[Interview] ‘V.I.P’ Jang Dong Gun, Everything was the Top.


[by Im Hyun Joo] From acting, to character to his looks that you can’t leave out.

‘V.I.P’ are the letters that stand for ‘very important person’. Standards may vary for each person of what vip entitles but we wanted to entitle Jang Dong Gun as vip amongst the Chungmuro actors.

Actor Jang Dong Gun, the best star who led the prime of Korean cinema through ‘Friend’ and ‘Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War’ is returning to the big screen after 3 years through ‘V.I.P.’ We met him at a café in Seoul Jongno-gu Palpan-dong on the 18th.

“I’m usually the type to read a scenario and think over it for a long time. However, ‘V.I.P’ was refreshing. It seemed like it would become a rich story in which four actors solve the story through the movie once the case starts. Thus I wanted to do it the moment I read the scenario.”

He disclosed his feelings about filming, “I had a lot of fun acting. Park Jae Hyuk has two sides of being a field agent and holding an office job. Externally there is clearly division and he has ups and downs in his emotions. I was able to act various things so I was happy.”

Jang Dong Gun plays the role of Park Jae Hyuk who is a cool-headed rational NIS agent that fights alone in surviving the syndicate. The process is egoistic and spiteful. Between good and evil he will have to do things closer to evil.

“Viewers have the inclination of watching things as a dichotomy structure. They often portray it as good and evil. Park Jae Hyuk is a very realistic character. In order to define himself and survive he does everything he is ordered in the company. From the company’s perspective he is a great employee. In my past film ‘Friend’, there was a dispute about the ending. From an actor’s perspective the dispute was novel and interesting. I think that type of dispute is positive.”

Unlike his past roles, in ‘V.I.P’, Jang Dong Gun has to hide his ‘looks’. To give live to the practicality of his normal office work character, he wears iron framed glasses, wears achromatic suits and let’s go of his ‘coolness’. Regardless, in the movie Park Jae Hyuk is the epitome of ‘cool’.

Even though I tried they said I couldn’t hide (my looks). (laughs) Temporarily I thought my fate was to overcome my looks. At that time I had a lot of ambition as an actor. Some people have fun doing what they need to do but I was obsessed with doing well and didn’t enjoy myself. I thought that it was inconvenient to see how image that was trying too hard to do well, and there were also times that I hated to act…. However, one moment I accepted what I had, thought I have to do well what I can and felt freedom coming with him.”

That’s right. The perfect mask that this century recognizes is a talent to actors. Because of this, actors’ lives seem easy and smooth but Jang Dong Gun made a curve on this slow path. He said that he straightened up from his 20s~30s and started from his ambition that woke up from his nice image.

“I feel good about the image of this century’s good looking man. Recently I haven’t heard as much as in the past so it’s welcome. (laughs) Not too long ago I appeared on a radio show done by Park Joong Hoon senior. There were real-time comments posted but they were various from ‘Last Game’ to ‘No Tears for the Dead’. Going for an acting lifestyle after a long time the feelings were new and it was worthwhile.”

It was awkward at first with Lee Jong Suk, who volunteered and chose this movie, but later he understood his feelings.

“Watching (Lee)Jong Suk it seemed like he watched me when I filmed ‘The Coast Guard’. As a senior, when I saw the image of him showing all his weak points and asking for help, I really wanted to help him. I was like that in the past as well but I was envious of his passion.”

In addition, after filming for the movie ended, Jang Dong Gun received a message from Lee Jong Suk of gratefulness and respect to which he replied that he’ll become a senior that doesn’t disappoint. He confessed the reason behind looking back at himself after receiving Lee Jong Suk’s message.

“Recently whenever I go on site most (actors) are juniors compared to me. During this time I couldn’t approach them affectionately but I want to have the qualifications to receive respect. I always supported (Lee) Jong Suk but I couldn’t talk with him much. I lacked the time and I really regretted it. I thought that I need to care more for juniors in the future.”

Then what is the image of a good senior to Jang Dong Gun? He expressed his respect, “I think you need to show with your own actions more than rashly giving advice. When I see An Sung Ki senior who I respect, because I see that he does it like that it seems like a good actor can move like that. Because of senior I could till now and in the future continue acting. I think this is what a good senior and what a good actor is.”

Jang Dong Gun who has debuted for 25 years already. We asked who is a ‘V.I.P’ to him.

“It’s an obvious answer but idols. It’s a natural feeling. They say that increasing the time that you feel good during the day is happiness. I like to take pictures but if I take pictures with idols I like, I’m extremely happy. If I play with them for about 30 minutes I may want to hide but later on when I look at the picture, I am in a really good mood.” (photo by Warner Bros Korea)

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