[Interview] Kim Bum, the Boy with the Man′s Eyes
Kim Bum started off on his career just the way any other actor would. He first appeared in sitcoms and dramas for younger age groups, slowly gathering attention for his looks and aura.
Everything that followed, however, made him completely different.
Because he was eager to become a good actor, he chose to go a road different from the ones usually taken by actors of his age. Though he boasted a great presence in trendy dramas, he started taking supporting roles in high-quality, tightknit pieces.
His experiment turned out to be a success.
After staying with screenwriter Noh Hee Kyung for Padam Padam and That Winter, the Wind Blows, he managed to step closer to his dream of becoming a true actor and more than a mere star.
"I think I became too stubborn after Boys Over Flowers. I was young, and I wanted to change my image. I still love the So Yi Jung role, and I think I was lucky to have met him, but he was like a double-edged sword. I rushed into my next piece. It wasn′t that successful, and after getting through more such pieces, I took a year off and then came across Padam Padam. It ran on a general service channel, and viewership ratings-wise it was pretty depressing. To me, however, it was the happiest piece ever. Thanks to it I got to appear in That Winter, and that brought me more viewership ratings."
He became one of Noh Hee Kyung′s favorites by appearing in two of her pieces in a row, and she in return showed her trust in the actor, sending personal love calls to Kim Bum for That Winter.
"I was so thankful. I was able to mature through Padam Padam, and my values changed. I was able to repay [Noh Hee Kyung] for all she had done for me through That Winter, and I made the decision to appear in it even before the script was out.
There′s a line in Padam Padam that says, ′A miracle doesn′t have to make a dead person live again while the earth shakes and the sky cracks; what helped us meet here like this and talk with each other was also a miracle.′ I keep learning what that meant as I continue to work with writer Noh [Hee Kyung]. I′ve learned that people and the times we are together are more precious than ratings."
Kim Bum said his biggest gain from That Winter was "its people." He tightened his ties with Noh Hee Kyung and director Kim Gyu Tae, and got to know Zo In Sung, Song Hye Kyo, Kim Tae Woo and A Pink′s Jung Eun Ji.
"I′m so happy because I′ve gotten to know so many people. [Zo] In Sung hyung (big brother) is at the center of it all. Even now when I think about it, I can′t believe it, and I feel like laughing out loud. I have a lot to learn from him and he′s a great big brother. Someday I want to be a senior like him. I′ve often heard that I look like him since I was little, and my mother likes him too. (Laugh) I liked him from even before we entered this piece together with good roles, and I think that′s what helped me get along with him.
I was actually worried about [Jung] Eun Ji because she′s much younger and she′s an idol, but I learned she′s very enthusiastic toward acting and that she′s smart. She played her role perfectly."
Kim Bum took on the role of Jin Sung, a loyal man who frequently gets involved in fights and gambling. In the role, he was told his acting had also matured, and that the role fit him well.
The actor who seemed he would be a boy forever had become a man through That Winter.
"I keep thinking of the disappointments in my acting when I think back on it. I think I looked okay merely because the seniors, the script and directing were great. I couldn′t really concentrate in the beginning of the drama, so I kept apologizing to the writer and director. Whenever I did that, [writer Noh] showed me her trust.
Jin Sung and I are actually pretty similar. We can′t lie, and we′re really straightforward and have short tempers. Jin Sung′s existence was meant for the 16th episode, but I′m sad it didn′t turn out the way I wanted it to. I had to stab Oh Soo (Zo In Sung) with a knife and I was in tears since that morning, but on set the emotions wouldn′t come so easily."
Even though the piece was over he kept talking about what he could have done better. It seemed his passion toward acting had grown with That Winter.
He said he hoped his next piece would follow soon.
"I′ve been in a lot of roles that are out-of-the-ordinary. I′ve been an angel and a psychometrist. I′m attracted to roles that look challenging. I was able to satisfy my thirst for such roles thanks to the many great pieces I′ve been in. Still, I know a lot of fans like how I looked in Boys Over Flowers. I know what the public wants from me, so I think I′ll take that into consideration in my next piece. I want to be an actor that isn′t limited to a certain genre. I read almost all of the scenarios and scripts that don′t come my way, too. I hope I find a good piece soon."
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan