[Interview] Lee Seung Gi Says He Learned a Lot from ′Gu Family Book′
This actor has really become a man, and he says he often hears that from the people around him. Lee Seung Gi had really unleashed himself through his recent drama, and started to spill out his thirst for more acting through his eyes.
The few months he lived as the half-man, half-beast Choi Kang Chi of Gu Family Book made up an important turning point in Lee Seung Gi′s career as an actor. It was hard going, but he ended up learning what real acting is like. He also learned how good it feels to break through the limits he had set for himself.
All this was channelled through his acting, and viewers seemed to feel it. Now, it has been proven that his presence practically guarantees a success for anything he lays his hands on.
Enews met with this actor, who had just escaped fantasy to end up in reality.
Now you′re really an actor that everyone sees as a guarantee of quality. When do you feel your elevated status as an actor?
The way I treat acting has changed, my attitude toward it especially. I wanted to have fun with it, and that made me feel more comfortable about acting.
24 episodes is long for a piece. Its genre as a fantasy period piece would also have posed difficulties for you.
It was really hard. It was much harder than my other pieces. It is, of course, important to be a good actor, but I really felt responsible about it because everything centered on Choi Kang Chi. [Learning how to cope with this pressure] is the best thing I gained from this drama. I realized that′s why they pay the lead actor more than the others. (Laugh)
You′ve lost weight; did that make you feel any more tired?
I actually felt better after losing weight. The action scenes came out nicely. (Laugh) I remember, though, that I had a hard time shooting a scene where I had to stay down on my knees. That really took off from my strength.
The drama was about fantasy. It wouldn′t have been easy to immerse yourself in a half-beast role; what score would you give your own acting?
I don′t think I′ll be able to score myself. (Laugh) What I do think was fortunate was that I never lost my concentration during the piece. Sometimes you miss a lot because dramas are mostly filmed in a rush. I start to act like it′s a habit, and I become Lee Seung Gi [instead of the role]. This time, however, I never lost it. It′s the best thing I learned.
Is there any secret to how you managed to immerse yourself in your role?
The most important thing in fantasy is that you have to believe everything′s real. Viewers won′t believe it if the actor doesn′t. It is true that I used up a lot of my energy while I was acting. Everything starts on a higher level compared to dramas set in the present-day. It was hard going. (Laugh)
I heard director Shin Woo Chul was very charismatic. Was it hard to work with him?
I loved it. I even said I want to work with him for my next piece. He knows how to see the piece from different angles and he knows how to read the script. I want to work with him again someday.
Do you ever feel you′re a man now instead of a boy?
I used to be stressed when people said I was a flower boy, but at some point they started to say I had become a man. I wondered why, when I couldn′t feel I had changed much, but I guess it′s because I feel stable and I have more experience now. I like it.
That you can understand more emotions means that you′ve aged. Do you ever feel you′ve changed because of your age?
I rarely do. I think it′s just the natural way of things. Sometimes I think, I′ve been doing this for so long (10 years) and I′m still 27 years old? (Laugh) I don′t think being young is always better. I think it′s cooler to have some experience. I personally think your 40s is when you really bloom.
All of your pieces were successful.
I think it′s important to have an eye for good pieces. Of course, I was also lucky. Actors and their acting are important, but Gu Family Book had everything.
What are your plans for the future?
I think it will be hard to make it back into drama, and I want to leave open possibilities for concerts or good variety shows. I can′t say whether I′ll be releasing an album because I′m not feeling anything musical.
Photo credit: Hea Jung Min