„Without Anyone Knowing”
Lee Joon is quietly taking a stride. Without anyone knowing, he’s in the middle of changing.
(Interview was conducted by phone) Where are you now?
– At Zibap Carnival.
[T.N: Carnival in Front of the House, live music by an indie band in a café in Hongdae]
If you could speak from your room, it would be better.
-Ah, my mum is playing piano right now.
That’s very Han In Sang from [HITTG]. Did the drama bring many changes?
-Yes. Compared to before, I gained some clearance. The clearance I didn’t have found me while I was trying my best to get it. Could it be because I didn’t get impatient?
At first, I thought you had adapted your acting style to the demands of Director Ahn Pan Suk. But then yesterday I watched “An Actor is Ans Actor” again and changed my mind. Director Ahn Pan Suk chose an actor that already matched his style.
– Honestly in every work I did, I had my differences with the director. Of course, what the director thinks is right but what I think is right too, I believe. Anyway, I do as the director tells me. Until now. But then, in “An Actor Is An Actor” and “Heard It Through The Grapevine”, from the beginning to the end, I did as I wanted. I was entrusted with absolute freedom. “You have the right answer” they told me.
At the time, it was buried under the “harder” scenes, so the crispy situational acting didn’t get enough appreciation.
– That wasn’t the fault of other directors. Other directors too had their clear convictions, so I followed them. And then, in a case like [HITTG] director Ahn Pan Suk, if I shared my opinion, he was like “That’s your part, you can take care of that. How can I know?”. Those words had such a huge impact. It seemed to me I should repay that so I wondered wether I could act more comfortably.
Acting natural in itself is not a natural situation, is it? In the process of appearing cool, some go over the top. But then, there’s not such excessiveness in Lee Joon’s acting.
– Instead of defining an acting style and being constantly considering it, I don’t think of anything else but to try my best in every play, every time. Because there’s a lot I’m not good at. I don’t think I’m horribly bad, just that some things are difficult. That’s not easy to know, right? Anyway, I feel I’ll finish my acting life in that process. Since acting is not a formula, it is never complete, I think.
Still, there must be scenes in [HITTG] that make you want to say “I did quite well there”, right?
– The last one and the one inside the taxi, from the first episode when she goes down to Han River to kill herself. Though I only dipped my foot, I liked it (laughs).
Normally, when acting, they say you have to hide things like habits or accents. Do you have those parts you always have to be careful with too?
– Yes, I do. But then, I can’t reveal them. All the people reading this interview would end up knowing… I should be the only one to know. If someone notices, there’s nothing I can do, but I don’t want to speak about my weak points myself.
I found some enjoyable quotes over and over in past interviews. ‘I want to decide my future’, ‘I don’t want to be swept away by the waves’, ‘I’m doing what I want to do’.
– Isn’t it better to go through life with your thoughts well defined?, I say. Same when acting. First you should have infinite confidence in yourself. That way, whatever character you have to play, your acting will be better. If you can’t trust yourself, people watching will feel uneasy too. And then if maybe you have doubts or if you make a mistake, admit it cleanly and take the next step. For instance, if you think “I did well, so it’s other people’s problem”, you’ll end up saying just that all the time. That period when I had no activities, I took all the blame. (laughs). Let’s not talk about what that means either.
Are you resentful?
– Me? Uhm… Everyone without exception can feel resentment, I think. Without that, I’m just average.
Shall we talk about the movie “The Piper”? The premiere was yesterday, right? Are you satisfied?
– Ah, well… I watched it yesterday and I was edited a bit much. Even if I don’t have many parts in it, I hope the viewers’ reaction is good. Waching seniors Lee Sung Min and Ryu Seung Ryong kept you amazed, right? Both are so good at acting scary…
Don’t you feel pushed aside?
– Ah, but really, just because I don’t have scenes… (laughs) though it was sad and bitter on a personal level, the movie was really good. If it’s for the sake of fun, it’s alright. I learned a lot following the seniors around and became friends with Chun Woo Hee too.
Watching fellow actors these days, how is it? Yoo Ah In, Park Seo Joon, Lee Jong Suk, Im Siwan, Kim Soo Hyun… Are there moments when jealousy or rivalry soar?
– When I watch Yoo Ah In sunbaenim, his pace is amazing. I think his acting and transformation are awesome. Actually, I’m in no position to be able to compete. I just want to keep walking with my fellow actors. Even though I’m a little late, I’d like to follow them and hopefully not lag behind.
Are you careful answering questions like this?
– If anyone was to be compared with me, they wouldn’t feel good. Since I’d like to get respect from those people, I should respect others too, shouldn’t I?
Out of all men and women, regardless of age, as an actor is there anyone you look up to?
– Natalie Portman.
– I don’t know really. When I see her acting, there’s this indescribable, untouchable feeling , something that can’t be explained with words, that I get a lot. Specially with ‘Black Swan’.
Fits you well, I think. Dancer, madness…
– Gee, I think I couldn’t do any of it (laughs).
Do you ever fantasize about becoming more of a star than you are now?
– Ah, I don’t fantasize over stuff like that. Why do you ask?
Hallyu Star, blue chip of advertising…
– If that day comes or not, doesn’t worry me. Or if there’s a moment when things don’t go well… People are always like that, aren’t they? Wether they have ten billion or a hundred billion, everyone is the same when it comes to worries. Right now I should be satisfied with my activities.
Lately, what are the words you hear the most from acquaintances?
– “You’re honest”. Being honest is a problem. Whatever the question may be, I answer everything. “Doesn’t look like you’re lying” they say to me.
What do you tell those people?
– I just laugh.
And deep inside?
– Deep inside I’m the same. I think I couldn’t intentionally feign and show different character. If I wore a mask pretending to be different than myself and eventually showed something else, everyone would go “Liar”, I think.
Maybe there is something we have misinterpreted about Lee Joon?
– Not at all. I don’t think there is.
When you were on variety shows, you were often described as 4D, right?
– That befits me too. I don’t regret that image, never.
Are you the beer type? The soju type?
– Beer. I like ale. Soju I don’t like. However I can’t drink when I’m with people. Since I’m always with the car, if it’s not a special occasion, I just drink Cola and drive. That’s much more convenient.
Those times when you’re alone in the car, what do you do?
– I sing songs or do acting. I really do many cultural activities when I’m alone. If I’m driving, no-one can hear me even if I scream. Can’t see my face either. I can’t practice emotional acting at home, so if I do it in the car, it’s interesting. I take the car to the underground parking lot and stay there practicing for a good while.
If you could get in the car and go anywhere, where would you go?
– Uhm… To Namhae?
– I’d just like to drive all the way there.
Being this the last summer of your twenties, is there anything you’d like to try?
– Because it’s the last, I should work harder. Honestly, I don’t even have a hobby. I still want to concentrate more in work.
It’s been almost an hour. The phone feels quite hot now. I’ll go choose the pics we took earlier.
– Ah, right! I have a favor to ask. I did a lot of acting and expressions in the photoshoot this time. If you don’t choose well, it’ll be cringey. Though it’s a fine line, with face wrinkles too, a 1~2 cm difference changes the feeling, doesn’t it? If you cover them up a lot, it’ll look artificial, right? Please choose well.
Suddenly I feel refreshened.
– Thank you. Since I tried the most diverse expressions, if the pictures give a “sloppy acting” vibe, that won’t be good.
You can read more in the August 2015 issue of GQ.
CR: GQ Korea (TRANSLATION:@iamoutoftime)
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