NOTE: This is the first time I’m doing such a translation, so phrasing may be wrong and I’m really not too sure of certain parts ^^;; Just practicing. It’s so long I’m going to break it into a few parts. 예쁘게 봐 주세용. Let me know if I translated something wrongly
10 years from debut – 10 films – 25 million viewers
Q: It’s been 10 years since you debuted and you have participated in 10 films that garnered 25 million viewers altogether. That’s not a common record.
A: Besides me, I think there are quite a number of actors/actresses with that kind of record (laughs)
Q: You haven’t really rested since you debuted in 2003 right? Besides that time when you had to wait to get into the filming for <The Taoist Wizard>.
A: I feel the worst when I’m resting. I like it when I get to rest a while after finishing a project. But it’s difficult if I have to wait a long time before the start of the next project. It feels like I’ve suddenly become unemployed. I feel anxious when I don’t have a job. There was this incident during the time I filmed <The Taoist Wizard>. I had to put my life on the line and take on wire scenes twice a day. There was this critic who wrote the following in an article. “An actor that only shoots CF”. My name appeared amongst the names of other female actresses. But at that time I didn’t even shoot a single CF. I can understand if he put it as “an actor that doesn’t do his job but just play” but he put it as “an actor that doesn’t do his job but shoots CFs” and I found that to be a little … I found it a little weird as to how he came to have such thoughts.
Q: That there are people with such thoughts may mean that you gave off a little of that kind of image at that time, whether you knew it or not?
A: There might be some people with such thoughts, I don’t know. But I even heard this kind of comments at that time. “His CFs also decreased in numbers. Kang Dong Won has passed his heyday”. For around two years, I heard comments like “Isn’t that guy past season?” and it was that time that such articles came out. While filming <The Taoist Wizard>, I thought “Just wait till this film opens”. I’m only doing my work. In the same way, I’m not worried that people will forget about me during these 2 years. Well, they may have forgotten. But I think that it will be fine when I get their attention again.
Q: I’ve read your previous interview and it seems like you have make long term plans to remain as an actor until your fifties.
A: That’s the main point. That I want to continue acting even as I grow older. Without rest.
Q: It seems like the heyday age of male actors is getting older. Actors in their mid 40s are still holding on strong to their turf.
A: I hope I can do that even in my mid 50s.
Q: The past 2 years may perhaps just be a short rest to take a breath.
A: At first, it did feel that way. It felt like a break from work, from the endless competition. The entertainment circle is similar to the sports industry in that competition is fierce. If you lose your footing for a bit, you will drop off the cliff. The thought that all of a sudden I’ll be living two years without that competition was a little strange. It felt peaceful and yet at the same time I felt anxious. As I was working as public service worker, it was my work. But at the same time, it wasn’t my original job. I felt a keen yearning for work. As I was doing the dishes, cleaning and clearing the trash sometimes I thought “ahh. I really want to faster finish this and go out and act”.
Q: To be honest, I can’t image a top star like you being caught in that intense competition. Don’t top stars always get love calls for new projects?
A: It’s the same. If the first project is a no, second no, third no, it’s like three out (a baseball term). If your battling average is not good, who will want to use you? Three projects is the Maginot Line in the industry. After that you will suddenly be pushed to the back. It’s a cold-hearted world.
Q: Now that you have finished your military service, there isn’t anything to obstruct you from doing your work. You should see it in this way.
A: Yes. Unless it’s a three out. (laughs) A three out is like being forced to retire. It’s something that can happen. And it will not be good if anything happens that results in public criticism. If you leave me alone I have the confidence to live without inviting any public criticism, but when you say “You definitely can’t let this happen”, I feel pressured. When I drink I always feel nervous and I avoid open areas.
Q: This kind of stress is something that stars have to live with for the rest of their lives.
A: It does become burdensome. It always feel like I’m being tied by something.
Q: Now that you mentioned three out, it’s possible that if <The Taoist Wizard> had been a big flop, it will be a crisis for you right?
A: Good box office results is definitely important. But if I want to continue working, it is more important that I do not let anyone see my limits. I can continue on to the next project if I let people have the impression that “ahh so Kang Dong Won can actually also take on this kind of project”.
Q: Have you ever felt that kind of crisis throughout your career of 10 movies so far?
A: Fortunately, I think not. (laughs) Every time I take on a new project I set one or two goals. This time let me be natural and free in front of the camera. This time I shall spend more effort on my diction. Even though I can’t be perfect, I am working hard to improve and develop, even if it’s just a small step forward.
Q: Now that you mentioned diction, it is said that you improved a lot as you worked on voice acting in <Voice of a Murderer>. However you have rested for 2 years without acting, do you think you have reverted to your normal way of speaking?
A: I need to try acting again to find out. (laughs) There are some people who say that my diction is bad and some people who say that I have improved a lot. I definitely need to make my diction, vocalization and breathing improve. I think it will continue to improve.
Yay! Finally finished the first part (broken into 3 posts) of the interview! 😀 Sorry for the delay. Part 2 will be coming out soon~~~
If you enjoyed reading the interview, leave a comment! ^^