A straightforward and confident, Kim Hyun Joong.
He is not good at beating around the bush.
He speaks what he feels.
How difficult it is to hold up to his mysterious, handsome image?
Beneath this heavy shell, lies the limitless charismatic and beautiful young man, Kim Hyun Joong.
He knows how to express himself either as a singer or an actor.
Unveiling the heavy shell, Kim Hyun Joong shares his ‘real’ honest stories.
A fierce self-battle, ‘Inspiring Generation: Birth of the Fighter’
Scars remained after his filming for ‘Inspiring Generation’. The scars signify how much hard work he had put it for the drama. Despite the worries for the large production fees as a starting, receiving viewership ratings below expectation, the changes in scriptwriters, and the salaries controversy, it was almost to the fact it could be addressed as ‘Trouble Generation’ – yet, he was not troubled by it. He embraced all the controversies and ended the 24-episode drama. Although it kickstarted with doubts on ‘Can Kim Hyun Joong do it?’, it ended with ‘Although everything was lost, Kim Hyun Joong still remains’. In order to show a ‘real’ Kim Hyun Joong, he challenged himself with a self-battle.
• What is your first thought after ‘Inspiring Generation’ ended?
It’s remarkable to successfully end a drama that was facing a lot of problems. There were a lot of worries within the three months, as if a year had gone (laughs). Although there were many problems, I am thankful towards audiences who supported the drama, and I’m happy. If it wasn’t for the love from the audiences, I don’t know what would have had happened to the drama (laughs). After the drama ended, I feel relaxed (laughs).
• Are you satisfied with the results? What do you think about the results?
I like the results (laughs). Even for any drama, it would be a little pity if it ended sceptically. But I like the ending since it’s well-developed. I have a feeling there may be a season two (laughs).
• Before the drama was aired, there were a lot of questions doubting whether ‘How will Kim Hyun Joong be able to pull it off?’ Were you stressed by this?
To be honest, I was not pressured by it. Of course, I would feel the pressure if I’m Kim Hyun Joong but I have the thought that ‘I am Shin Jung Tae’ in mind, so the stress did not hit me. Compared to being pressured by ‘I must make (this drama) a heat’, I was more into finishing the 24-episode safe and soundly.
• How would you evaluate your performance? Do you think your acting skills have improved?
Yes, because I have put in my best effort (laughs). During the filming period, I was entirely transformed into Shin Jung Tae. I gave my 100% to every scene I filmed. Because I’ve put in my best, I have no regret. If I could not get recognition, I have to believe that I have no talent in acting. However, I am thankful to receive so many appraisals but at the same time, I am worried too. I received the good remarks on my acting after the crying scene was aired. I was thinking why all remarks were made based on an actor’s crying skills? Crying is not the only thing an actor does, but also when they’re angry, laughing, eating. Actors put in all their energy to act those emotions as well. It is a pity that only remarks were made based on crying scenes.
• Nonetheless, are you happy to receive the good remarks?
I think this is the project among the ones I have participated that I received the best remark. Well of course, there ought to be some improvement since my debut (laughs). I am not going to be contented at this point, I will try to challenge a new character that surpass Shin Jung Tae in the future. Acting is a kind of art, and there is no end to art..
•We want to know more about the action scenes. How was it?
The martial art director once said, ‘Action is not about your skills but your emotions’ and I agreed to what he said. If you have emotions in your action, the outcome will be much better. However, I think my actions were a limited (in the drama). So I want to try another action (drama/scene) if there is another chance. I even went to action school and challenged myself to the limit so I can bring out the best for the drama. To the extent I did not use any stuntman (laughs).
• Are you disappointed the viewership ratings were low despite your effort?
In the situation with so many problems, it was good enough to reach that kind of ratings (laughs). Maybe because the actors did their best for their roles without paying heed to the controversies? The production environment became harder and things like cars and props began to disappear one by one. Despite the situation like this, the actors did not hold any grudges and completed the filming. We sat down along the streets to grab our meals just like the people of Bangsamtong (laughs). It was indeed a good memory, but the script came out slowly to the point that once we finished filming for a certain scene, it was broadcasted 5 minutes later, making it as if it was a live broadcast. Frankly, there were some dissatisfactions under the situation facing with so many difficulties. However, we could not expressed it since the drama was airing (laughs). In a short period of time, I transformed into Shin Jung Tae, I continue to memorise the scripts and prepared for the filming. There were also a time where we filmed for 2 episodes in a row within 4 days (laughs). We clenched our teeth and endured all the challenges.
• Do you have any thoughts to enter the acting industry in China or Japan?
To pursue my acting career in an environment where I probably couldn’t understand a word just to gain popularity? I do not want to act because of money. I have to understand the words in order to express the right emotions. I want to perform well even if it’s in Korea alone (laughs).
• What do you think of your identity? A singer or an actor?
I have the passion in both singing and acting. I do not want to excel in either of them among the two careers (laughs). Because both of them have their own specialty. I think there is a difference in both activities of a singer and an actor. Whenever I show a new image to the public from a singer to an actor, it takes time for them to accept. Why is it hard to get recognition as an actor who debuted as a singer? My thought is ‘Is it because I have a strong image as a singer?’ The public has a mindset of singers dancing and singing fancily on stage and it might be hard for them to imagine the image of singers beyond that. Although singers shine brighter than anyone else when they are standing on stage, they need time to indulge into characters when they are acting.
• There are many young idols who ventured into the acting industry recently. What is your advice as a senior?
Although I was the same, perhaps they were advised by agency to venture into acting without their own opinions. I started the career with the curiosity to know how acting was like. I want to advise that even though you started the acting career without much of your own determination, you have to always be mindful too. It’s important to give in your best in what you are doing, not just doing something out of curiosity. The acting career needs the same mindset when you were still a trainee, when you put in so much effort to become a singer. It would be good if you could put in the same effort like how you worked hard to debut as a singer.
• You will be turning 30 (Korean age) next year. How will Kim Hyun Joong’s 30s be like?
It seems like I will be enlisting into the army next year. I have to go, right? (laughs). I want to try acting in a character I always wanted to do. As for singing, I want to create a music that ‘belongs to me’. I have the interest to do band activities, not necessary a popular music but a music I really wanted to do.
• How do you want to be remembered by people as a singer or actor?
Firstly, I want to be a person who does not disappoint others. A person who is not a troublemaker to the society (laughs) and to improve in my singing and acting. People likes those who are devoted into their careers, right?
• When did Kim Hyun Joong’s ‘inspiring generation’ started?
I think my ‘inspiring generation’ started from the day I was born. We are born to live happily. So I am living everyday happily without regretting on the past. My ‘inspiring generation’ will continue until my last breath.
It’s still a long way to go in his acting and singing career, he assured fans he will not let the fans down more than anything else. We are anticipating for more of actor Kim Hyun Joong and singer Kim Hyun Joong in the future.