[Interview] Jang Dong Gun- “I Just Wanted to Make My Fans Laugh”
The handsome Jang Dong Gun who has never spent a period as an unknown actor.
From his debut in 1992 until now, he is one of the few who can be called a star among stars. Beginning with the recapturing of 8 million fans’ hearts with Friend to Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War, which brought in over 10 million viewers to movie theaters, the actor’s filmography has been nothing short of being spectacular.
It’s perhaps due to this that Jang Dong Gun suddenly became that seemingly unapproachable star. His heavy roles and passionate acting also added to this persona.
The seemingly always-serious and dignified Jang Dong Gun then showed a reversal in the summer of 2012. Through the SBS drama, A Gentleman’s Dignity, which recently drew to a close on August 12, Jang Dong Gun threw away his image and captured the hearts of female viewers once more with his role as Kim Do Jin, a guy who could just as easily become jealous in front of the woman he loved.
It was when Jang Dong Gun was largely thought of as a serious and brooding actor that the offer for the role in A Gentleman’s Dignity came to him. As the timing was right, the actor began filming for the drama.
“I, too wanted to do a cheerful role and I wanted those watching me to be delighted as well,” said Jang Dong Gun.
Jang Dong Gun began filming for the drama with a light heart but soon after found himself being burdened by the sense of responsibility he felt as anticipation and scrutiny on the actor was high, with the drama marking his first television drama in 12 years.
“Rather than when I agreed to join the drama, it was after filming began that I began feeling the pressure. As it was my first work in 12 years a great number of people had a lot of expectations. Thankfully due to the many fun scenes I was able to relieve the pressures I felt and begin filming with a light heart."
"I think in the future, whatever work I do, the public will be able to receive me more better now. For this reason, I feel I accomplished the goal I had when I began the drama,” said Jang Dong Gun.
The fact that Jang Dong Gun’s dignified image could be broken alone was enough to grab the attention of fans. Fans discovered the seemingly impeccable and perfect actor had a humanistic side to him and began falling for his new-found merits.
Of course, the drama wasn’t without some awkward moments in the high-stakes comedy as even Jang Dong Gun found his new side unfamiliar.
But it was filming for the drama’s prologue with Kim Soo Ro, Kim Min Jong and Lee Jong Hyuk the actor found a growing passion for his comic acting.
“Since it was my first comic acting, it was difficult,” said Jang Dong Gun. “As each scene takes more than one or two times to complete, it was difficult maintaining that comic atmosphere within the drama′s humorous situation. But as I filmed for the drama, more and more I found a new-found aspect to acting. This is the reason why I feel if I find a well-fitting comic role in the future, I want to take it up.”
Before people knew it, Jang Dong Gun had gone from being a serious and quiet individual to a happy and cheerful guy in the eyes of fans. In addition, through the drama, Jang Dong Gun earned new life-long friends through Kim Soo Ro, Kim Min Jong and Lee Jong Hyuk.
Jang Dong Gun continued, “Aside from your friends from childhood, there are limits to the friends you make when you’re in your forties. But the four of us have really become like friends from childhood. In addition to getting rid of the pressures I felt, this production gave me some great friends."
"In addition, when will I ever get to do another romantic comedy at my age? Thinking that this could be my last, I earned great number of things through this production," said Jang Dong Gun.
Having relieved himself of the burdens he had been carrying while finding friendship with some great individuals, Jang Dong Gun’s life has truly come to blossom once more.
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan