[Interview] Jang Hyuk Shows His Trust in Director Kim Sung Soo and Soo Ae
Jang Hyuk is a man with many names. He′s called the actor Jang Hyuk, the passionate soldier of Real Man, the author of Jang Hyuk′s Hot-Blooded Man and more.
This time, he′s become a righteous rescue worker.
In the film The Flu, Jang Hyuk appears as the rescue worker Ji Gu. In a quarantined city suffering from a flu that kills off every patient it hits, he shows his warm side by caring more for others than himself.
Jang Hyuk suffered more than any other time while preparing for The Flu. It wasn′t about the physical hardships prone to hit actors in disaster films, nor about concerns on how he could convey his emotions.
This man in his late 30s started to think about who he is. He threw out his original attitude toward acting and looked back on himself instead of his role.
"It was hard to get a character fixed down before entering the shoots. I always became confused on whether I should force myself to be the character or let it come out from inside me. It differs by genre, but I usually tend to force myself into the character.
This time, however, director Kim Sung Soo told me to do things my way, according to my own personality. I had a hard time for about a month because I had never tried anything like that before. He asked me to show him who I am, but I kept wondering who exactly I should be."
The personality of Ji Gu finally perfected in the end took on a lot of Jang Hyuk′s own traits. At times he′s funny but in his work he′s always serious. It′s hard for anyone to always put in their best efforts in any situation, but this man always looks back and never loses his cool.
"I always try to keep in mind why I′m doing this whenever I do something. Of course, there are times on set when I′m really annoyed or angry, but most of the time I feel proud and a lot of good things happen. Since there are ups and downs it′s fun to be on set. The same goes for Real Man. At times it′s hard because we have to move without any directions, but I do know I have to work hard whenever I remind myself why I′m in that show in the first place."
The set means a lot to Jang Hyuk. He moves before the camera with responsibility.
"It′s hard when I′m thrown into a situation where I′m standing in front of the camera not prepared. I feel stuffy when other people seem to have prepared a lot and I have to wrap all that up but I can′t. The director kept putting his hand on my shoulder to tell me we should ′think again′. Later, I felt pressure whenever he put his hand on my shoulder."
Jang Hyuk was pressured at Kim Sung Soo′s request, but the director didn′t lose his firm belief in the actor. Nor did Jang Hyuk lose his in the director.
"I chose The Flu more because it was a piece by director Kim Sung Soo rather than because the scenario was good. I actually chose to be in his previous piece Please Teach Me English without looking at the scenario. I didn′t even know it was a romantic comedy. It was the same this time around. I looked forward to a lot just because it was by director Kim Sung Soo."
He also showed great trust in his costar Soo Ae.
"Soo Ae is an actress who studies the piece as much as I do. It was great to work with her. The set really felt like the scene of a disaster because it was a disaster film. That made us grow closer to each other."
Jang Hyuk had praised Soo Ae in many other interviews before this. He had also said he wanted to costar with Soo Ae in a romantic comedy.
In the beginning scenes, the two showed their teamwork as they continuously bickered. They were light, yet funny.
"Trust is important in romantic comedies. Teamwork is more important than your skills, and it′s important that your costar knows how to catch what you throw at her. Soo Ae fits me well in that sense. There was romance with Soo Ae in our first shoot for The Flu, and we didn′t feel awkward even though we stuck in a few adlibs here and there. I think it would be great for Soo Ae to try a genre like that too. She has a lot of attractions, and I hope she gets the chance to show all of them."
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan, The Flu