[Interview] Jung Seok Won, “I want to become an actor who is continually invited to the Busan International Film Festival”
“I’m really happy to be here at the Busan International Film Festival as an actor. I will become a great actor so that I can continue to come [to the festival],” said actor Jung Seok Won.
The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) is particularly momentous for the actor not only because it’s his first time attending the prestigious event, but because Jung is one of a select few who has two films, The Secret of the Shield and Flight: Close to the Sun being screened at the festival this year.
The Secret of the Shield, which was invited to show at the Jeonju Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival and Moscow Film Festival, in addition to the BIFF, may be the film to propel Jung to stardom.
“Although I’ve taken trips to Busan, this is my first time attending the festival,” said the actor. “Drinking with other members of the movie industry everyday was a new experience, but I’m enjoying it,” continued Jung with a laugh.
Jung was deemed ‘Asia’s Keanu Reeves’ at the Moscow Film Festival for his performance in The Secret of the Shield. However, the actor, who was filming Flight: Close to the Sun at the time, was unable to attend the event and heard the news through a reporter who was on location.
“Wasn’t that just something the press was saying?” the actor asked modestly. However, the actor’s face beamed when a reporter responded, “The atmosphere was great. You should’ve been there.”
“Whenever I hear things like that, I think to myself that I want to do better,” said Jung. “I’m sad I was unable to attend the Moscow Film Festival.”
In Flight: Close to the Sun, Jung plays rescue worker Choi Min Ho, and the role seems most appropriate for the actor, who served in the navy. However, Jung, who doesn’t play a soldier, but a rescue worker, said, “Because the role isn’t one of a soldier, the positioning of the beret and the salute were what I was able to bring [to the role] from my army experience.” Rain, who also stars in the film, drew laughs at the briefing when he said Jung gave him a lot of instruction.
The actor’s relationship with singer Baek Ji Young, who is nine years his senior, has also been well-publicized. And it’s not difficult to see why the singer fell for the dependable and upright Jung. When asked why Baek didn’t accompany him to the festival, the actor said, “She’s really busy. She wanted to come, but couldn’t.” The singer, instead, sent Jung off with words of encouragement, saying “Do well and come back.”
When asked how Baek reacted to his filming nude scenes in The Secret of the Shield, Jung said the singer was fine with it. Baek said, “The Jung Seok Won on the screen is different from the Jung Seok Won off the screen. It’s okay.”
Maybe it’s because the actor is a well-decorated martial artist—he has a third-degree black belt in hapkido, second-degree black belts in taekwondo, judo and yongmudo—but, from his mannerisms to the way his speaks, one can easily sense his incredible discipline. The actor has shown up to every festival event in a suit and opted for a classic black tuxedo on the red carpet. Jung’s airport fashion, however, was much more unconventional. When the topic of his airport fashion came up, the actor, who arrived in cuffed jeans and fluorescent sneakers, caused the reporters to burst into laughter when he asked, “Is it weird?”
“I put the outfit together myself, but people have been telling me it’s weird so I was depressed,” said the actor. “I usually like to dress comfortably.”
Jung, who last appeared in The Beast will return to the big screen on November 17 with The Secret of the Shield while Flight: Close to the Sun will be released next year.
Photo credit: Kim Byung Gwan