cases from expectation to disappointment. Even the chance is very rare, but at least I’m feeling like my fans and I are looking into each other like look through glass box to understand each other.
How many different points he has compared from other artists? Do you think it’s reasonable enough to understand his inner feeling, judging only by his remarks like he doesn’t care for what others say at all? How can he not be hurt? How can he not be concerned? Nevertheless, Jang Keun Suk reacts to what he has done so far in a calm manner, which helps him to improve.
When it comes to choose dramas, it is the same. If you check his filmography, there is a clear line drawn between before and after ‘You’re Beautiful’. Before YAB, he didn’t have any prejudice against genres. He played in a low budget movie, a trendy drama, and also a fusion historical drama. Just like the movie ‘WALL E’, it was hard to distinguish which one was real JKS. For actors of the same age, JKS was a good model. However, it came into question after YAB that led JKS to be ‘Keun-chan’. Surely there was a bit difference from each drama he played around that time, but the inspiration that impressed the audience was more of similar kinds. We don’t know if Keun-chan effected JKS’ choice on his acting works. But JKS is not an actor who doesn’t have the guts to choose challenging works.
JKS: Sometimes I ask myself, “Didn’t I have confidence to give up ‘golden goose’ at that time? Did I fall into playing flower boy characters?” However, after I asked myself over and over, the answer was always NO. To see the result from TV ratings that talks in this world, my recent works didn’t get great scores. Didn’t I change my direction just because I didn’t get a good review as earlier ones? As an actor, choosing a drama in which I play the role is the biggest responsibility. Until now I’ve never avoided taking the responsibilities. In conclusion, I won’t regret my choices as long as I choose it by myself. I think everything has its best time. That’s why I just chose the work that suits my age, 27 years old. I don’t think I can play flower boy when I’m in my mid-30s or 40s. It is something like that. For me, it was my criteria for choosing the drama that I think I can put my soul in my 20s fully.
In recent years, Jang Keun Suk is like a real flower boy. How many actors in their 20s can be comfortable playing a role of guitarist with long hair? He said he would keep acting till the day he dies. For him, I think dramas in which he played flower boys would come to his mind as the best moment that he wants to return among all his filmography.
When a project is done, an actor’s heart would be like ember. When he finished ‘Beautiful Man (Bel Ami)’ shooting, his heart was like that too. That’s why he looks calm as if he switched all off. Today at shooting site Jang Keun Suk didn’t show me anything. Except his pupils were moving like they could talk, there was no any acting modification. Thanks to that, we succeeded to shoot his more highly- sensitive photos than we expected to. But honestly, we are really not used to see his calmness.
JKS: I’m in a resting state. I’m taking a rest for a while. What matters is what kinds of views I have. That’s why we need to pause for a while. Right now I don’t want to run.
Jang Keun Suk who is full of energy all the time and whose emotional climax reaches to the high point is common for us. But this gentle and quiet person is also another side of himself. He always expresses himself openly. In fact, he looks full of confidence. He doesn’t hesitate to keep going forward (ZIKZIN) and knows how to speak out. At the same time, he also knows how to stay behind someone to give support, without showing himself. This is Actor Jang Keun Suk in deed. It could be our wrong assumption that we’ve thought of Jang Keun Suk. I don’t think we couldn’t believe the truth. We just tried not to believe it. I don’t think we didn’t know such Jang Keun Suk. We just didn’t want to see or know such him.
I don’t know since when, but people have come to enjoy ‘the slow life’. The era that ‘fast speed’ represented Korea was over. Recently Koreans prefer to live ‘slowly, gradually and carefully’ and they eventually hope to live in such a life. We can say the same for broadcast procedures. It’s been so long since we haven’t seen stimulating materials on TV. Nowadays TV seems to attract viewers’ attention by showing a person’s failure, putting him in front of the camera defenselessly. That’s why Jang Keun Suk who always moves very fast on everything has stopped recording his life for a while. He is now spending time reflecting on himself, not worrying about which direction to go.
JKS: How can we fly here and there without a stop? There are also times that I feel down and lethargic. I don’t have any secrets how to lift my spirit easily. I just have a thought that ‘time will pass away’. I’m trying to be optimistic and take action simply. Keeping an empty head and taking a rest repeatedly brought me more space to a certain extent.
A series of repetitions: recognition, acceptance and satisfaction. It’s true that not everything will do well in order like we organize them beforehand in our heart.
At present, he has good scripts, holds concerts every year and also has fortnightly Audio Podcast program ‘ZIKZIN Radio’ where people can hear his voice. He has two CF filming this week alone. As his SNS seems almost closed, his fans are worried about him. Under these circumstances around him, he can’t keep quiet even for a short time.
JKS: As I promised to my fans doing ZIKZIN Radio, I can’t stop it. Because of copyrights, I can’t sing even my song for them on the radio. But I believe we can build a bond to some extent through reading messages from fans all over the world. Sometimes, I feel that ZIKZIN Radio might be more useful to share my feelings with fans and give inspiration to them rather than meeting them in person. I find it’s interesting.
The more he tries, the more he feels excited and enjoys himself. Even so, he needs to pause for a breath on the way. Jang Keun Suk is that kind of man. His hand picking up his iced coffee moved smoothly and slowly like a snail. The words he needs now is not harsh ones like a drill or sweet ones like a candy. Just giving him some time and waiting for his breakthrough would be enough to show our support to him.
Over the last few years, Jang Keun Suk has rushed through life at the speed of light. 20 years of experience has reached an unbearable state. It’s not easy for him who had lived his life as an actor only for a long time, but recently started to live as a singer too, releasing his own albums. He would have felt burdened with a feeling of pressure. He needs time. Apart from waiting for him until he is ready to restart running, saying “ZIKZIN”, we can’t do anything special for him. Now is the time for a brake.
JKS: I want to live as an actor for as long as possible. In the end, the one that I have to focus on is my work of acting. I always have thought the same, but I can’t guarantee that all the works I choose will be safe and successful. In my idea, flawless artificial flowers are less of a reality. For me, I prefer real flowers with horns and decent amount of scars because they have vitality. I think they are more beautiful.
27 years old. It’s an age when everything will be a wonderful experience for us. Jang Keun Suk is always honest and straightforward in all sincerity. This is one of the reasons that we can’t turn our back on Actor Jang Keun Suk!