[Interview] So Ji Sub, ‘The reason I changed…’
It was two years ago. I met him for the first time on the Blue Dragon Film Awards stage. From his striking height to his small face and an inexplicable, repressed charisma, I sensed a distant danger.
Two years later. We met again. It was only for a short while, but it felt different this time. This is about actor So Ji Sub, 34, who has returned through the film Always.
So stars alongside actress Han Hyo Joo as a boxer in the heart wrenching film, and I wondered how he would steal the hearts of the audiences this time.
Meeting So Ji Sub
I’ve met a lot of celebrities, but my first encounter with So Ji Sub was something else. The image of him quietly smoking a cigarette is indelibly etched in my memory. He had a cold air about him, and it was difficult to carry on a conversation.
However, the present So Ji Sub is different. The tension remained, but he cracked a few jokes occasionally and laughed often. Still, when it comes to films and acting, there are certain things he is unwilling to compromise.
“Working with Han Hyo Joo was a good experience”
Always marks So’s long-awaited return to the big screen, and the actor has poured his heart and soul into his acting as well as his transformation into a boxer.
“I saw the film for the first time at the opening ceremony for the Busan International Film Festival,” said the actor. “It’s difficult to evaluate the film objectively because I’m in it, but I couldn’t contain myself thinking about each scene. I was more nervous because of the audience reaction. I was shocked when I heard that many male members of the audience cried. I felt great because it was affirmation.”
Actress Han Hyo Joo is just one of many actresses who have expressed their interest in working with the actor. So I asked him what it was like working with the actress.
“It was really great,” said So. “Before this, I had only seen her on TV. She has a bright image, so I thought that she’d be bouncing around on set. But she’s a totally different person when you meet her. She studied and worked harder than I did. It was to the point where I wondered, ‘Was I like that at that age?’ I think that image is reflected in the Jung Ah character. I enjoyed filming and it will remain a good experience.”
“The reason I changed?”
So Ji Sub is known for being a man of little words. As I mentioned previously, when I met him two years ago, I could barely get a word out from him. However, So had changed a lot. I wondered what caused this sudden change.
“I think, because I played a lot of dark characters, a lot of people think I’m a dark person,” said the actor. “I don’t want to break that image, but the atmosphere on set often follows the actor’s inclination. If I didn’t talk, misunderstandings would often arise. It makes life particularly hard for those below you. The thought suddenly occurred to me one day that I was creating that kind of atmosphere. And I thought, ‘I can’t be like this.’”
So is also at the age where marriage is on the mind. I was curious about the actor’s ideal woman, his goals as well as the trivial things in life.
“I’d like her to be understanding of what I do and to have a warm heart,” said So. “I’d really like it if we shared the same dislikes rather than liked the same things. You don’t have to try when it comes to accommodating each other’s ‘likes,’ but it’s difficult to understand and take into consideration the other person’s ‘dislikes.’” The actor continued, “And if the opportunity presents itself, I want to work with fiery men like Ha Jung Woo and Ryu Seung Bum.”
A sculpture-esque body, soft manners and a voice that captures hearts—to be honest, as a man, I was jealous. However, the actor insisted he was lacking in many ways, and said he hasn’t been able to sleep well because of his recent slump. Beneath the picture-perfect surface, the actor revealed he is constantly agonizing and fighting with himself.
▶ So Ji Sub, Actor
▶ Birth date : November 4, 1977
▶ Height, weight : 182cm, 70kg
▶ Agency : 51K
▶ Family : 1 younger brother, 1 younger sister
▶ School : Chungwoon University
▶ Debut : 1994 STORM 1 model
Photo credit: Kim Byung Gwan
Translation Credit: Nancy Lee
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- So Ji Sub 20111014