Whether it is acting or love, Joo Won does not like himself to be trembling with fear and trepidation. He believes that true feelings do not need pretense or lies. Joo Won will not do those “push and pull” love games which will cause true feelings to deteriorate.
If Narcissus lives in this world, he will fall in love with his own reflection in the water and jump in without any hesitation. However he will definitely be grabbed in the arm by his fans who love him more than they love themselves. An actor’s job is a narcissistic and self-delusional one. And it is necessary to be so. Otherwise, you will lose the ability to portray the character with confidence and brilliance. In “Baker King Kim Tak Gu” he was Joo Won, the highly anticipated newcomer. In the past year, he has lived like that Narcissus who was adored and loved by the gods. In “Ojakgyo Brothers” he co-starred with Uee and showcased his acting of sweet love. He also appeared in the horror movie “Don’t click” and together with Uhm Tae Woong and Jung Jin Young sunbaes, he acted in “Special Investigation Unit”. There is also the national variety show “1N2D”. This time, it was his first undertaking as the lead actor in “Bridal Mask”. A $10 billion won production, a democracy fighter, the new Korean hero, all these words make one feel burdened.
“There was tremendous stress. The production costs were very huge, the script was excellent, the actors and production staff were outstanding, so if the drama did not succeed, I felt it was my responsibility. So I became the drama’s biggest factor for success or failure. This type of stress, even after the drama filming ended, was not able to disappear.” People were worried about him as this was his first time taking on a major lead role; they were concerned if he was able to cross the threshold smoothly. In this rather long drama, Joo Won has portrayed and brought to life Lee Kangto perfectly and outstandingly. He described his state as “Kangto phase”. “To me, he was a character who was filled with tremendous pain. From the first episode to the tenth episode, the undulating emotions made it very difficult for me. But when I thought “Lee Kangto IS this person”, I just cast aside all my own feelings and emotions. Would a normal person kick his own brother? Right after his brother died, his mother died too, it was practically unimaginable to act these out. I had to immerse myself totally into the drama, and at the end of it, my blood pressure rose. Instead of saying I empathized with Lee Kangto, it’s better to say I understood the character and there was nothing about him that I could not accept. So, as I act as Kangto, I became him.”
First time being the main actor, leading the entire drama, Joo Won has brought upon himself to add extra to certain aspects and he is more detailed than one can imagine. He totally does not care how he will appear on film when he was acting as Lee Kangto. “Was it strange when I act? Sometimes I will have these thoughts. There were times when I was curious if I looked good. So there was a time when I devote my attention on how my face appears. But, this time I cast it all away. Whether a double chin showed up or wrinkles, runny nose or spittle, I never cared.” So, it began like this and always striving in that direction.
When the drama reached the middle portion, all the reviews and criticisms of his acting skills were overwhelming. But following that, problems arose in other areas. They say acting experience is shown in the management of one’s body. From March this year, Joo Won has been continuously filming. Although there were always people leaving and entering the set all the time, Joo Won was the one who filmed day and night. So when the drama reached the middle, Joo Won’s health became very bad and he missed out doing his best in many exciting scenes which needed focus. This is the part which Joo Won regrets.
Joo Won first starred in the unforgettable “Baker King Kim Tak Gu”. Although it was as if he has fallen from the sky, people were not discussing about his acting skills. On the contrary, he is an actor who got along infamously well with his co-actors. “I did not hope to get too high an evaluation but I only hope that when people see me in the drama, they will not think of Joo Won but as the character in the show. I wanted to be able to resonate with the character. I do not wish for myself alone to dazzle, I am only faithful to the script and to the character.” In this world of actors, where one can become a star overnight, after he acted in “Bridal Mask”, even a three year old child can recognize him. Previously, the majority of the fans were around the 20s to 30s age group, now there are a lot of very young children. Their screams are also beginning to change. After “Bridal Mask” Joo Won has achieved a certain level of influence.
“I feel that my strength is that I am more sensitive in thoughts and emotions. If the character feels pained, I will also feel unbearably pained. It’s just like you feel worried and frightened for the friend beside you. “
If we have to say what is the biggest change in Joo Won, it would be the impression he gives to people. This actor has a face that can be either kind or evil. If it is your first time meeting him, you definitely will not think of good boy or maknae etc. But on 1N2D, no matter how he gathers his brows or makes his eyes, in the viewers’ hearts he already has a firm place as the adorable, obedient child. “It’s not because of variety that I purposely put on such a front. Because it is impossible to create a certain image on variety show even if you try very hard. When the show first started, I couldn’t even say a single sentence, I could only shout “1N2D!”slogan. In the beginning, I was very overwrought as to how to express and show myself. But now, it is just me. I don’t worry about my expressions, only when I watched the scene, then I will go “Hehe”. The Joo Won in 1N2D is the real Joo Won or rather we should say a part of Joo Won. “I act aegyo only when I am with my family members and the hyungs. I will not be the same in front of the sunbaes, with my friends, I will again be different and will younger hoobaes, I will also be different. We do not know when it started but “Kind Maknae” has always been appearing alongside his name. “Isn’t it good to leave people an impression that you are kind? I want to work hard to be a person who is good to others, so there will not be fights or unpleasant incidents. Good is just good.”
Inadequacy leads to need, need leads to change. I cannot see any shortcomings in Joo Won. Unexpectedly, he said he has many inadequacies. When asked what it was, he immediately said “Lack love”. “It’s not that I do not receive enough, actually I received love from many people, from family, from friends, from the company’s colleagues. A person always hopes to receive love, so I am likewise. If someone dislikes me, I will spend the whole day wondering where did I do wrong. My personality is especially cautious and timid. For example, if there is one person among 100 who said he hates me, I will always mind about that person. Or if someone leaves a mysterious comment on the internet, I will go : “Who is this person? Why does he hate me?” Although this type of thinking is useless, I still hope that everyone loves me, I also like their self-confidence.”
His attitude of liking and respecting others, not even needing to be self-absorbed, should allow him to successfully walk this route to become a good actor. His kind and gentle personality also shows on film sets. During breaks, he will go to the camera crew, the sound crew, running here and there, joking and making everyone happy. “If the atmosphere on the set is good, I will be able to concentrate better. There has never been anyone who treated my carelessly. Neither do I carelessly treat or disrespect friends. Although some will say it’s common to scold or throw things at your friends, I am not like that. Of course my friends do not treat me like that either.”
In middle school 3rd year, Joo Won joined the drama club; there he first experienced the joy of being an actor. Not only did he find acting interesting, the feeling after completing a production together with friends was even better. Hence, he chose to study Drama & Film in Arts high school. But he did not make any special preparation nor had any plans; he simply thought that he would join auditions after he graduate. Then he will officially begin his career as an actor. In the end, he was discovered by a Musical sunbae while he was cleaning the side of the stage in the university central theatre and singing at the same time. After one production started, another followed and yet another came along, and just like that he stepped onto the musical stage. He had thought that he will be a Musical actor his entire life but as fate would have it, a very good opportunity got him introduced to the entertainment agency and he has been working for them to the present.
The road has been very smooth and opportunities kept coming continuously to him who is neither demanding nor greedy. During this period, he has perfectly portrayed all sorts of characters who were full of angst and sorrows. The way he has so smoothly become an actor is amazing. “The pain and anguish in one’s heart is different for each person. To another person, the pain may not be obvious but to the person suffering, the sadness and misery is indescribable. A person might be the most pitiful in the eyes of others but he himself might feel that he is the happiest person in the world. I am very sensitive where emotions are concerned. So if there is someone who is sad, I will also feel sad. Sometimes when I read a book and reach some sad parts, I will cry until my eyes look swollen the following day. Or sometimes on an unexpected rainy day, tears will flow as I walk along the roads. When the character I portray gets hurt, I will not be able to take it and will be broken-hearted like crazy. The feeling is just like he’s a real person that is beside me; I will be worried for him.”
Up to now, he has been in love 3 times. Besides he said that his ideal type is a girl who is kind like a bear. This is either coming from someone who has not been in love before or some who has been in love many times, only then will a man be able to reach such a state. After he heard this, he laughed and said “If it is like this, then I must be very wise. Actually I have a lot of thoughts, ever since I was a child, I thought about issues concerning marriage, the conclusion is that only that type of girl is most suitable for me. To other men, maybe the “fox” type of girl is more suitable, but I cannot grasp the heart and mind of such a girl. I am someone who cannot read into things, I like the type of girl who is able to accept the original me, not play “push and pull” games, if she likes, she likes. If she loves, she loves. If she is very extreme, then it will become boring, after I get married and still have to be walking on eggshells like in courtship days, then it will be tiresome. I hope she’s the type who I will feel very comfortable once I am with her. No matter what topic we are on, we’d have a common language, a relationship where we understand each other. “
His favorite movies are “The Notebook” and “Romeo and Juliet”, he has watched them no fewer than 30 times. But every time when he reached the same scene, he will still cry. Those romantic movies which touched on the complexities of human emotions are the ones who move him. Although he has filmed both dramas and movies, he feels that standing on the stage, in front of an audience and being able to show himself as the actor is priceless, because only in that, can an actor take pride. Just like the boy he was then during middle school, enjoying and acting in the company of others, he is still very much the same, enjoying being on the film set and working with other people. He does not have big ambitions, flowing with the natural passage of time, he continues to accumulate experience, he feels that this is what makes him most attractive as an actor.
Joo Won, as what we know, rather than a slick, polished, venomous snake-like man, he is more like a man with whom I live with every day, and who only loves me, so soft and gentle. He is just like this, totally an actor who is faithful to his acting and does not love to push & pull.
Chinese translation: 由米35 on Joo Won Bar Baidu
English translation: mrdimples@soompi