[INTERVIEW][22.01.2013] Kim Woo Bin Interview @ Dazed and Confused Magazine
by Vân Vũ
Translation note: I aimed to translate just the parts that interested me, but it ended up being most of it since KWB is such a good speaker. Though this is not a complete translation, please take out with credit! Since it did take me around 3 hours to translate it all~ ^___^
Interviewer: It’s five in the morning right now. Are you still alright?
KWB: I’m alright, since I am doing something I like. Although it may be exhausting in the moment, I always feel thankful and glad for every experience when I look back afterwards.
Interviewer: Many viewers cry and laugh while watching “School 2013”. You play the role of Park Heung Soo, what are your feelings towards this?
KWB: While playing the role of Heung Soo, I really fell in love with Nam Soon. I have been friends with Jong Suk for a long time, so he felt even more like Nam Soon to me, and it was like I was actually Heung Soo. I am so happy to be able to act with Jong Suk in such a good drama. I think we will be good friends like this for the rest of our lives. During filming, I learned a lot from Jong Suk. I don’t think I will ever forget this drama. Being with 35 students every day, it made us feel like a real class. We would laugh so much together that it was almost impossible to act.
Interviewer: However, you don’t really interact with them in the drama and kept a poker face all the time.
KWB: I laugh a lot. During “Vampire Idol”, my laughter caused filming to come to a halt many times. (Shin) Dong-Yup hyung and (Lee) Jung hyung are both hilarious. The others would hold their laughter, but I just found it so funny. The director even got angry at me, but I still could not stop laughing. I have been told off before about this.
Interviewer: If you faced the same situation as Heung Soo, would you be able to make up with Nam Soon, who has hurt you before?
KWB: Since I am playing Heung Soo now, so I would say that in his current state of mind, reconciliation is possible. But if I was in that position, I would lash out with bitter words, or beat him up. (laughs)
Interviewer: The scene where Heung Soo says to Nam Soon, “Don’t you miss me?” was very touching. What was in your mind during the shooting of that scene?
KWB: When I read the script for that scene, I cried while sitting in the car. It is just too sad. The script initially had Heung Soo “turn away, forcing back his tears”, but I told the scriptwriter that I may not be able to control my emotions. Ms. Scriptwriter told me that she had wanted to write a crying scene, but was a bit hesitant to write a scene with two boys crying at each other. Therefore, she told me to follow my own emotions. Thanks to the trust placed by the screenwriter, I was able to be even more invested during the scene. That day was the coldest day of the year and filming occurred in the middle of the night, plus the environment was being rather unhelpful.
Interviewer: Were there people yelling from off-camera around you?
KWB: Yes. It took awhile to get into the mood, but then you hear people yelling, “What the heck are they doing?”, “Ya, isn’t that ‘School’?”. There was also a drunk who crashed onto the set. (laughs) So I had to keep thinking of soccer, of the broken leg.
Interviewer: Ah, you were focusing on the background story of Heung Soo being unable to play soccer because of Nam Soon?
KWB: Yes. It would be easy to see if I acted insincerely, so I tried to imagine things that were not in the scene. It didn’t go well in the beginning, but I stuck with it and acting became easier. The fact that Jong Suk and I were friends in real life helped a lot. Later on, during the flashback scenes, sometimes tears would even come to my eyes when I see Jong Suk’s smile.
Interviewer: Can you tell us some parts of Heung Soo that was not in the script and came from your imagination?
KWB: Well, things like… During a soccer game, I would miss the goal, and Nam Soon would also feel like it’s a pity; and when I see Nam Soon’s face like that, I would feel sorry and slightly embarrassed. Also, I would get into an argument with another player on the field, and Nam Soon would look on from the outside and feel so angry that he would want to run into the field. Conversely, I would try to console him and say “it’s alright”. Et cetera. I would have a girl I like, but is hesitant about telling Nam Soon. I wanted to help my parents with my soccer career, but my mother passed away, then I would imagine what Nam Soon’s face would be like at that moment…
Interviewer: Oh no, you are tearing up now.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about something else then. Do you remember what auditions were like?
KWB: The director asked me to bring a written self introduction. So I wrote that “God gives trials to those who can overcome them” is my favourite sentence, then I wrote about the kind of person I wanted to be and my ultimate goals in life. The director asked me a few questions while reading my introduction. Our director must be one of the most sociable people I have ever met, but my first impression with him was not good. The first sentence he said to me was, “Don’t act like something you’re not, put down the script, say what you want to say.” So I thought, what is going on? The director then asked me, “Do you think you’re impolite?” I said no. He then asked me to act impolite. I thought that it was a great opportunity, so I said some impolite things.
Interviewer: What did you say?
KWB: “Standing here is irritating, and director-nim, the way you speak is making me pissed off. Also, stop shaking your legs, I can’t concentrate.” Haha, it’s fortunate that the director laughed. He probably thought, “Huh, look at this punk.”
Interviewer: Why did you write the sentence “God gives trials to those who can overcome them”?
KWB: When I started working, there was a time when it was very difficult. Since I had no money, sometimes I drank only water to sustain myself. This very sentence helped me to strive through that period of time. When people around me are in a difficult situation, I would always use this sentence to encourage them. It is the sentence that best represents me and my determination.
Interviewer: I would never have guessed that you had once experienced difficulty. Didn’t modelling go well for you? And after you became an actor, you were able to be in such good productions right away.
KWB: Every person has experienced difficulty in their lives, though I don’t want to dwell on it in detail. In any case, it is thanks to these experiences that I am able to join magazine shoots, receive interviews and be a part of good productions, like right now.
Interviewer: Do you believe that when there is a will, there is a way?
KWB: Yes. I am confident that I can do what I want to do. My parents both lived their lives this way. As long as you work hard, there will be results. This is the education I have received since young, and I still believe this.
Interviewer: I heard that you put on weight and did body-building in order to become a model?
KWB: I wanted to be a model, nothing else, since the first year of high school. So while my friends all prepared for examinations, I went to the gym to train and learn dancing. From a negative perspective, I did not study well. From a positive perspective, I learned what I wanted to learn. To sum it up, I drifted further and further away from school studies. (laugh)
Interviewer: You wanted to be a model for so long, then when did you start to want to be an actor?
KWB: I met with a production team for an automobile ad. They put a chair in front of a camera and asked me to perform. They said, “Here, you are now going on a drive with your girlfriend, the view is beautiful outside, try saying these lines.”
Interviewer: Wow, that must have been awkward.
KWB: Yes, so awkward. That’s when I thought, ah, even models need acting skills, so I started attending performance classes. I was immediately overcome by the passion of my acting teacher, and I experienced that heart-rending feeling that I had when I first began modeling. Performance is such a charismatic profession, so even though I got scolded by the teacher often, I endured it and studied hard.
Interviewer: Your first role was in “White Christmas”. You dyed your hair red for the role, which became a hot topic. How was your first foray into acting?
KWB: I was fortunate to receive a wonderful role, but suffered a lot since I didn’t know anything back then. It’s okay to practise monologues on your own, but once you get on set, it is so awkward to look into another actor’s eyes, and the act of looking alone would fluster me. At that time, rather than saying that I am acting, I was just trying to receive an “okay” at the end of the day. Just to survive this scene, and then the next. That’s how I strove through the filming. My decision to become an actor was also solidified through this drama. Since there is no correct answer in acting, it became even more attractive to me. So I went on audition after audition.
Interviewer: Auditions, waiting, these are all things that an actor has to experience. What do you dislike most of all?
KWB: I actually like all of it. I can enjoy the whole process because I am doing something I love. I like it when I am waiting for a new script, I like the rush of exhilaration when I first read the script. Also, the different feelings I get when I practice by myself and then with another actor, it is all so interesting to me. I am truly happy.
Interviewer: Up until now, you have played rather cool, charismatic roles. If you were asked to act as an idiot or a fat person, would you say yes?
KWB: I actually prefer those roles, since they are so interesting. A fat person, an idiot, or a serial killer, etc.
Interviewer: Do you want to be a superstar?
KWB: It would be too fake if I said I didn’t want to . But I must work harder to achieve that. Perhaps there is a way to be a superstar without working hard, but that person would probably fall back down very quickly.
Interviewer: If you become a superstar, what do you want to do?
KWB: Since my parents have worked hard all their life, I want to buy them a big house in Samcheong-dong. I think of this every time I pass by Samcheong-dong. In the past, I thought that houses by the Han River are the best, but after I’ve been to Samcheong-dong, I think it is even better. The area is quiet and warm.
Interviewer: Why Samcheong-dong? Isn’t there also Seongbuk-dong or Pyeongchang-dong? (note: all well-off areas north of the Han River)
KWB: I’ve only ever been to Samcheong-dong. (laughs)
Interviewer: What do you want to do once filming wraps up?
KWB: Sleep for two days. Get up to eat when I get hungry, then sleep again. Ah, also get rid of the dark circles under my eyes.
Interviewer: Do you think you are handsome?
KWB: A lot of people say I look like a dinosaur, and even I think I look kinda like one. (laughs) I’ve always thought I looked weird since young, but they say my type of looks is popular now, so my way of thinking has been changing also.
Interviewer: Do you feel that there are many good people around you?
KWB: Yes, I find it easy to make friends and I like meeting people. I don’t get embarrassed about calling people up to say hi. If I miss my old teachers, I will go meet them immediately. I am the kind of person who does something as soon as I think it. Ah, that’s right, I have to go visit my teacher after the filming ends. That is the most urgent thing.
Source: Dazed and Confused Magazine
E-trans: hitoritabi (thank you for translating this into English and I’m too lazy to translate it into Vietnamese T.T)
TAKE OUT WITH FULL CREDIT.