Yeay, finally a proper interview for Kim Seon-ho with lots of featured shots! People might recognize him from his debut drama Chief Kim or Strongest Deliveryman or Two Cops, but it was his drama special You Drive Me Crazy! which made me notice him and his killer dimples. From regular channel dramas, he went to star in cable dramas: first was last year’s 100 Day Husband and this year, he is currently starring in Welcome to Waikiki Season 2. The tsundere Jung Je-yoon has turned into an aspiring youth dreaming of becoming a singer, Cha Woo-shik.
The lead characters of Welcome to Waikiki Season 2 are all around the same age. Having actors around your age will surely bring out a different kind of mood on the set. We all have similar worries regarding our acting. Since this drama is a comedy, we have a lot more things to worry about, especially with regard on how to approach the audience using suitable tempo (of our acting). We want to act well, but the criteria (on how to act well) itself is vague. There’s the greed (to do better) but it can bring about an unwanted outcome too. There are times when acting feel difficult. The image of me myself acting is awkward as always, and it is still a difficult thing for everyone. Still, Waikiki S2‘s set is where we get along like friends. Of course, I am the oldest among us. (laughs) Thus, rather than coming out to the front, I am better at listening (to others).
The genre is comedy. Comedy is all about making your audience laugh. Of course, the script is important to make it funny, but a suitable level of acting is also needed. Finding that suitable level of acting seems to be the source of worry for you while doing this project. Cha Woo-shik is a character who dreams of becoming a singer, but he actually failed once to become an idol before he aims to become a singer. It’s not common but there is possibility of having this character exists. He’s sensitive and gets agitated easily, but there’s not much trouble in expressing the fun (side of him). Since we are doing a comedic genre, I find myself worrying about the level of ‘anger’. It’s the thing I thought a lot for, together with the director. The level where the audience won’t find it uncomfortable and at times, it can turn out to be funny. Finding that level is no doubt the most worrying part for me in this drama. Plus, since we’re having a lot of actors and characters, there are lots of incidents as a result of their existence. We talk with each other a lot in order to lay out the direction, where the characters will be able to stand out even in the middle of the unfolding scenarios. That will make the particular scenario even more interesting.
Don’t you feel the tension building with each other since you’re working with so many actors? There are filming sets like that. As for us, we are worrying among ourselves on how to make the scenarios stand out. It is a set full of actors, indeed. I want to be someone who is able to embrace more things after seeing other people’s strength, and this set is exactly that. I would be able to have wider thoughts from having conversation with others and listening to their stories. I will also gain broader acceptance on different situations. Once I finish this drama, I think I will be more solid in many ways.
Although you haven’t done a lot of dramas, you have a lot of experience acting on the stage. Your acting career is actually long, so do you still feel afraid of the new experiences coming your way? I have always been someone with a lot of fears. I am not someone who will approach something with positive thoughts. If you wonder how bad it is, I found traveling an unfamiliar concept to me so that it was not until I was 32 years old that I first rode an airplane. That was also because I could not help it, since it was a close family occasion. It was through Chief Kim‘s reward vacation that I first learned the appeal of travelling. Since that, I have started going on domestic travels bit by bit. Anyway, I am really bad at having courage to do something, and positively deciding to start acting was one of the most outrageous choices I have made.
Honestly speaking, acting is something you have to do with courage. I started following my friend to an acting school when I was in high school and I loved the way how the teacher talked with me. At that time, talking with somebody was a very unfamiliar experience for me. But then, I would always answer it when the teacher asked me about my worries at the acting school. That’s how I found out that it was not bad at all to share your worries. That was the reason why I really liked going to the acting school. Of course, I did not start acting with a great confidence level in myself. When we had to act out something (during the class), I would always feel nervous at the thought of watching how others would do it, so I would volunteer to go first.
There is no guarantee that one will end up doing something related to his interest. Do you still remember the moment of your first time standing on the stage? I joined a theater group when I was in the college. We wrote the script ourselves and practiced together, and the character I had to portray was a part-timer at a coffee shop. When I went up the stage, I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere, leaving me catching my breath at first. The audience at that time was the friends from my middle and high school, whom I personally sent the invitations to. I heard them saying at me, “He’s now getting into acting!” Realizing that I was standing before those who I was familiar with, I quickly came to my senses. My nervousness gradually lessened as the time went by. Perhaps I also grow more flexible as I get older. But then, I still get anxious during photo shoots like today.
Have you ever given your heart away hastily to someone up until now? I have never done so, since I’m immature (laughs). I went to the audition for the drama Chief Kim because someone from the production told me to do so after watching me in a play. Perhaps, being the youngest person in the theater group until I was 31 made me quite laid back. If anything, I think that the chance came earlier than expected to me. Instead of hastily, I think there was more fear, such as the feeling of someone thinking that I have changed after seeing me. There was a time when I am hoping for the filming to end faster during a late night drama shooting. I instantly felt like an ungrateful, immature brat for having such thought, when having the chance to film itself is something I have to be extremely grateful for.
What is your personal goal, if there is any, that will serve as a proof of yourself being unchanged as you continue to act? When someone think of me, they will say, “I’ll be able to do the project if it’s with him.” Not only to fellow actors but also to the staff. I want to become an actor like that.
We took a look at your SNS (Instagram) before you arrived today, but there wasn’t many of your photos there. We can’t really guess what your interest is. It’s not that I hate doing it (SNS); rather, I can’t really do it, so I don’t really manage my SNS. My comments also get shorter. Rather than being restrained (from doing so), I only do it when I feel like it.
What is your favourite thing to do other than acting? Walking. When I go out for a walk, it would be no less than two hours (!!!). I take a walk when I need to think about something. When I was doing the play “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, I received negative review for my acting and it was so hard on me. “You did not look like a political prisoner to me.” I didn’t know how to react then. When I was by myself, I felt suffocated and I cried. After that, I walked from Daehak-ro (where the theater was) and it took me 5 hours to reach home. I took a rest when I got tired on my way and had a long thought before resuming my journey home. Perhaps, that was the reason I got to be solid as an actor. It was the time for me to find my shortcomings and strength. I managed to go through the hard times thanks to that long walk. I held on instead of getting over it. When I joined the play “Closer”, I got to work alongside amazing seniors. Watching actors like Bae Sung-woo and Kim So-jin helped me to learn a lot from watching their manners towards acting. It was a very important moment for me. Watching them act and thinking that I too could become an actor like that made me so happy. Every moment of being onstage was fluttering for me, thanks to the thought I had from that time. These days, I enjoy hiking up and going down Mount Bukhan. I also enjoy traveling, and it becomes a thing which consoles me. A while ago, I went to Gyeongju with a friend, trying out tteokgalbi and renting a small scooter. It was so small and slow, so cars were lining up behind the scooter and honking at me. But it was fun, and I think I’m slowly gaining the courage to try out new things.
When is the time you feel that the world of actors is still as awkward to you as ever? When I hear that I am a celebrity. I still get star-struck when I see other actors, since I watched a lot of dramas when I was young, and those people who made me laugh and cry are standing in front of me! When someone says that I am a celebrity, I get goosebumps all over my body.
What is something you want to fill up more, as an actor? I asked this question to senior of mine a while ago. He answered, “The practice of having serious attitude towards acting according to the script is slowly going away. You are exactly that.” That senior has always been someone who speaks frankly like that. It might have been an answer I have been expecting to hear during that phone call. I think the time has arrived for me to be concerned about the weight of my acting. I will feel the weight on my shoulders if I act while being aware of my own strength. Perhaps, my acting will seem lighter if that disappears. All this while, I only know how to enjoy acting without being concerned about the weight of my acting. These days, I seem to put more emphasis on my looks (laughs). I wasn’t someone who’d be concerned about how I look. I shot a scene which required me to look ugly, but the director suddenly asked me if I have ever be concerned about my looks while monitoring the scene. Ah, why am I like that..
Welcome to Waikiki Season 2 is more or less a youth’s story. Youth can be regarded as the spring of someone’s life. As for actor Kim Seon-ho, where does your life lie among the four seasons? Summer. I’m spending my time unknowingly, sweating under the sweltering heat. I’m working hard, as much as my boiling youth. It’s probably time for me to pick myself up and become someone who seems a bit cold-hearted. It will be the time for me to straighten myself up. being cold as the winter means the spring is coming; the spring where my acting blooms like a flower.
Hence, to the man Kim Seon-ho who sends away his summer-like self as he waits for his cold-hearted self today, are you happy? Of course. I can’t believe we’re coming to the end of out interview. I enjoyed the photo shoot session as well as this interview. I really like this position, at this moment.