—————- Guest voice—————–
Now I am not forcing myself to laugh, nor am I forcing myself to act.
I am not just simply standing in front of the camera, but standing in front of you, the audience, and making my surroundings happier.
Hypocrisy is always intentionally arranged and flawed, and I only want to make everything frank and happy. Just like the story between you and me
———– by Jang Keun Suk ————–
ADDICTION TO JANG KEUN SUK
Addicted to Jang Keun Suk. This is how he looked like 5 years ago in front of my camera.
Not yet rid of youthful air, no, I should say, JKS still a youth. Here – November 2006.
To this youth, 5 years is a period of brilliant growth.
After drama Hwang Jin-I, he acted Geon Woo, Tae-kyung, Mu-gyul etc, using his own way to digest the characters, learning acting techniques, considering what he should do for his fans, possessing the confidence to express himself in front of the camera.
At this moment, the whole of Asia is addicted to him.
I know he will not become a fleeting Hallyu star.
He understands people’s hearts. Maybe because he is young and may be misunderstood by the world, but he knows that true sincerity is something that connects the world, he knows the meaning of adhering to loyalty and faith, because he still dreams of freedom.
———– by Photographer ZO SUN HI ———–
Z: How have you been recently?
J: Just undergone 6 days of labour exploitation, here I come.
Z: What kind of labour exploitation?
J: How to say it? In my eyes, everything is exploitation.. haha
Z: Didn’t you come directly? But let me understand. You’ve been busy since returning to Korea?
J: Suddenly had to film over the weekend, now not very energetic.
Z: You don’t even have time for romance.
J: Too busy recently, I cannot even find time to review myself. Got a desire for new market. Besides this, no time.
Z: Oh, seems good.
Z: Z-Zin’s theme this time is addiction. Recently, many people are addicted to JKS, me too, haha
J: That’s good, completely my good child, hahaha
Z: I first saw you in the winter of 2006. Based on the photo (of you) then, you seemed really young. No matter in the past or now, you still feel the same.
J: Where was that? Ah, Cheong-dam park.
Z: Good memory. This photo felt like a youthful JKS. Since when did you shed that youthful air?
J: No, I still have it now. Lots of it! Now, I am also a youth!
Z: Really? Not long ago, I watched episode 1 to 16 of “You are Beautiful” in one go, 18 hours! Haha, my eyes hurt but it was interesting.
J: So you like emperor Tae-kyung ~~~
Z: Yes, emperor Tae-kyung. I should meet a man like that, haha. Next time, look for this photo. Unknowingly, JKS has really become a man.
J: Not intentionally. In fact, when filming “Beethoven Virus”, I wanted to become a man quickly, so I did lots of exercise, cut my hair short and kept a moustache. Now I feel it’s hard to do that. When I was young, I wanted to grow up faster, but people will not easily accept this. I’ve had this experience, but with the passing of time, I want to be naturally myself. Now, rather than the idea of trying to become a man, I feel that I am still a youth. Why can’t I become an actor forever with espresso fragrance?
Z: An actor with espresso fragrance is very handsome! I also feel that I am a youth, haha
J: No, that is too much. Too much~~~ hahaha
Z: Nevertheless, everyone is addicted to JKS. What is the meaning of addiction to you?
J: Addiction… addiction is what I am charmed by now? Addiction to my career? I feel that my path now is a path no one has taken before. Not just drawing on the influence of drama to hold fan-meeting overseas. Step by step, I am at the stage of adapting to this market. I’m going to release an album on the Chinese market, and have released an album in Japan. Of course, previous Hallyu actors have also shared the good path, but everyone’s way is different. Also, I feel that it’s not feasible to walk a similar path as others, so I want to consider the path that others have taken so that I can walk out a path of my own. The process in search of this path is my current addiction. Is that being addicted to myself?
Z: Besides acting and singing, what are you addicted to?
J: It should be, escape!
Z: What kind of escape?
J: Until last year, when I went overseas, I could still do the things I wanted to. When fewer people knew me, I could go shopping. I was also very happy during my leisure time and could meet up with friends. Now I cannot. When I was walking along the street previously in Japan, I was recognized and chased. Now the situation is I cannot go out without bodyguards. When I suggested taking a stroll outside the hotel after dinner, staff would be very flustered and say no, I cannot go out. I am a free person, now I have to look at other people’s expression. My relaxation time is also being taken away. Of course, increasing popularity is a good thing, but in spite of this, when I want to feel free and cannot, I feel it is no difference from being in prison.
Z: If you are like Hwang Tae-kyung thinking whether you’d be followed, what will happen if you go out?
J: If fans recognize me, they will greet me, take photo and search for me, but people around me think that this is dangerous, so they restrict me. So the thing that I want to do most now is to escape.
Z: You must feel terrible.
J: Terrible. Sis, I’m now leading the life of an idol, the kind that is unreasonable …
Z: Since when were you unable to go out?
J: From this time when I returned from Japan? No, since the Asia Tour last year. I have not even seen Hong Kong’s night scenery. Fans’ cars are always following mine. Up to now, I don’t even know what Hong Kong’s night scenery is like.
Z: What a tragic thing.
J: I’m completely trapped and cannot see what is outside. It was like that in Shanghai too, not long ago. Fans blocked the road ahead on the expressway. This is the path I have chosen to walk, but I don’t want to live such a trapped life.
Z: I believe that gradually becoming addicted to this situation means that you’ll do very well.
J: When will there be a technique for escaping? I will not give in. If I have to live a life that I do not want to because of popularity management or fear of scandal, I absolutely cannot tolerate it.
Z: Yes, this is more tragic.
J: But I will not lie. I can also handle this in an upright manner. But if there is anything inconvenient or strange, of course it will not be like this. I am not doing anything wrong now.
Z: Hope you can be like this, this is like you. Now, by Korea’s count, are you 24 or 25 years old?
J: In actual fact, 23 years old!
Z: Still a very young age, don’t you think you have fulfilled many dreams already?
J: This year in March, I was feeling a bit bitter. Felt like Asia Tour and Japan Tour have not reached my target. Now the (JKS) craze in Japan may also become a bubble at a certain time. Nothing is certain. This is what I truly feel.
Z: Is everything you’ve said up to now your genuine feelings, or only the question just now?
J: No, not because of interview or wanting to appear cool…
Z: I know you’re working hard not just because you want to be cool, haha
J: Now, there is lots of work, and also more well-known in Asia, but it can all become nothing at any moment. No matter what I am doing, I cannot just anyhow do.
Z: As a photographer having the name of Zo Sun Hi, I also often feel uneasy, because at any time everything may turn into nothing, so no matter what photo, I do my best to shoot it. You have the same fear?
J: Rather than fear, it’s more of a feeling that I do not want to live a life gripped by compulsion. I want to live my dream healthily, not just believing in my popularity now but to work harder, not wanting to live imprisoned and hidden but to live a life of freedom. I want to complete each and every one of my dreams carefully, and will not hide just because of anxiety that I’ll lose what I have now.
Z: What is your dream?
J: My dream? To conquer the world!
Z: Ah yes, you say everywhere that you want to conquer the world. Before this interview, I did a bit of research. One of your lines that I like most is “To the very last, rather than be a star, I want to persevere in acting”. I also often dream that until I die, I will continue photographing. What do you specifically mean when you say that line?
J: I will say this until I die. Even if I step into the coffin, I hope that I will feel anxious about whether I can act this character well, reading the script, [in future I can enter the coffin having seen what is realised of the world map.] Everyone hopes to bring something with them on their last journey; for me, a script is enough.
Z: From our conversation, I feel that you have really been persevering in acting skill, and in being an actor and artiste. Since when did you become like this?
J: Firstly, it’s after Nonstop sitcom when I became confused about my real identity. My co-actors had good career development except for me without any work for 2 years.
Z: Really? Why?
J: It’s just… no characters that I can act in, my acting skill was not very good. At that time, I was playing a lot and not reading the script, so it was very confusing. After I had the thought that I must learn acting, I had lessons at the university for 6 months and after that, entered univeristy and acted Hwang Jin-I, and after that I got to know you.
Z: I don’t really watch television. I first saw you in Hwang Jin-I. Are you unhappy with that?
J: No, it’s all right. I also don’t really like to watch my past dramas, hahaha
Z: Oh so what I watched was just nice. Was it at that time that you started having the thought that you’d like to hold a script until you die?
Z: Will you be able to persist until the very end? Isn’t it possible that at one point in time, you’ll have depression and start hating everything?
J: Depression will affect everyone and not just me. Same for actors. To an artiste, this is a frequent thing. Aren’t ourselves the only person who can solve this? Isn’t this a problem that we have to resolve personally?
Z: Then do you have your special way of resolving this problem? Although I want to continue photography till the day I die, occasionally I do think of giving up, thinking that I should be able to do something else. If this happens, what is your unique way of solving the problem?
J: Mm, first I will seek to be alone. Whether I want to go feel the seabreeze or take a walk, I’ll just do it. My method is to go back to myself and give myself freedom. Not necessary to go travelling or that I must be overseas in order to be free. If the weather is good on the filming set, I can lie down on the ground near the swimming pool, chat with staff, or take a walk by myself, thinking of absolute freedom like this. In order not to lose this kind of time, I often get into arguments. Instead of taking my manager’s car to the filming set, I drive my own car there.
Z: Mm, by yourself?
Z: So during filming, there are many times when you sit by yourself, listen to music by yourself and also reflect alone, what do you usually think of at this time? As I look at you, I’m more curious as to what you are thinking now.
J: What am I thinking? Haha, just in a daze and not thinking of anything at all. Not thinking at all, just being in a daze… observing the passers-by?
Z: What do you look at when you observe passers-by?
J: How they walk, sit, talk or what they drink…. All these things will in the end become a source of my acting, so I observe in detail.
Z: This question has been asked many times before in interviews. I also want to ask once. What is JKS’ acting?
J: An apple tree without apples.
Z: Apple tree without apples …. There are also many other trees.
J: No special meaning, haha
J: There can be peaches or other fruits, in short it’s a tree without fruit! Haha
Z: “Poisoned (or addiction)” in the dictionary means “thinking being influenced by something and as a result cannot make normal judgment”. Besides acting, what can make you be in this situation?
J: Not letting me see myself? Being at home staring into space with nothing to do, eating all that I want to eat, eating when I’m hungry, sleeping when I’m sleepy, drinking when I want to drink. To me, rather than living, I’d rather continue to have dreams. I always have dreams that can be fulfilled in real life. If I abandon a dream, I will have another new dream.
Z: If you don’t fulfill this dream, you’ll have another new dream. Ok, this is your current motivation, right.
J: Yes, hahaha
Z: There are times when one doesn’t feel like working or feel forced to, but I feel that you’re always putting in your best during filming.
J: Yes, because I don’t want to be lazy.
Z: Don’t you want to be lazy sometimes?
J: Yes, there are times, when I am by myself.
Z: Will you take a break after this movie filming ends?
J: No, there is Japan Tour in October and new album recording in November.
Z: I think you are not far off from breaking into the Europe market!
J: I’ll try it before I die, hahaha
Z: Is there any singer or music that you especially like?
J: I like English rock, and for bands, Oasis and Stereophonics.
Z: I’m totally ignorant of music, I should listen to some.
J: Yes, very nice.
Z: Then from where did you get inspiration for your Showcase?
J: Have seen many singers’ concerts and found areas to learn from, then I think of how to make fans happy. Anyway I am not a real singer, so it’s appropriate that I think about how to have fun with fans.
Z: I haven’t seen your Showcase yet and cannot imagine it. Can you think about how you looked like when you rested during our photo shoot? We were in England then, weren’t you dancing happily with Byung-gun on the streets?
J: Yes yes, I will also dance in Korea in August. Sister, you come and watch too.
Z: Haha, definitely! Speaking of addiction, I remember “domestication” in “The Little Prince” and think it is another theory of one person being addicted to another person, it’s a very beautiful description of being addicted. What do you think is the meaning of someone being addicted to another person?
J: It seems like one can only be addicted to someone different from oneself. One won’t be interested in someone similar to oneself. Moreover, in my work, I don’t like to be similar to others, so I will interpret a character according to my own method. Sometimes it’s not myself, but someone else who uses a new method and I will remember it. Not just in terms of acting technique, I don’t like to be similar to others in terms of living my life. I think that being uniquely different leads to success.
Z: Now you’re unique and successful too. You have your own style in wearing clothes, you can wear appropriately clothes that other actors cannot pull off. I see a unique Jang Keun Suk. I have watched your dramas analytically, this has become another of my strong points.
J: I know very clearly, if I treat now as success, then I will not work hard in future. This is man’s innate laziness, and I do not like laziness. I do not like treating my achievements now as success. I feel that any success before the age of 30 is just the tip of the iceberg, and will vanish at any moment like a bubble. I will never treat now as success.
Z: What a good way of thinking. Hope you’ll be like this in future too. That video which we collaborated on previously also nearly did not fit into your schedule, it was after much persistence on my part that I got one precious day. You have such a sense of loyalty and faith at such a young age. In actual fact, it is not easy to adhere to these principles at my age. I have seen much, and think that there are only 2 types of people, those who have put on powder and those who have not. Hahaha
Z: Is there any food now you’re addicted to? For me, it’s the fried new year cake I ate previously.
J: Haha, mine is Grandmother’s flavoured crab paste.
Z: Didn’t you say in spring that you’ll let me have a taste of that?
J: Yes… or you’d better buy it in Sinsha-dong, haha
Z: Why ~~~ why?
J: Recently my grandmother’s health is not good, she’s getting on in years …
Z: Oh I see. What about books? Any book you’re addicted to?
J: I don’t like books very much, nothing that I especially like.
Z: You’re too frank. Where then do you get inspiration from?
J: I watch many movies and dramas.
Z: I get my inspiration from others’ photos. Don’t you feel it’s too similar and smacks of imitation?
J: Sometimes yes, but after being creative in character, it will turn into mine.
Z: In that case, then photography and acting are very similar. Which is the character which you’d been most creative?
J: Who is the lead in that movie “The Devil wears Prada”, ah, Miranda! Hwang Tae-kyung in YAB is born from this creativity.
Z: Really? When I watched YAB, I felt that was Jang Keun Suk …
J: In fact, when I was acting this character, JKS had become like Hwang Tae-kyung, hahaha
Z: What about Mu-gyul in “Marry me Mary”?
J: I hope to live a life like that of Mu-gyul.
Z: Then, Hwang Tae-kyung is reality and Mu-gyul is a dream. But from which episode does it get interesting?
J: Don’t watch, don’t watch~~ it’s not interesting from beginning to end.
Z: Hahaha, aren’t you too frank? But that is also your drama.
J: I am very frank. During the filming, there were many problems. When I was filming, I felt that it was not interesting.
Z: Overseas fans like it a lot.
J: Because Jang Keun Suk from YAB has come, watch it once, hahaha
Z: Really envious of your frankness!
Z: After hearing your story, 25 years old is really not easy. Is it better to say you’re fantastic, or satisfied?
J: I am not especially clever, just that I learned much from my parents since young. The result is, I know that a sincere heart and truth are the only break-through solutions to deceit and conflict (war). I feel that the genuine me is what connects people to people.
Z: Occasionally, relations without a sincere heart still need to be maintained.
J: It is at this time that one experiences life in society. Obviously there is sincerity, but sometimes it is not seen, and is noticed very much later than hypocrisy. Even if other people insult me and scold me, so long as I have the correct truth, I have me.
Z: Right, I also often tell my children that a sincere heart is always needed, one should live based on this belief.
J: Sister and I also got to know each other through a commercial activity, because of work responsibility. If we avoided work, we would not have met. But Sister and I have been through 5 years. We see each other every year, work together and get to know each other. This is only possible because Sister and I have a sincere heart.
Z: That’s right, thanks, haha. Now for the last question. Looking at how you think of your parents, I should raise my children like you, very filial child. You have started out in society very early, helping your parents. Sometimes you do what you like if parents are fine. You respect your parents’ opinions very much, why? Another person in your shoes may feel that this is very difficult. What kind of thinking has made you become a filial child?
J: I have two wishes in my heart. One is to become a good child, a filial child at home. I think that family is very important. Another wish is quite recent, I want to become a man with my own happy family, I want to become a good father and a good husband to my wife. These thoughts started one by one. But in the company, my relationship with my mother is purely a business one, so I don’t call her Mother but Director. I am very calmly neutral in work, but at home, I just want to be my parents’ beloved son. Even now when I want to buy something, I use both soft and hard wiles on my mother to get my father to agree. This is the basic principle I insist at home.
Z: In comparison to the 1.87 million that you said recently, you have earned much more than that?
J: More than that time, yes, and also have my own personal savings. Hahaha, I am this kind of person.
Z: When is that? In less than 2 years from that time when you had 1.87 million, fantastic!
Z: Thanks for today’ s interview. Take a break when you can.
J: Yes, see you again, Sister.
Z: Ok, let’s drink a cup together in future, my treat, hahaha. Oh yes, our Bague team says we should have a celebration feast, the others are very excited.
J: Ok, try fixing the schedule with Brother Byung-gun. It should be interesting!