I know that this is late (to be exact, it has been sitting in my draft for a month!) but here it is, at last, the translation for Lee Je-hoon’s short interview with L’Officiel HOMMES December issue. It has been quite an eventful year for our beloved actor, with his successful drama comeback through Signal earlier this year and his movie Phantom Detective in May. He took his time choosing his next projects and settled with drama Tomorrow with You (that will meet us in February) and movie Park Yeol. Well, enjoy the interview… and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I can’t wait for 2017 and more of Lee Je-hoon next year!
A Distinctive Legacy..(by) now, a warm, kind man. (A play on his name: 이제, 훈훈한 남자)
You have been cast as the lead for the upcoming movie Park Yeol. We’ve heard that it’s been a longtime wish for you to meet Director Lee Joon-ik. What is it about him that makes you like him so much?
I think of him a someone who is considered a distinguished figure in movie industry and history. Just like a person who can travel through times (is this a nod to his So-jun? hehehe), his works transcend between historical and modern freely; I love that he is able to produce movies with a nice balance of artistic and commercial values. I really respect and look up at him. I have the dream of working with him at least once in my lifetime, sharing his world of movies as I work with him.
We can’t avoid asking about the movie Park Yeol, then.
It is a heart wrenching period piece by Director Lee Joon-ik after Dongju/ Portrait of a Poet. I’ll be portraying an activist during Japanese colonization period, Park Yeol. Although I am worried and scared, my will to make a good movie with the director is even stronger.
You’re in the middle of filming your drama Tomorrow with You. Can you describe a bit about your role and the drama?
My character’s name is Yoo So-jun. He is a time traveler who has the ability to go back and forth between the present and the future. He is different from us, since we can’t go back to the past and have to live unsure of what lies for us in the future; he can live comfortably in the present after returning from the future, but the story centers around his discovery of a misfortune in his future and how he is going to solve it. Although the plot is based on a fantasy story, it does touch on the reality, with the theme of aiming for the future while concentrating on the present.
Indeed, it will be first time in a while for you to make your comeback as a warm, kind guy in the romance genre.
The only experience I had in romance genre was in Fashion King and Introduction to Architecture. Still, it was a guy with blind, unconditional love in one while the other was an innocent character who has never been in love before. Meanwhile, I have met with a proper romance drama Tomorrow with You, and I feel very comfortable, enjoying every moment filming the drama. I have always played serious characters and now, I’m falling in love with the charms of fantasy romance genre. I’m laughing a lot, and there are lot of things that I have yet to explore.
Suddenly, we are curious about your dating style.
It’s been a long time since the last time I did so…Just like how I am normally, I tend to be quite serious even while dating someone. I should make my partner laugh actually…(Awwww you big ole softie!)
Let’s get back to our movie talk. We watched Bleak Night at the cinema and there’s no doubt that you are a great actor. The movie itself is a masterpiece. Be it getting into the way teenagers behave immaturely or the emotions to be used in the movie is not an easy feat.
It was the movie that became my guide towards my path as an actor, and a valuable asset in my life as an actor. It was a role in which I gave a lot of thoughts and put a lot of emotions into, hence from the preparation for the project and the character, the chance presented itself. In terms of acting, it was a work in which I was able to affect people through, and as an actor, a work where I prepare myself for future endeavors. In one word, it was where I showed my sincerity in acting. I can lie but I won’t show fake acting.
What are the things that make you laugh or cry these days?
Rather than things in my daily life, it’s seeing people discovering and connecting with my acting as they watched me at the filming set. I’d go home smiling from ear to ear if I thought that I did a good job during filming, but I would be depressed if I had doubts about my acting.
You give off the impression of a lonely, solitude man a bit, so that’s why we are asking you this question. You are someone who fares well even by yourself. Do you eat or drink alone often?
I’m someone who is comfortable going to cinemas by myself. I used to eat out alone in the past but people notice me these days, so I can’t really do that anymore. I don’t really mind being alone. (Me too! Me too!)
I recently received a turntable as a gift from my fans, so these days, I’m really into buying and listening to LP records. The analogue feelings of putting down the needle and the records playing are just great. These days, I’m listening to Kings of Convenience as my go-to healing music.
Our last question: what kind of actor does Lee Je-hoon want to be?
An actor who can give and become a source of comfort to the audience. I really love the word ‘comfort’. As I act during filming, I experience all kinds of feelings indirectly from people around me, and through my work, I am being comforted/consoled a lot. Our personal grievances could also become our source of comfort, so I think that we can also find our source of comfort as we live when we look away. I want to gain comfort from the response of the audience, and in return, become a source of comfort to others.
Source: L’Officiel HOMMES Korea