[Interview - Part I] Kim Dong Wan Wants to be a Real Actor
Kim Dong Wan is a member of the group Shinhwa.
He’s been a singer for 14 years running, in the longest-running idol group in the industry.
This honorable title, however, somewhat overshadows his feats as an actor.
He is indeed also an actor, who appeared in such pieces as the film Spin Kick as well as the dramas A Farewell to Sorrow and My Dearest Love.
If you go farther into the past, you can even find him acting as a child. His career as an actor actually started before his career as a singer.
Now, the actor Kim Dong Wan is back on the big screen with the film Deranged, which premiered on July 5.
Kim Dong Wan appeared in the film as Jae Pil, the little brother of the film’s main protagonist Jae Hyuk, played by Kim Myung Min.
Kim Myung Min and Kim Dong Wan? The combination seems to be enough to make anyone confused, but after watching the film, those who were confused can’t help but nod their heads in acceptance.
The two actually look pretty alike, and the premise that they’re brothers is fairly believable.
Kim Dong Wan’s acting also helps.
Because he’s not often seen on the big screen, this singer-turned-actor faces so much prejudice, but this time he’s managed to break through them with some impressive acting. He’s so good it’s actually hard to believe that it’s only his second full length feature.
How do you feel [about the premiere of your film]?
“I’m looking forward to it a lot because it’s my first [film] in a long time. I don’t know whether it’ll be successful or not, but I do know that the wait is so long. I want to see the reactions from my audience soon. I wonder how it’ll look between The Amazing Spider Man and The Dark Knight Rises.”
You actually have a lot of experience in acting, and you’re pretty good at acting too. People don’t believe that, however, just because you’re a member of Shinhwa.
“It’s not that they don’t believe it; they just don’t judge me at all. There were pieces I was really bad in, but those did really badly, which means that no one saw them."
"The drama The Peak, which I starred in last year, was fun to act in because I worked with a virtuous producer. I was lucky, so I got to appear as the lead in the Lee Yuk Sa role. I learned a lot.”
You’re more ambitious in acting compared to your members.
“That’s right. I want to achieve a lot in acting. My dream when I was little was to become an actor. You know how hikers say that they ‘climb the mountain because the mountain is there’? It’s just like that. It just feels like I have to do it. I think that when I do [act], it’ll be so much fun and I’ll be good at it. Some of the Shinhwa members launch businesses as a part of their solo ventures, and some sing as singers. They all do what they want, and for me, the thing that I want to do is acting. JTBC’s Shinhwa Broadcast, which I appear in with the members, has been making a lot of issues these days, but I’ve heard from the people around me that if I want to be an actor I shouldn’t reveal too much of myself on variety. It has me pondering, but as soon as we start shooting, I find myself trying to get everyone to laugh in the thick of it.”
What was most difficult for you in your shoots for Deranged?
“It was more difficult before we started shooting than after. It was my first film in a long time, and I was pressured at the thought that I would have to act with the ‘Master’ Kim Myung Min sunbaenim (senior). My girlfriend was even set to be played by Honey Lee. Everything came to me as a burden. Actually, if I was who I used to be three or four years ago, I would’ve felt like having a mental breakdown, but now, I’m more laid back. I’ve been so ever since I finished serving as a public service officer. The long time I spent being a celebrity taught me that things don’t always go the way I want them to or the way I try to make them turn out. I also learned that someone will be there to fill in for the things I lack. For the shoots [for Deranged], I just left alone the parts I didn’t know. I believed that someone would come in to fill it up for me, and in the end, I found so many people did.”
You’re a veteran singer, but a rookie actor.
“It’s nice to be a rookie actor. Acting is more fun if you’re a rookie. You don’t have to hesitate or find it difficult to ask for help. The more you fit in with the others, the better your acting becomes."
"Acting is like tennis; you need to pass the ball back and forth between you and other people to be better. In singing, you can just care for yourself and everything will be fine, but acting is the opposite, and that’s what’s so charming about it. This time, Kim Min Jae, who played my colleague in the film, helped me a lot.”
If you add up the time you spent acting as a child actor, your career in acting is pretty long.
“I rarely talk about this because it’s embarrassing, but I was actually scolded a lot when I was a child actor because I was so bad at acting. Once, I was accepted for a role after taking an audition, but then sent away just before shooting started because I was so bad. That’s why I can take more blows as an actor. I went through everything early.”
How did it feel to act with Kim Myung Min?
“It was fun. I felt sorry because I didn’t prepare as much as was needed. Mr. Kim Myung Min is the best actor; he researches every little detail. I learned a lot.”
You were the lead in Spin Kick; it seems your status has been downgraded a bit.
“It’s okay because I was downgraded by Kim Myung Min. I would even take up a minor role if it’s for a great piece. Actually, at the time of Spin Kick, I wasn’t ready to be the biggest lead, so it felt like too much for me. At the time, I chased after things that were too much for me. Now, I don’t. I plan to act in roles that fit my level. I’m still on weak ground as an actor.”
Which actor do you want to be like?
“Lee Byung Hun sunbaenim and Lee Jung Jae sunbaenim. I loved Lee Byung Hun sunbaenim’s Addicted and Bungee Jumping of Their Own. As for Lee Jung Jae sunbaenim, I liked Present.”
Lee Byung Hun is currently active in Hollywood. Do you ever think of going overseas as an actor?
“I think in the English-speaking countries, I’ll be limited in what I can do because I can’t speak English. I’ve never thought of going to Hollywood. I do want to try going to China, though.”
You can go to China now.
“If I go to China now, I won’t be able to work with top actors or top producers. I want to be in a big piece in China.”
What kind of role do you want to take on in the future?
“A lead in a story about children. I want to try being a single father or a young dad. I don’t know why, but children make me feel so loving. I also want to try being in a piece about war. I don’t think I ever want to be in a romantic piece. I think I’ll make it boring. I’m worried about action because it’s so hard. I had to have surgery on my shoulder because I hurt it while shooting Spin Kick.”
How many people do you think will come to see ‘Deranged’?
“I’ve been through 80,000 for Spin Kick. A million is too much for me, but the producers won’t think so. I hope it draws a lot of people.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan
This is Part I of enews′ interview with Kim Dong Wan. Read Part II here.
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